Stick Shift Myths in the Norco, CA Area

January 14th, 2018 by

manual transmission

The manual transmission hasn’t disappeared yet but it’s on the endangered list.  As of model year 2014, less than 4 percent of new cars were equipped with manual transmissions.  Despite the low numbers, though, defenders of stick shifts still claim superiority in gas mileage, efficiency and other metrics. The problem is that a lot of it isn’t supported by the facts.  Here’s a few myths for you to consider.

Cars with manual transmissions get superior MPG – This used to be true but not so much today. The reason that manual transmissions used to deliver better gas mileage is that they were fundamentally more efficient.  Automatics have things called “torque converters” which transferred power from the engine to the transmission via a fluid coupling. The problem was that in the conversion that a lot of energy was lost as heat (hence automatic transmission coolers). Virtually all automatic transmissions today have “lock up torque converters”.  The folks at Browning ( explain that lock up torque converters eliminate the fluid coupling at cruising speeds so power isn’t lost.  Automatics today also have many more gears than they used to have so the efficiency argument isn’t as true anymore. In the old days, automatics had some 2 to 4 gear ratios.  Today they have up to 10.  So, here’s the fact today: on many of today’s vehicles, the automatic version actually gets better gas mileage than the manual version!  Some people, even those that work in the automotive industry, find this hard to believe but it’s true.

The best sports cars only come with manual transmissions so they must be better – Not quite true. The seventh-generation 2015 Corvette Stingray and 2015 Porsche 911 offer a choice of a manual or automatic transmission, and the automatic versions are quite popular.  So the fact that high-end sports cars come with both types of transmissions should be an indication that manual transmissions aren’t superior to automatics, just different.

A car with a manual transmission costs less than the automatic version – Does a car with a manual transmission cost less than the same car with an automatic transmission? Well, standard transmission fans, there is some truth to this one; most of the time this fact is true, the manual is cheaper. However, there are exceptions. On many of GMs automobiles, the two options are the exactly the same price.  Bottom line: It depends on the car and the dealer pricing.

Buying a car for a teenager? Teenagers want to learn to drive stick shifts – We aren’t sure where this one comes from. Many parents say this isn’t true.  This may be because there are so few manuals out there, young people don’t get exposed to them, and there is some curiosity about “the old way of doing it”.  That being said, most tend to prefer automatics when exposed to both.

Stick shift cars are stolen less – This could be filed under “urban legend”. The theory is that because fewer people know how to drive stick shifts these days, cars equipped with them are likely to be stolen .  It certainly makes for interesting discussion but the statistics don’t back it up. There are individual stories of thieves who have abandoned theft attempts when they discovered that a car was a standard, though.  It’s a humorous story so the media tends to publish these kinds of stories when they occur.

The object of this article was not to sway you one way or another, just to debunk some of the myths that circulate concerning manual transmissions.  If you are considering a new or used car and don’t know what type of transmission to look for, try them both out.

At Browning Dodge we have many vehicles to choose from.  We have a New Inventory Page, a Pre-Owned Inventory Page and lots more. We also have great Financing Options if you wanted to also check those out.

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