Why drive a manual?


I son’t really care if I drive an automatic or a stick, however, I do like it that no matter what someone may toss me the keys to, I can drive it. My truck is an old manual five speed, and too many of my friends can’t drive it. Which to be honest, does cut back on people wanting to borrow it.


I prefer manuals because of the fun shifting gears and it seems to make me feel that I’m more in control of the car.


Yup, John. 5.0 and 6 speed auto.

The Mustangs get a different intake (and cams, too, I think) than the trucks. More HP, less torque. Even with my rather pedestrian 3.15:1 rearend gears, the car will spin the tires through first gear (4.17:1) with the traction control off. And continue for a bit of second! So plenty of torque for a car. The extra grunt in the truck would come in handy, though.

A comment about knees… my wife drove manuals for years until knee problems forced us to get an automatic for her. She was driving a SHO Taurus with a manual and the pedal effort was higher than a dump truck!


All but one A/T I have owned had a neutral safety switch. My current and 2 previous M/T vehicles have/had a clutch safety switch but would start in gear with the clutch fully depressed. I do normally start M/T vehicles in neutral with my foot on the brake.


You remind me of one more reason I like a manual:

If using cruise control, it can be paused by touching the brake pedal OR the clutch pedal. I use the clutch pedal and keep my foot on the gas, so I can decelerate slowly if that’s what I want. Using the brake pedal causes a rapid closing of the throttle, which is not usually what I want. And it flashes the brake lights, which may not be wanted in some circumstances.

Out of habit, I always start the manual with the clutch pressed in and the hand brake engaged… except in those cases where I roll start it because I left a cooler running all night while camping and the battery can’t turn it over. Not very often, but, try that with an automatic. No go.


Most cruise systems have a ( Cancel / resume ) button so the disengage by the brake is not needed.


My 2007 Town and Country with AT has the feature.

The 1999 Honda Civic EX with MT does not. The brake or clutch pedal disengage the cruise. There is a Resume function on a button on the steering wheel, but not a Cancel function there.


I kinda agree with that…However - We’ve owned 3 vehicles with automatics that went well over 300k miles with only fluid changes. So they are very very reliable these days.


I would say that as a whole manuals are more reliable, or at least there’s not as much variance; you don’t hear much about notoriously unreliable manuals as you automatics. Automatics tend run the gamut from very reliable (GM’s TH350, Ford’s C6, Chrysler’s Torqueflite) to the notably unreliable ( Ford’s AOXD, or Honda’s H5)


I know a couple people who had early Durango manuals that had to rebuilt before 100k miles due to a bad input-shaft bearing.


Perhaps Dakotas, all early Durangos had automatic transmissions, I don’t think they ever came with a manual transmission.


Probably was the Dakota…It was a while ago. I didn’t care for either of those vehicles, so wasn’t too familiar with them. I do know it was a Dodge truck.


In commercial parcel delivery trucks manual transmissions rarely lasted as long as well maintained automatics. Three speed Ford and GM transmissions were usually jumping out of 2nd gear by the time they needed a clutch at 100k to 140k miles. But I could replace the clutch and transmission in less than 1.5 hours and the cost for all the parts was less than $250 back in the 80s.


Great post Marsha. I like that you point out that it does make sense in certain sports cars. For me the only car that really makes sense with a stick anymore is a small, normally aspirated, rear-drive roadster. They call that a Miata. The fact is, almost nobody buys a manual transmission car anymore as a daily driver. Ironically, it was the iconic Italian and German sports cars that started dropping them first. See if you can find a Ferrari with a stick shift. Walk a Porsche dealer lot and try to find a stick. Or a BMW lot. Many brands still offer sticks, on paper. They just don’t have customers who want them anymore. They are out there if you want them. I just tested a VW Golf with a stick. Lots of fun around my suburban area. I left it home on a long trip passing near the NYC metro area because I knew it would be a hassle in traffic. There are still fans of stick shifts and they make some good points. Here are ten reasons to buy a stick from a CarTalk and BestRide contributor. Here is a map of where the folks are that still drive sticks shifts. Not a single US state has more than 6% manual drivers. For most, it’s around 4%. Mainstream crossovers are almost exclusively no-manuals now. EVs don’t have gears. Sticks are going bye bye.


Manuals aren’t needed now that new autos have more gears and shift faster than an Indy car driver could shift a manual trans.

Some of the old stuff - a manual trans is just fitting. I have a buddy with a 69 Camaro SS convertible - 4 speed manual. It’s just so fun to drive with a stick. It would be cool with an auto too. Just not quite as cool.


When reality returns to the economy and money isn’t quite so liquid manual transmissions might return to the menu at new car dealerships. But reality isn’t in sight so for now let the good times roll.


I seriously doubt if the economy has much effect on manual transmissions. The lack of demand and the small amount of people who can drive one means more. Also the amount of traffic grid lock would keep people who might want one to avoid manuals.


There’s a new Ask Car Talk column posted today (10.31.18) sort of related to this subject.


I think the U.S. manufacturers did their best in the late 1950s through the mid 1970s to discourage consumers from buying manual transmissions. This was back when the transmissions were 3 speed with the gearshift on the column. My 1947 Pontiac, my 1948 Dodge and my 1954 Buick shifted very easily. On the other hand, my 1955 Pontiac and my 1965 Rambler Classic had the worst shifting transmissions I had ever driven. Now I know the four speed floor shifts are much more fun to drive. My point is that the three speed column shifts became so bad that the manufacturers moved people away from manual transmissions. The last 3 speed column shift I drove was a 1977 Chevrolet Chevelle that I was thinking of buying. Once around the block convinced me that I didn’t want that car. I believe this was the last year for a column shift in a GM automobile.


Extremely doubtful. Most people under 30 don’t know how to drive a manual so they won’t be seeking them out. Manufacturers aren’t about to start making cars with manuals unless the public wants them.