What is better Automatic or Manual Transmission?
Updated 1 year 3 months ago
Automatic vs Manual Transmission
For quite a long time manual has been seen as the way to go for a car enthusiast, for several reasons. Some arguments that often are used to defend the ever dying manual transmission are that you are more in control of your vehicle and it actually makes the car more “quick”.
Are cars with manual transmission faster than automatic transmission?
The idea that a manual makes a car faster in street races is an outdated belief due to automatics having the computerized and possibly the mechanical advantage.
Automatic Transmission in Classic Cars
From the factory the firebird had two possibilities in the automatic lineup of transmissions; this was the turbo 350 3-speed and the turbo 400 3 speed transmission. Both are very capable transmission but a few minor differences are present. The turbo 400 transmission is a heavy duty version of the turbo 350. GM implemented the turbo 400 in heavy duty service trucks and higher power cars, but the 350 was in everything from GTO’s to Corvettes to the El Camino. Due to the large production of these transmissions hot-rodder’s and creative mechanics began to figure out how to make these guys more peppy and reactive from the street to the strip. The first problem with automatic transmissions is their economy-centric shift timing. With the A large disadvantage of automatic transmissions is how complicated they can be because they use pistons and valves to determine shifts and also use belts to spin the driveshaft instead of big metal gears manuals have. Very specific instructions must be followed to rebuild a transmission and specialized tools can be required to remove and reinstall parts. If rebuild kits are searched online the customer is usually flooded with hundreds of options, rebuild kits come in tiers and the higher the stage the stronger the internals are. If building a dragster you will want to get a high tier shift kit to handle all of the torque you are putting down or else you will turn your transmission into a shredded metal soup the first or second time you launch. These upgrades will not only make your transmission a capable street machine but it will also make it more fun and quick to drive. The firmer shifts will aid in a more fun experience and allow the car to be much faster. Another huge advantage is that when an automatic car is supercharged or turbocharged it will not lose boost when changing gears. Since you are not physically disconnecting the tranny from the engine there is no opportunity to loose pressure built up so you will always have the power present unless you brake.
Manual Transmission / Stick Shift
Manual transmission have been a sought after “upgrade” to classic cars for many years due to their simplicity and serenity they offer. An interesting argument that is made is how connected one feels with their car when they use a manual. They are able to dictate if they are going to cruise or burn rubber with their right hand and brain. There is also something satisfying about slamming the car into its next gear and experiencing the firm shift as the car grunts happily. As you can probably tell I am listing opinionated positives about the manual transmission and that is almost all it can offer at this point in history. It allows for a specific experience that brings joy to enthusiasts and gearheads alike. In the muscle car era of the 60’s, the manual was truly faster because the tech was not yet there with the automatic transmission. Another home mechanic positive of manual transmissions is their simplicity. If you sheer a gear at the track or grenade the transmission on a test engine build, the average joe has the capability to rebuild a manual with some basic instructions. Some improvements that can be made are a stronger clutch to compensate for increased power and changes to the shifter. Factory shifters are not very performance oriented and have something what is called a “long throw”, this is the distance you have to move your hand in order to change the gear the car is currently in. After market upgrades such as a “short throw” shifter (conveniently named) can make a huge difference. Manuel transmissions are a popular choice for the sport of drifting. The momentary gain of power after the clutch is put back in and pedal slammed is often enough for the car to lose traction in style. Cars obviously make much more torque in lower gears so they will often gain speed and transfer from 3rd gear to 2nd in order to once again lose traction. Manuel transmissions are naturally more durable then their brothers in the transmission world. They are more mechanically centric and simple that there is not much to break and if something does break it is easy to fix.
In conclusion, both transmissions have areas where you can improve them and make them performance oriented but the automatic takes the cake. It is faster than humans can shift and it can be much more versatile.
Where are Automatic vs Manual Transmission used
Car Races where automatic transmission is used
- Drag racing
- Hill climbing
- Endurance racing
Car Races where manual transmission is used
- Mud bogging
- Street racing
It is popular for sports in which a lot of things are occurring simultaneously for an automatic to be used while strategic manipulation of the engine and speed has a Manuel in use.