Manual vs Automatic: What Are the Key Differences?

Your transmission is a crucial element of your vehicle’s operation; it transfers the power generated by your engine to the drive wheels. No matter how perfectly your engine is functioning, nothing can get done without your transmission. There are two basic types of transmission: manual or automatic. While people usually know that there’s a major difference in user experience, other key differences are often overlooked. If you live in Orange or anywhere else in Orange County, having the proper transmission for your needs and knowledge is essential for getting the most out of your vehicle and avoiding constant transmission repair. Here are some of the key differences between a manual and automatic transmission that will most affect you on your daily commute.

Driving Style

The most obvious difference between a manual and an automatic transmission is the driving style and user experience. In a manual transmission vehicle, the driver is engaged in shifting the gears; in an automatic vehicle, the car shifts the gears automatically. Some car enthusiasts prefer a manual shift, believing it to be more engaging and fun. Manual vehicles allow more control over the vehicle, which can be beneficial in poor weather conditions. However, a manual transmission can be a hassle in congested traffic since it will require you to constantly shift gears and utilize the clutch pedal. If you live in a high-traffic area such as Orange, an automatic transmission can make city driving much easier. Automatic transmissions generally require less interaction, and therefore it can be less stressful for the driver to control the vehicle. 

Gas Mileage

Many drivers don’t realize that a car’s fuel economy can fluctuate based on the transmission style of the vehicle. Although mileage varies between make and model of vehicle, manual cars tend to generally get a better fuel economy since the motor isn’t having to work as hard to shift between gears. Compared with an automatic, a manual transmission can improve gas mileage up to 5 miles per gallon. 


In general, having a car with a manual transmission rather than an automatic can reduce a car’s price by up to $1,200. While the cost of vehicles will fluctuate based on a variety of factors, manual transmission vehicles tend to be cheaper than automatics. Manual vehicles also generally have fewer long-term maintenance costs than automatic vehicles. Manual transmission cars require fewer tune-ups and are often easier to fix. The system is less complex than an automatic transmission, so repairs are simpler and more affordable. However, when it comes to selling the vehicle, you’re likely to sell your vehicle for more if it’s an automatic transmission. It’s more difficult to find a buyer who can drive a manual vehicle and would prefer it, so having an automatic is advantageous when it comes time to resell your vehicle.

No matter which transmission style you choose, Citywide Auto Care in Orange can handle your transmission repair when it’s needed. Whether it’s routine maintenance or transmission replacement, we can perform a range of transmission repair services that will get you back on the road in no time. It’s recommended that you have a transmission fluid flush completed every 30,000 miles. Next time you hit that number, stop by Citywide for a quick and thorough transmission flush service. If you’re an Orange County resident in need of a transmission flush or other transmission repair services, call us at (714) 633-4211 to schedule an appointment today.