Many people choose cars with manual transmissions because they believe that it saves them money. It's true that a manual may save you money on the initial price point of the car, but that doesn't mean it won't cost you down the line. In fact, many of the reasons people champion manual transmissions no longer apply in most modern cars.

Evaluating the Differences

A manual transmission offers a lot to drivers.

  • Less complicated
  • Less prone to failure
  • Traditionally offered superior gas mileage

When a manual transmission breaks down, it's usually cheaper to repair it than an automatic. That's because an automatic transmission holds way more moving parts than a manual. Automatics are entirely more complicated pieces of machinery. They also have a lot of electrical and computer issues which are hard for inexperienced mechanics to diagnose.

When it comes to fuel economy, remember that most of the work in that direction is with automatic transmissions. All kinds of fuel economy technology is out there, and the majority of it benefits an automatic, especially in newer cars. That's because more people in the United State purchase automatics.

The Problem of the Clutch

So it sounds as if an automatic can turn into an expensive pain, but you have to look a little deeper. A manual transmission comes along with a clutch. The clutch needs replacing every so often. It varies from model to model, but in all cases, it's not a cheap job. It's also not a job to try on your own. Even if the clutch doesn't wear out, certain parts of it can. This can also turn into a regular expense if the driver isn't careful and practiced at driving a manual correctly.

The One Thing You Need to Worry About

By contrast, even with all the complicated moving parts, an automatic transmission requires no such maintenance. In fact, all you have to really do to keep your transmission in good shape is to check and change the transmission fluid. Your owner's manual should tell you how often you should do so.

Careful driving with an automatic transmission is just as important as with a manual. Except with an automatic, you won't have to worry about wearing out a clutch assembly by shifting gears improperly.

Which is Cheaper?

So which type of transmission costs more in the long run? The answer isn't so simple as one or the other. There are other things to consider as well. For example, the unique builds of some foreign cars may change the price of transmission repair. That's because the mechanic may need special tools to reach the transmission. In such a case, the price could shoot up whether it's a manual or an automatic.

One thing to also consider is your manual driving experience. If you're an inexperienced manual driver, than the odds are that the manual will cost you a lot more over time. No matter what kind of transmission you have, always take it to a professional transmission mechanic, such as someone from, if you develop a problem.