Pound for pound

what is the best transmission manual or automatic.

How long is a piece of string?

There is no answer to your question without much more information.



Food for thought . . . most tractor trailers use manual transmissions

However, many of the automatic transmissions on modern automobiles allow such efficient operation, that a manual transmission has no fuel economy advantage, because you’re always in the optimum gear . . . for fuel economy, anyways

There have been studies showing that many people driving stick shift are not in the optimum gear.
I suppose it means they should be upshifting sooner and should be staying in high gear longer.

For performance, a stick shift was the way to go . . . but that was in the past

Nowadays, many of the super high-performance cars use automatics . . . to great effect

So my question to you is this . . .

What vehicle are you thinking of, and how will you use it?

@dripper…in the days of old a manual transmission gave better performance and better fuel economy. With modern transmissions…the automatic now has the edge in passenger vehicles. In race cars and 18 wheel trucks…the manual is still king of the road.

Manual is lighter, so it wins…if the only consideration is weight, which it never is…

A lot of people now prefer autos in trucks over manuals,most concrete trucks and on site trucks most really large trucks nowadays use autos and off road trucks have had autos for years,like I say a bunch of gears wont totally make up for defecient engines.
I’ve driven manual transmissions in trucks for years and would trade for an auto in a minute,especially around town.Could you imagine running a new front end loader or scraper or dozer with a straight transmission?I know its apples and oranges but give me an auto anytime(even on a riding mower-my gear jamming days are behind me)-Kevin(IMO)

To me it is about the fun of driving, so manuals; at least in smaller cars. Now go to a huge SUV and then I might prefer a automatic.

The manual wins hands down…except, when you are incapable of shifting properly, towing, want maximum mileage, durability under heavy use for many vehicles, want simplicity in your driving life, for safety and a number of other reasons. Otherwise, manuals win hands down…for fun !

I like manuals better; lighter, cheaper, more fuel efficient, simpler. But they make a it PAIN to sell a car with one these days since so few people can drive them. Make it simple for yourself, choose an automatic (leave the manuals for us old guys!)

A manual trasmission:

  1. Lasts longer (on average) than an auto. ATs generally have a lower Mean Time Before Failure than the engine they control. There’s a lot of cars sent to the crusher with good engines aand bad ATs; fewer the other way around. Kinda pointless to have a 300,000 mile engine with a 120,000 mile tranny!

  2. MTs seem to be more tolerant of neglect (short of total fluid loss) than ATs are.

  3. MTs serve as a redundant starting mechanism in the event of starter failure/weak battery. (IMO, no. 3 “seals the deal” all by itself!)

  4. Generally more efficient/better performing. Some ATs return better hwy mileage through higher gearing, but that’s a failing of the final drive chosen by the mfr, not of MTs as a class.

  5. Cheaper to purchase, maintain, and repair.

  6. You may not get your car stolen, if your prospective thief is an incompetent one.

A lot of AT’s that died prematurely were also neglected. Many people still live by the old school of never having to change the tranny fluid. Modern transmissions don’t like that.

I like a manual transmission but NOT for towing. For towing the automatic is better. Easier and can tow more with an automatic.

Manuals are much more fun to drive…and they do last longer with minimal maintenance. We’ve been able to keep all our vehicles with automatics past the 300k mile mark…but to do so you have to be diligent with fluid changes.

They can make manuals behave like autos. If the computer controlled the throttle and the foot pedal controlled the continuous gear shift like a hydrostatic, you could have the best of both. The other option being explored by some, is a computer / solenoid controlled manual transmission. All stop gap to electric drive motors which will become the best" transmissions."

I have always thought that manuals have the potential to last the life of the owner…if driven properly. Unfortunately, that is what has lead to their demise as the better transmission; few can drive them properly. That and computers which can do so much better job of selecting gears.

I do agree the electric shifted manuals work great in trucks,even upshifting under pull on steep grades,this will save the manual I believe,but some heavy duty manuals are extremely heavy(check out the Mack site),but lets face it,some people really like shifting their own gears and when I was much younger,liked it also-Kevin

I would have one too Kevin, …except for the WF. Neither car will be a manual as we both will use them, even though in the past she was excellent driving one. She says, she just tired of them and retired from using them. If I don’t want to eat my own cooking, autos it will be.

I prefer an automatic since I have to drive in rush hour traffic everyday. If I were retired, I would prefer a manual since it is more fun. You guys must all be rich or retired to enjoy driving manual transmissions.

What is the deal with auto being better at towing? Are semi trucks all towing trailers with the wrong type of transmissions? Manuals are more efficient, it is not their fault that manufactures don’t equip them for towing

I would put my vote in for single clutch automated manual. Make them as light and simple as possible. I don’t even want the pumping loses associated with those dual clutch type.

I hear you @chunky.
But, if a vehicle is designed from the ground up for towing, regardless of the transmission, it can be effective. A well designed manual for a semi is stronger with a massive clutch, usually driven by drivers that know what they are doing… On common vehicles, people often don’t know how to drive a standard, let alone tow with it. In this case, the auto wins by default. I would argue too, that the motor could also be subject to less abuse in an auto, whether you tow or not.

Mark me down for straight automatic. Why inthe world would I want a manual that behaves like an automatic?

That’s like eating beans then taking Gas-X. What’s the point?

When I bought my last car, the dealer did his best to talk me into an automatic. I stood my ground and held out for the stick. MUCH prefer to row my own boat.

"why in the world would you want a manual that behaves like an automatic ?"
Fewer moving parts, potentially lighter, potentially stronger with less maintenance and when there is a replacement, it should be cheaper, especially for heavy duty operation. The inside of an auto is scary compared to a manual transmission. If you have actuators on the peripheral, operating the manual, you potentially have the advantages of a manual with easy to replace and simple to operate actuators.

It seems that a solid gear to gear connections from the get go without a torque converter might add to efficiency used to have a manual transmission tractor, now have a hydrostatic. The efficiency difference is significant in favor of the manual, as long as you are in the correct gear…while cruising for example.

Dont worry automatics can be plenty strong,it seems the Allison is the transmission of choice for diesel pickups and believe me they can tow plenty.I cant imagine manual transmissions even holding up in extremely heavy duty equipment,due to the shock loads and whatever if you have ever seen the axles break in a cat grader you can get an idea of some of the forces involved a torque convertor helps cushion these massive componets,as far as manual transmissions go a maxitorque is second to none IMO and some of these cowboys seem to be able to finally get the best of them(but they are tough as nails) As I say let the people shift thier gears if they wish,but dont get the impression that autos are necessarily inferior(I remember they way these guys would tear up 3spds and 4spds hotrodding them ,the old Ford a matic auto transmission would withstand a full power reverse from cruising speed-Kevin