Myths About Stick Shifters

Manual transmissions are still a popular choice today as they do offer many benefits. Here we challenge some stick shift myths which are based on outdated information.

Though most new vehicles sold today come with automatic transmissions, there are people who tout stick-shift manual transmissions as being a much better option. However, some of the benefits they cite are actually stick-shift myths and are based on outdated information.

To help set the record straight, below are five common stick-shift myths, along with the truth behind each.

Myth #1: Stick shifts always get better fuel economy.

In the past it was pretty much a given that vehicles with manual transmissions would be more fuel-efficient than their automatic counterparts, but advancements in automatic transmission technology have closed that gap. It’s true that some vehicles get better mileage with a manual transmission, but the difference is usually quite small. In some of today’s models, the automatic transmission is becoming more advanced and gaining additional gears, so they are often now overtaking manuals in terms of fuel economy.

Myth #2: Stick shifts are always cheaper to buy.

Again, this is only true part of the time. In some cases, the manual version of a car will indeed cost less. But the current trend is toward pricing both manual and automatic versions of a car exactly the same.
Furthermore, you can’t always get the car you want with a manual transmission.

Myth #3: Stick shifts save on repair costs.

It’s true that replacing a manual transmission is usually cheaper than replacing an automatic. However, many automatic transmissions will never need to be replaced. With a stick shift, you’re likely to replace the clutch at least once or twice over the life of the car, which means your long-term maintenance costs may be higher.

Myth #4: Myth #4:Stick shifts are a must for sports cars.

Though manual transmissions are more common on sports cars, there will also often be the option of getting an automatic. And it’s becoming more common for some sports models to only come with automatic transmissions or to be equipped with clutchless paddle shifters.

Myth #5: Stick shifts work better for towing or other heavy-duty work. 

Actually, one could argue that stick shifts are worse for hauling loads. The increased weight increases the amount of wear on the clutch, whereas an automatic has no clutch to wear out. And the automatic transmissions on many full-size trucks or SUVs come with a towing package that can better handle the loads.

Stick Shift Realities:

When the argument in favor of the stick shift is based on how much fun it is, it’s undeniable. Stick-shift savvy also comes in handy if you’re a passenger in a manual-transmission car and the driver is incapacitated in some way. And it’s helpful if you’re stuck somewhere and the only car available is one with a stick.

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