When your thinking about purchasing a new car there are many expectations you will have and criteria you wish to meet. One thing that has become more of a tipping point in many car purchasers mind is whether to go for manual or automatic vehicles. There are many advantages and disadvantages of both types of vehicle, so here we are going to discuss what really is the difference.

What is the difference between Manual and Automatic vehicles?

Cars are defined as manual and automatic dependent on the gearbox. A manual is where you manually change gears with a gear stick. The driver has to use the clutch to temporarily disconnect the engine from the wheels, you then select a gear and releasing the clutch.

Automatic is where the car switches gears for you, you only have to use the accelerator and break when driving. The car will do this by temporarily disconnecting drive to the wheels and changes gear at the same time. Newer cars now have an automated clutch which helps the car achieve better fuel economy.

What should I think about when buying a new car

There are a few things to think about when looking for a new vehicle, firstly depending on which licence you have will depend on the car you can purchase. If you have passed with an automatic licence, you are restricted to only driving automatic vehicles. However, if you have passed with a manual licence, you have the opportunity to drive manual and automatic cars.

When buying a new vehicle you should always take a checklist with you as the excitement can take over and you might forget to check certain aspects of the car. We recommend taking Auto Express Checklist a look so every part of the car check is completed before purchase.

Car Keys

Automatic vehicles

Advantages of Automatics

  • Many drivers find an automatic easier to drive and handle
  • When driving an automatic you can concentrate more on your driving speed and road position
  • Can be seen as being more reliable and are less likely to experience driver abuse
  • Due to newer models being lightweight and using variable gears you will find automatic vehicles are just as fuel efficient as manuals

Disadvantags of Automatics

  • Automatic cars can cost a lot more to purchase than a manual vehicle due to their complex design
  • Maintenace will cost you more due to the design
  • In some vehicles the torque converter can make your car less fuel efficient however they have been updated in the last few years which shouldn’t have a significant impact but can still affect the fuel efficiency

Manual vehicles

Advantages of Manuals

  • Many manual drivers say they feel more in control of the vehicle when they can change the gears
  • Braking becomes easier, as the car does not have a torque converter which pushes automatic vehicles forward
  • Improved gas milage
  • Driving is more of an experience as you have to think more about every aspect of your driving, which keeps you more alert and not too relaxed
  • Less expensive to repair, however depending on your drive you may need to replace the clutch

Disadvantages of Manuals

  • When driving a manual vehicle you have to take one hand off the steering wheel to change gear as well as pushing on the clutch pedal, which can take a fair bit of concentration
  • You might not have as much of comfortable ride compared to an automatic, you are constantly pushing down on the clutch to change gear
  • Learning to drive a manual vehicle can be a lot harder than an automatic, there is a lot more to think about and take into consideratio


In the UK which is better to learn in?

In the UK we always recommend learning in a Manual vehicle as it gives you the option to choose whether you wish to purchase an automatic or manual car. If you learn in an automatic, you can be restricted to buying only automatic cars which in this day and age isn’t too much of a bad thing, but it can make your cars more expensive to purchase and maintain in the long run.

What is a semi-automatic car?

This may seem like a confusing concept but a semi-automatic allow you to have the best of both worlds, it is like driving both an automatic and a manual vehicle. The driver is able to shift gears with a gear stick, however, does not have to press down on the clutch when doing so. In fact, the clutch pedal is removed altogether and doesn’t have any function. The car does the clutch work electronically instead.

When would I need to replace the clutch on a manual car?

When driving a manual car, you may need to replace your clutch at some point, and there are a few telltale signs to look out for. If your clutch seems to be slipping out of hearing and occasionally going into neutral it should be replaced; this means that the gear cannot stick it instead literally slips out instead of turning. If a clutch is going to slip you will only see this during a gear change.

If ridden excessively you ca experience smoking or burning smell from your clutch. Sometimes the clutch pedal can become harder to press or gets stuck once pushed. This will indicate a problem with the hydraulic system or cable system depending on what your vehicle has.

When needing a clutch replacement, we always recommend going to car servicing centre in Milton Keynes, even if it isn’t the clutch you should have the vehicle checked over in case there is a more pressing issue with your car.


When deciding whether to drive an automatic or manual vehicle, we recommend thinking about all the advantages and disadvantages of both type of vehicle. You should take into consideration when learning to drive that if you can at all possible pass in a manual you will have more choice when it comes to buying a vehicle.

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