What ever happened to manual transmissions? When the automobile was first invented, there was no way of getting around it - you had to learn how to operate a clutch and shift your car's gears.
In today's society, "easier" is often viewed as better, and many individuals much prefer driving a vehicle with an automatic transmission. In fact, besides race car drivers and heavy machinery operators, very few individuals throughout the United States know how to drive a vehicle with a manual transmission.
So why would you choose to purchase and drive a vehicle with a manual transmission? Afterall, it's more work to learn how to drive with a clutch, and once you've learned, you have to work "harder" every time you sit in the driver's seat. Here are the top six reasons that driving a car with a manual transmission is worth it.
6. Purchase price. Cars that are the same make and model have much different purchase prices depending on whether the vehicle has a manual or automatic transmission. This price difference can be as great as $2,000! Imagine saving $2,000 or more on every car that you purchase throughout your lifetime, simply because you are willing to shift the vehicle yourself!
5. Maintenance. Similar to the overall purchase price differentiation, there are a few key parts that are much cheaper in vehicles with manual transmissions. The biggest factor is the transmission itself. A car with a manual transmission doesn't have a "transmission", just a clutch (you do all of the shifting). Replacing an old clutch (in a car with a manual transmission) costs about $500, while replacing a blown transmission (from an automatic vehicle) can cost over $1,000. Here again, driving a car with a manual transmission is a great way to save money.
4. Control. If you are an individual who likes to be in control of your vehicle, you should definitely consider buying your next vehicle with a manual transmission. By controlling the shifting of the vehicle at all times, it is much easier for the driver to also control the acceleration and overall handling of the vehicle. Likewise, for steep downhills, simply shift into a lower gear and allow the car to slow itself during your descent (no need to ride the brakes at all times).
3. Engagement. This is a huge issue. Many people avoid manual transmissions because they think they will not be able to do everything that they want to while driving. This is a good thing! In today's society, people are constantly distracted by cell phones, food, and whatever else they can do to "multi-task" while driving. Having a manual transmission keeps you engaged in your driving, and it can therefore be argued that it may help make you a safer driver. This not only limits the amount of distractions that a driver will create to keep himself entertained, it also ensures that the driver is focusing on the road more than the average driver.
2. Personal capability. You never know when the next time may be that you are renting a car in Europe, are the designated driver at a party, or need to use someone's car when yours is in the shop. In each of these situations, if you do not know how to drive a car with a manual transmission, you are limiting your options. This alone is reason enough, if you will never buy one, to at least learn how to drive a car with a clutch. Knowing how to drive a manual transmission vehicle provides a sense of accomplishment and allows you to be more helpful in certain situations.
1. Fun! The number one reason to drive a car with a manual transmission is fun. Sure, learning how to drive a vehicle with a clutch can be challenging and frustrating at times, but after weeks of practice, it comes as second nature. There is something about that "race car driver" feeling you get when you are the one shifting the vehicle's gears that makes driving a car with a manual transmission much more enjoyable.
Despite these wonderful reasons to learn how to drive a car with a manual transmission, the prevalence of these vehicles has significantly declined over the years throughout the United States. Five-speed and six-speed manual transmissions are available, but they are now hard to find at dealerships nation-wide.
The most challenging aspect driving a vehicle with a manual transmission in today's society seems to be finding one to buy! Still, throughout other countries, and especially in Europe, the prevalence of manual transmissions is much higher, and even rental rates are lower for these vehicle types.
Now you know some of the benefits of driving a car with a manual transmission. If you are still set on driving a vehicle with an automatic transmission, that is okay; however, at least learning how to drive a car with a manual transmission (no purchase necessary) can only benefit you and others around you.