Whenever someone is about to start driving lessons, they generally ask the question; do I learn in a manual car or an automatic?
There is no right or wrong answer to this. But there are certainly advantages and disadvantages to both. Generally, it mainly affects what happens after your test. But, for many, the final decision ultimately boils down to a person’s preference and patience.
Although automatic cars are more accessible, will they be for you? We’re going to help you answer the question to help you make an informed decision when you learn to drive.
Manual or Automatic: What’s the Difference?
A manual car moves through clutch control and gear changes. Manual cars rely on you to choose the right gear depending on your driving speed. If you fail to do this correctly, you could stall the vehicle.
Learn more: what are gears?
The manual gearbox can seem daunting to beginners with its six gears to switch between, ranging from low and high speeds to reverse. Unlike an automatic car, you have to change gears whenever you change speed.
An automatic car moves how the name suggests; automatically. Automatic cars are often called go-karts with their two-pedal start and stop system. The automatic gearbox consists of four basic options, Park, Reverse, Neutral and Drive. You won’t have problems stalling as long as you’re in the Drive gear when moving.
Automatic cars essentially change the gears themselves depending on your driving speed. They’re usually a much smoother car when you’re out on the road and are in high demand, much more than they used to be.
But what hasn’t changed is the price. There is quite a large gap in cost between manual cars and automatic cars and is probably one of the main factors people consider when choosing a car to buy.
Advantages & disadvantages of a manual car
There are many advantages when it comes to learning in a manual car. These include:
- Lower running costs – To start with, the overall costs of a manual car are cheaper. This includes repairs, insurance and the physical vehicle itself. This is especially handy for younger drivers who purchase their first car; more often than not, junior drivers are younger and don’t always have the cash to splash.
- More affordable lessons – Secondly, the lessons in a manual car are cheaper, which is excellent for any beginner driver, no matter the age.
- Better control and responsiveness – Also, a manual car is easier to control. Being able to change the gears yourself gives you a responsive vehicle that is typically a more pleasurable experience.
- Better for adverse weather – You’ll also find that controlling the car in treacherous weather conditions, such as harsh rain, snow and ice, is a lot easier. This is because you can put the car into a lower gear to get more grip on the wheels, which is otherwise impossible in automatic vehicles.
- Freedom to drive any car – The most important advantage of a manual car is its freedom. If you pass with a manual licence, you can still drive an automatic car if you want to. The choices of your first car have just gotten a whole lot larger!
- Harder to learn – Manual driving lessons are more demanding than automatic lessons. One reason for this is how hard it can be to learn the clutch pedal. It takes time to learn how your car operates, which in turn makes driving tests harder to pass and the number of lessons you need higher.
- Gear changing requires more focus – Changing gears can quickly become tiring and inconvenient if you are used to routes that require different speed limits.
Pros & cons of an automatic car
- Easier to learn to drive – It’s so much easier to drive automatic cars. Because of this, you’ll need fewer lessons, spend less money and pass your driving test faster. Overall, an automatic car will give you a smoother driving experience, which will make you enjoy driving a lot more.
- Two hands on the wheel – When driving in general, it’s good to have two hands on the wheel, which an automatic can guarantee, seeing as you don’t have to touch the gearbox.
- Can help you pass faster – If you’re in a rush to pass, you’ll probably do better with automatic lessons.
- You’ll only be allowed to drive automatic – The main disadvantage is that if you take automatic driving lessons and pass with an automatic license, you will never be able to drive a manual car until you get a manual license.
- Automatic cars are more expensive – Also, automatic vehicles cost more to buy, which in turn means the lessons, repairs and insurance are more expensive.
- Less control – Lastly, it’s hard to control an automatic car in harsh weather conditions like snow and rain because you can’t change gears to maintain speed.
Will My Driving Lessons Be Easier in an Automatic Car or a Manual Car?
Your driving lessons will certainly be more manageable in an automatic car. No matter the car you learn to drive in, there will always be certain dangers on the road that you can’t control. You must look out for pedestrians, watch your speed, remain aware of road signs and know how to park correctly. These factors don’t change if you drive in a manual or an automatic car.
Passing your driving test in a manual or automatic car will never be a simple task. However, all of these factors are made easier by driving an automatic. You won’t have to worry about gear changes or clutch control. The clutch pedal is the biggest challenge for any new learner on their first driving lesson.
Having five or six gears to control, learning how to emerge on corners and remaining aware of obstructions can be immense pressure for a first lesson, especially for young drivers. That’s why it’s so common for people to learn in automatic cars and save the stress for their tests.
Automatic Lessons vs Manual Lessons: What is Cheaper?
Generally, manual driving lessons are cheaper because a manual car is cheaper to run. Automatic driving lessons will be more expensive because the insurance of an automatic car is higher than manual cars. Especially because learner drivers will be in the car, it is often seen as a higher risk of an accident happening.
It will cost the driving instructor to pay more on their automatic car insurance, seeing as they also have to consider the costs of mechanical repairs.
However, as mentioned before, obtaining a manual driving licence is more complex than getting an automatic licence. Manual cars are harder to drive, so you’ll usually spend more money on lessons to achieve a manual licence.
If you begin lessons in a manual car and realise that you aren’t going to master it any time soon, then the money you would have spent on classes could go towards a car instead. Driving lessons are not cheap, whether in a manual or automatic car.
Adding to this, a driving test is also expensive. Especially as you have to pay for the driving test itself and the hire car which belongs to your driving instructor, these factors will play a part in your overall spending.