Automatic cars are becoming increasingly popular. But what is the difference in automatic transmission and are they worth the money? We’ve asked all the questions, below are the answers to give you a greater idea of the benefits and disadvantages of an Automatic vehicle.

How Do Automatic Cars Work?

Automatic Cars have just four gears P – Park, R – Reverse, N – Neutral, D – Drive.  Each gear does as exactly as the name suggests. One gear that is the same in both automatic and manual is the gear R – Reverse, the gear you need when moving backwards.

In an automatic to move forward, you put the car into the D – Drive gear, the vehicle will change gears to suit your speed for you. When coming to a stop and needing the handbrake you put the gear into P – Park. The N – Neutral gear puts the car into a neutral state, similar to a Manual vehicle, the car is not moved forward and there are no brakes to keep the car still. This state is more a functional gear that is required for situations such as being towed.

Automatic Gear Stick

Manual Gear Stick

Automatic gear stick

Automatic gear stick

What’s the Difference between Automatic Cars and Manual Cars?

Automatic transmission gives you freedom from having to change gears. When going from manual to automatic, it can take some readjustment. A quick run around to get used to it with an experienced automatic driver and you’ll nail it soon enough.

You need to bear in mind your left leg is now redundant without the clutch pedal. With just the accelerator and brake pedal, your right leg is all you need. You may go to reach for the gear stick whilst driving, but just remember there isn’t any need to unless you’re going backwards or stopping.

Are Automatic Cars Easier to Drive?

There’s less to operate in an automatic and so it’s safer compared to a manual. Without the need to change gears, it allows you to concentrate better on the road.  Which is very handy for those trickier driving situations, such as heavy traffic. Overworking your gear stick or clutch is never a good thing, and with an automatic you can set off steadily, without having to quickly adjust your gear to the ever-changing speeds and constant stop and starts. Stalling your car will be a thing of the past.

Many opt to learn to drive an automatic as it is easier to learn to drive an automatic. However, that restricts the licence holder to just Automatic cars. Whereas, those who learn to drive a manual are able to drive both transmission types.

Whether it’s your preferred option or not is a different question. And one only you can answer!

Are Automatics Better to Drive?

Whether or not an automatic is better to drive is dependent on the driver. Your relationship with the gear stick will play a big role in whether or not you prefer an automatic. If you’re someone who finds themselves reaching for the gear stick more than they should, or rather too late, or you struggle with clutch control you’ll find an automatic is better suited to you.

If you’re someone who enjoys driving for all the imperfections that come with it, you may find you’ll always be a manual driver through and through. Some people find that automatics don’t give them the same control that manuals can offer. Where automatics take off at a steady, economical pace, you can take your manual from 2nd to 4th gear in seconds.

Are Automatic Cars More Reliable?

With you doing less of the work in an automatic, naturally, there are more parts in the vehicle to take over those tasks. This makes the automatic vehicle more complex and expensive to fix. However, with less work for the driver to do, there is less chance of the parts becoming over-tired. Without a gear stick to grind down the transmission is less likely to be worn down over a period of time. Just be aware, when the time comes to repair an automatic, it will be expensive!

Automatic Transmission

Manual Transmission

Automatic Transmission

Manual Transmission

Are Automatic Cars More Cost-Efficient?

As mentioned, there are more complex parts in an automatic to take over the tasks you would usually be doing in a manual. Those parts require more juice to get them moving – meaning more fuel to be used in order to do the job. Like for like cars will often find, in the battle between automatic vs. manual, manual will usually save you costs in running the vehicle long term. However, as technology moves forward, we’re finding that automatic is closing the gap, and automatic vehicles are becoming more popular.

Hybrid vehicles and electric vehicles are only available in automatic transmission and with the UK headed to a zero-emission future in all new vehicles for 2030 – it won’t be long until manuals are phased out.

Automatic Vehicles at Paull’s

At Paull’s, we have numerous automatic vehicles available to rent, including electric cars, hybrids & automatic short wheelbase vans. If you’re thinking about going automatic, give us a call and we can discuss the options available to you. We are able to deliver & collect the vehicle and are ready on hand with our technical expertise to help you with any questions you may have.

Lexus interior LR