Man­ual vs. Au­to­matic

Jp Magazine - - Mailbag -

Thanks for pub­lish­ing my let­ter (Mail­bag, Apr. ’18). I to­tally agree (sad to say) about the un­pop­u­lar­ity of man­ual trans­mis­sions. In re­gards to the re­li­a­bil­ity/dura­bil­ity part I have to re­spect­fully dis­agree. I re­al­ize that peo­ple with a lack of knowl­edge or who are abu­sive can shock load a man­ual trans­mis­sion–equipped driv­e­line. There is no torque con­verter to pro­tect the ve­hi­cle from them as there is with an au­to­matic. Thus, the rea­son to use de­tuned en­gines to pre­serve the driv­e­train. Hav­ing said that, look no fur­ther than Jp a few years ago about au­to­mat­ics ver­sus man­u­als. The ar­ti­cle spoke to hav­ing to beat shoe leather when an au­to­matic was bashed on a rock and lost fluid. A man­ual can most likely be limped home per the ar­ti­cle.

Per­son­ally, I have owned a good num­ber of man­ual trans­mis­sion– equipped ve­hi­cles. Ev­ery­thing from cars to 10-wheel trac­tors. I’ve never had trou­ble with any of my man­ual trans­mis­sions, and only ever re­placed one clutch (in a car where the rear en­gine seal went and oil soaked said clutch). I’ve only owned one au­to­matic, in a Chrysler van. De­spite reg­u­lar main­te­nance, it even­tu­ally needed to be re­built.

Folks look­ing for that au­to­matic ex­pe­ri­ence should be in for a treat in the fu­ture. Self-driv­ing Jeeps will take them over the trail of their choice, while they sit in the pas­sen­ger seat and take photos. I hope that my man­ual-equipped ’02 SE out­lives me.

Rick Pas­san Bethlehem, PA

The man­ual ver­sus au­to­matic trans­mis­sion de­bate has al­ways been and still is a con­stant on­go­ing bat­tle with fewer and fewer man­ual trans­mis­sion supporters ev­ery year. Don’t get us wrong, we love our man­ual trans­mis­sions, but au­to­matic trans­mis­sions have their place too.

In all ac­tu­al­ity, it’s very likely that fu­ture au­to­matic trans­mis­sions will fun­da­men­tally be more like man­ual trans­mis­sions, but with dual-disc clutches and elec­tronic shift­ing mech­a­nisms. Today’s com­mon fluid cou­pler–style au­to­matic trans­mis­sions just aren’t all that ef­fi­cient. There are prob­a­bly some fuel econ­omy gains left on the ta­ble that could be at­tained with a man­ual au­to­matic as the tech­nol­ogy be­comes more af­ford­able. These man­ual-au­to­matic trans­mis­sions are al­ready out there in sev­eral high-vol­ume pro­duc­tion cars.

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