In the United States, sales of manual transmission vehicles have lagged for years. Some might say it’s because Americans love automatic transmission cars that mesh well with other aspects of culture’s focus on convenience. But while such cars certainly make life a little easier and offer many advantages, discerning drivers continue to buy standard transmission models for their unique advantages.
Clutches may not make a significant resurgence any time soon. Edmunds reports that stick shift auto sales doubled in 2012. But regardless of the spike, such vehicles still accounted for less than 10 percent of all cars sold in the United States. Road and Track notes that major journalists predicted that the market would eliminate manual transmissions as far back as 1965. While sales of manual transmission automobiles may be slow these days, contrary to what automobile critics of yore predicted, stick shifts haven’t become extinct. Instead, they appeal to a niche market of car enthusiasts, even though there are still plenty of practical and not-so-practical reasons to drive a manual transmission.
Learning to use a stick shift takes a fair amount of hands-on practice. If you’ve never driven a manual transmission, you’ll have to spend several days learning to operate the vehicle’s gear system. But once you get the hang of it, you’ll enjoy driving standard transmission cars more than their automatic counterparts. Shifting gears provides you with a level of control over the car’s operation that you wouldn’t have with an automatic. As is the case with most rare skills, it’s nice knowing you have an ability that most others do not. And, you never know when some expertise in driving a stick will come in handy.
It’s been reported that three-pedaled cars can help drivers slash their gas bills and carbon footprint. When Esurance ‘s Alex Glenn declared his devotion to the manual transmission, he noted Consumer Reports statistics indicating that such cars get between two and five miles more per gallon than automatic vehicles. This doesn’t make manual transmissions as environmentally friendly as hybrids, but any reduction in fossil fuel couldn’t hurt. Glenn also pointed out that replacing a manual transmission can cost less than half as much as an automatic, and thanks to the rules of supply and demand, standard transmission cars generally cost less than automatics.
De-Facto Theft Prevention
Most people are clueless when it comes to driving a stick, which means car thieves may struggle to speed away if they steal a standard transmission vehicle and don’t know how to operate it. A stick shift may not be as effective against theft as any number of devices designed for that purpose, but it certainly helps the odds that criminals will find their attempts to steal such a vehicle thwarted. If your car requires clutch replacement due to the rigors of travel, contact a reputable automotive repair shop.