When you’re thinking about purchasing a new car, there are many expectations you will have about the criteria you wish to meet. One thing that has become more of a tipping point in many car purchaser’s minds, is whether to go for manual or automatic vehicles. There are many advantages and disadvantages to both types of cars that will need to be taken into consideration. Check out the difference between an automatic car and a manual vehicle; we might just sway your mind when it comes to choosing.

Before you consider purchasing the car you should always think about your licence, when it comes to driving lessons you must think about the two options available to you. Automatic and manual licences are very different and will also allow you to drive a different range of vehicles. For all driving lesson queries don’t forget to take a look at driveJohnson’s.

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 disconnect the engine from the wheels temporarily, you then select a gear and release 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.

auto gears

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 both 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 giving Auto Express Checklist a look, to ensure that every part of the car check is completed before purchase.

Whether you’re buying a car new or used, there are a couple of things you are going to want to take into consideration. The size of the vehicle is one of the first things to think about if you are a relatively new driver. The last thing you want to be doing is driving a huge car, as you may be slightly more prone to scuffs n scratches which can significantly de-value a vehicle. For your first vehicle, we would also recommend looking at a second-hand car, the reason for this is you are bound to have a few hiccups when it comes to driving in the first year. There are a number of places you can go to to look at used vehicles from car garages to private sellers. One of the best places you can look at is Autotrader as it allows you to search specifically by make, model and mileage. Paying a substantial amount for a brand new car can be one of the worst things you can do as a first-time driver, as minor accidents can occur, from bumping another vehicle while parking to catching alloys and doors on curbs and posts.

You should always take someone with you, as we mentioned earlier the excitement could take over which can have a real impact on your decision making. By having someone who has not only driven before but is good at checking over things is really beneficial. It means they can check to see if there is anything wrong with the vehicle along with asking questions you may not know to ask as a first-time buyer.

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

Disadvantages 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 a 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.

As a more cost-effective option, we recommend purchasing a manual vehicle. They are much easier to fix in comparison to automatic vehicles and parts are much cheaper, so if you ever find yourself in a situation where your vehicle needs repairs or replacement you’re not too out of pocket.

What is a semi-automatic car?

This may seem like a confusing concept but a semi-automatic allows 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.

The only downfall with a semi-automatic vehicle is that when the car changes gears electronically, it can struggle to complete the function as quickly and smoothly as some drivers may want it too. This can cause sudden changes in speed which is then often followed by heavy breaking.

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, and it 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 can experience smoking or a 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.
manual gears


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

When you choose to buy the vehicle, we also recommend taking the cars for a test drive, as you may find you prefer driving an automatic vehicle in comparison to a manual one and vice versa.

Take the time to way up all the options when looking for a car, if you are someone that thoroughly enjoys driving, then we highly recommend going for a manual, as it gives you every aspect of driving. If you are more of a lazy driver and simply wish to get from A to B, then an automatic vehicle may be for you. Again if you are slightly nervous when driving a manual or find it hard to concentrate when changing gears than an automatic will make your drive smoother, easier and slightly safer.

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