Blogs Car Info Our Show Deals Mechanics Files Vehicle Donation


what is the best transmission to buy automatic or manuel.i want it to last a long time.

If you are talking about a new car, either. This assumes you follow the appropriate maintenance schedule for service on the auto trans.

If you are talking about a used car, I’d go manual. The clutch may need replacing someday but usually the transmissions are OK and can be rebuilt if some bearings and syncro’s go out. An auto trans that wasn’t maintained properly is very likely to fail and cost a bunch to repair, rebuild, or replace.

I have 3 cars, 2 auto and 1 manual, and so far no transmission issues with any of them. If you plan on towing with the vehicle go auto. If driving a manual is more fun for you go with a stick.

It depends on the car and what kind of driving your will be doing.

Historically, we have never replaced any of our manual transmissions and at least two compiled 225K miles each. Still have to do clutch work, however.

Our experience is also that few automatics may last that long.

On the other hand, some may prefer an AT, or have knee/leg mobility issues, or drive in stop and go traffic that make the manual transmission less attractive.

The one you prefer.

If you get a manual and decide you hate it or vica versa your vehicle (ownership) life span will be shortened.

I will only state that a manual rarely if ever fails with the average driver who is versed with one.

Either can provide long life if it is cared for. Transmissions are the one thing I differ with the recommendations in the owner’s manual. I would recommend changing the fluid in a automatic transmission every 30 - 60,000 miles. No flush, just change the fluid and while you are at it drop the pan and clean the filter.

As little kids like to banter back and forth, “Which is better, cats or dogs?”.

Like that argument, this one is a non-starter. First, you need to evaluate the conditions under which you drive, and how proactive you are regarding maintenance.

While a manual transmission will almost always yield better gas mileage for someone who knows how to drive it properly, that advantage is offset greatly by the inconvenience of a manual transmission if you normally do a lot of stop-and-go or urban driving. In those situations, a manual transmission is just a pain in the neck (actually, a pain in the left leg). And, if someone is not skilled in driving a manual transmission, and/or drives it in a lot of stop-and-go/urban situations, the cost of replacing the clutch every 90k offsets the advantage of greater fuel economy.

On the other hand, if you are not attuned to the maintenance requirements of an automatic transmission, then you will inevitably run into problems with the transmission as it ages. The person who religiously changes his transmission fluid (and filter, if so equipped) every 30k can likely drive his car for its entire life span with no transmission problems. On the other hand, those who don’t change the trans fluid every 30k will probably have to replace or overhaul the transmission at around 90k-100k.

Years ago, I had cars with manual transmissions, but at my current age, I just can’t be bothered with one, and I would rather focus on all of the other driving tasks, rather than having to shift for myself. I religiously maintain my cars, and as a result, I have never had to overhaul or replace a transmisssion, even at odometer mileages as high as 180k.

So, this decision really depends on your own skill level with a clutch, on the conditions under which you normally drive, and your attention to maintenance–and only you can answer those questions.

Historically, we have never replaced any of our manual transmissions and at least two compiled 225K miles each. Still have to do clutch work, however.

Wife has had 2 cars well past the 300k mark with no problems what-so-ever with the automatics…

It depends on what type of vehicle you’re talking about and what you want to use it for.

Automatics these days are extremely reliable. On almost any vehicle an automatic should last the life of the vehicle (in our case well past the 300k mile mark) with proper maintenance (regular fluid and filter changes).

If this is for a light truck or SUV and you plan on towing…then an Automatic is preferred.

If this is for a sports car and you want the thrill of back-road driving then a manual would be preferred.

As others have said how long each will last is the least of your worries.

Asking a question like this it sounds like you’ve never driven a manual…?

With a manual there’s fewer people who might ask to borrow your car. A manual is less likely to be stolen, at least in my town.

My old GM Dealer is located close to Mexico so we get business from Mexico. In one incident the purchaser of 8 1 ton stake bed trucks paid us to convert them all over to automatic transmissions (these were brand new trucks). It seems his practical experience showed him lower trained people tear up manual trans vehicles at a alarming rate.

“what is the best transmission to buy automatic or manuel?”

I guess that it depends on how skilled your friend, Manuel, is with a clutch and a manual transmission!

If Manuel was used to driving a manual transmission in his native land, then that might be a good choice.
You can steer, and your assistant, Manuel, can do the shifting for you.


I’m sorry, the Devil made me say that!