Automobile Transmissions – Automatic/cruise Control

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I’ve owned and driven cars with manual and automatic transmissions.  I will not leap into the trap by saying that one type is better than the other.  That would be too simplistic, and I would have at least a 50% chance of being wrong.  

Perhaps it is better to say they are just different?  They both do the same job over getting you down the road in whatever your ride may be.  They just do it a different way.

Each also has relative advantages and disadvantages.

That’s what I’d like to cover in this brief missive – the basic advantages and disadvantages of the modern automatic transmission commonly found on most of today’s American-built cars and foreign cars sold in the U.S.

Let’s do the disadvantages first.  Not to worry, there aren’t many.  

Generally speaking automatic transmissions:

•Cost more than manual transmissions.  Sometimes they cost a lot more.

•Weigh more than manual transmissions.  More weight means you’re going to buy fuel to carry that weight everywhere you drive from the day you leave the dealer’s lot.

•Require more maintenance and service than manual transmissions. 

•Are more expensive to repair or rebuild in the event of a major problem.

•Give their owners slightly less fuel economy than the same car with a manual transmission.

 There’s not enough space here to get into more detail, but if you have any specific questions about your individual situation, contact a local Dealer or reputable mechanic.  

Also, many makes have owner organizations that can be very helpful.  Because I own a ‘69 Porsche 912 and ‘89 Lincoln Town Car I belong to two – the Porsche Club of America and the Lincoln and Continental Owners Club.  Today, there’s a Club for just about every car make.  Many members of such Clubs are very knowledgeable and eager to help other members with questions.

Now what about the advantages?  There are several and they are important to most drivers.  

Generally speaking, cars with automatic transmissions with cruise control:

•Are easier to drive.  Just put it in gear and go.

•Can produce excellent fuel economy if driven on generally flat terrain with cruise control set slightly below legal speed limits.

•Are much more common than cars with manual transmissions.  Most cars made with manual transmissions today are small, “sporty” or outright sports cars.  Few vans, SUVs, large or “luxury” cars are even offered with manual transmissions.

•Are generally preferred by women because they are easier to drive, which can influence a joint male-female automobile purchase decision.

If you’re considering a new or used car purchase, give your transmission selection careful consideration.   If you know your vehicle transmission needs, and pick the right one for you, you’ll most likely be very happy with your choice.


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