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Wherever you go, cars are manufactured with automatic transmission that manual trannies most of the time seem unheard of. Despite this reality, there are still many drivers who would prefer an auto transmission to stick shift for a plethora of reasons.
Whether it’s the cost, experience, advantage, or thrill of it, many drivers, just like you, would want to switch back to the stick shift. But if you still have doubts or zero information on its importance, you’re definitely missing out on a lot.
And you’ll realize that automatic cars are not all what they seem – convenient and affordable.
Knowing How To Drive a Stick Is Officially Rare
Not everyone knows how to drive a manual. In fact, it’s becoming more and more of a rare talent as most new cars are made with automatic transmissions standard.
If you do, this is something that you can definitely be proud of. It’s an art of steps and movements that require effort and attention.
Clutch in, coast, clutch out. Shift up and then shift down. At times, these commands are confusing, but there’s really no other way to make the car move.
So once you’ve memorized and mastered all the moves, you deserve to have a pat on the back.
Toughest Part of Driving a Stick Shift
• Driving on hill tops
Manual cars have tendencies to stall in the middle of highways, most especially in upward and steep roads. To reach the top, you need a good control of the pedals and quick coordination with the changing of gears. If not, your car will probably stop or roll backwards.
• High concentration needed
In itself, focusing on driving is not bad. But sometimes, this can hinder you from doing simple tasks while holding the wheel. Changing from station to station on the radio is one example. You would have to do this quickly and cautiously.
• Arm and leg discomfort
To get stuck in traffic is a nightmare! If cars are already bumper-to-bumper, consider your arms and legs painful and overworked once you get home. Since they’re constantly used, you’ll be experiencing soreness or discomfort after long, long hours on the road.
Benefits To Driving Manual Transmission
Despite some complaints of a manual’s technicalities and complexities, you’d realize that the pros outweigh the cons in the eyes of some drivers. Here are some benefits to a manual transmission in your car:
• Gas efficiency. One of the main benefits of switching back to manual is better fuel economy. Your car’s speed and power will definitely solely depend on your driving skills and habits. So it’s up to you and your driving style on saving fuel.
According to an article in New York Daily News, your gas mileage can improve as much as 15% percent. As long as there’s favorable road conditions and suave driving styles, you can get the most out of your fuel.
• Cheaper maintenance costs. Everybody likes to save money! Thankfully, switching to a manual transmission can usually result in a lower bill when you go get repairs done.
Since they’re not as high-tech compared to the automatic counterparts, they’re definitely cheaper to own.
• Better road awareness. Multi-tasking is a common practice while driving. You’ve probably texted, read a book, or eaten while driving because automatic cars make it so easy.
But now that you’ve got more to do with the stick shift, you have to pay attention at all times. Just a reminder to all manual drivers, you have to keep your eyes on the road.
• A theft deterrent. Having a manual transmission car is surprisingly a brilliant way to ward off lurking thieves. Since automatic cars are commonplace, chances are less people would know how to drive a manual car.
And if ever younger thieves are eyeing your car, they’d find it difficult to control the stick. Your car’s probably not going anywhere.
• No more borrowers. Driving a manual car is more complicated because of the many controls you need to keep in mind. Because people view this as an inconvenience, you can expect fewer people borrowing your keys. Isn’t that just great?
• Requires hard work and patience. Unlike automatic cars where you simply slide down to the gears, manuals make you do the work. You have to familiarize yourself with the patterns in the shifting of gears.
Aside from this, both of your feet will be stepping on the pedals. So if you have poor hand and feet coordination, might as well take time to practice.
Your patience will also be tested when there’s heavy traffic. The typical scenario is that you’ll be controlling the clutch, the pedals, and the throttle every now and then. But hey, it’s fun to take on this challenge.
What Parts Should Be Swapped
You have to understand that an automatic car functions differently from the manual one. This means that you’ll be replacing these parts for your manual conversion.
• Clutch disk and clutch cylinder
• Pressuring plate
• Powertrain frame
• Throttle body
• Slave cylinder
• Speedometer cable
Not many car owners can do auto to manual conversion because it takes special skills, parts, tools and equipment. Add in the fact that the transmission is very big and very heavy and you will see that we cannot recommend that you do this by yourself.
It is better to have the experts do this for you, specifically mechanics who specialize not only in transmissions but conversion.
It’s Time to Change Your Gears from Automatic to Manual
With the thousands of automatic vehicles and their drivers, manuals and their benefits are rarely included in the picture. As a driver, it’s important to know these basics so they can give you an advantage when choosing between the transmissions.
Naturally, manuals have their drawbacks, but ultimately, there are countless reasons why you should do the swap. And while you’re at it, keep in mind that you should prepare for it, physically and financially. Eventually, you’ll get the hang of it and it’ll be easy as if you’re still driving an automatic.