Mechanic Tips

Manual Vs Automatic Transmissions: What’s the Difference in Maintenance?

When you are getting a new vehicle, you pay attention to many different factors. Vehicle transmission holds a prominent place for them. The two transmission options you need to select from are manual transmission and automatic transmission. There are significant differences between manual and automatic transmissions. Maintenance is one such example. If you are trying to figure out the differences in maintenance, keep on reading. 

What is Manual Transmission all about? 

We often call manual transmission stick-shift or standard transmission. In a car with a manual transmission, the driver will need to directly get involved in the gear shifting process. This hands-on approach requires the use of a clutch pedal and gear shifter. Through manual transmission changes, the driver can control power delivery from the engine to the wheels.

Simplicity is one of the main benefits linked with manual transmission. The gearbox only has a few simple components including transmission fluid. As a result, the gearbox repair process will be relatively straightforward. This is the main reason why vehicle owners with manual transmission vehicles experience a low cost of repair. The repair cost for fluid change and clutch replacement are low as well. 

What are the maintenance considerations for manual transmission vehicles? 

Now you have a good understanding of what manual transmission is all about. With that in mind, let’s look at the factors driving manual transmission maintenance costs. 

Transmission fluid 

Manual transmissions require periodic transmission fluid changes. You will usually have to do this every 50,000 to 80,000 kilometres. It all depends on manufacturer recommendations. Having quality transmission fluid is important for smooth gear shifting. That’s because it will lubricate the gears and synchronizers. Moreover, changing transmission fluid in regular service intervals can help you prevent premature wear.

Clutch replacement 

You can refer to the clutch as a wear-and-tear item in a manual transmission vehicle. You will come across the need to replace it in around 60,000 to 150,000 kilometres based on the vehicle you drive. Clutch replacement of a manual gearbox can be quite expensive. That’s because a mechanic will need to remove the transmission to access the clutch assembly.

Gear shifting 

You are responsible for controlling gear shifting in a car with a manual transmission. This can result in premature wear on the gears and synchronizers. It all depends on how well you shift gears. For example, aggressive driving habits can cause more damage to the gears. Likewise, towing heavy loads can also damage it. If you can adhere to proper shifting techniques, you can overcome this damage.

What is Automatic Transmission all about? 

As the name suggests, you let the vehicle handle the gear-shifting process automatically in an automatic transmission vehicle. In other words, such an automatic transmission vehicle doesn’t require driver involvement to change gears. These transmissions have a torque converter to enable this process. It is a complex hydraulic system made from a series of planetary gears. The components in the hydraulic system will work seamlessly to deliver power from the engine to the wheels.

You can get a smooth and convenient driving experience on a vehicle with automatic transmission. However, they require more maintenance. Moreover, it can be more expensive to repair as well. 

What are the maintenance considerations for automatic transmission vehicles? 

Similar to manual transmission, you should also take good care of automatic transmission. It will ensure proper fuel efficiency and vehicle performance at all times. Here are the major maintenance considerations that you need to be mindful about.

Transmission fluid 

Regular transmission fluid change is a requirement in vehicles with automatic transmission as well. You will need to do this every 50,000 to 80,000 kilometres. To understand the exact mileage, you need to look at the owner’s manual. Transmission fluid in an automatic transmission gearbox can effectively lubricate internal components. It will also maintain the proper functioning of the complex hydraulic system. If you want to overcome expensive repair costs, make sure that you don’t ignore this. 

Gearbox repairs 

As you can see, the drive system in an automatic transmission vehicle is more complex. It has a higher number of internal components. Planetary gears, torque converters, and hydraulic control systems are to name a few. Repairing or rebuilding an automatic transmission gearbox can be more expensive. This is why you should take good care of your vehicle transmission. 

Fluid leaks 

If you have a vehicle with automated transmission, you are more susceptible to fluid leaks. Make sure that you don’t ignore such common problems. Without promptly addressing such issues, you may even end up with a complete transmission failure. 

Shift mechanisms 

In a vehicle with automatic transmission, you can find many different shift mechanisms. They include valve body and shift solenoids as well. These components can wear out along with time. That’s where you will need to go ahead with replacements. These components are essential for proper gear shifting. The replacement cost of them can usually be on the higher side. 

Maintenance costs and repair considerations 

As of now, you have a better understanding of the difference between automatic and manual transmissions. Vehicles with manual transmissions have lower repair expenses. That’s mainly due to the simplicity of them. The biggest expense that you will have to deal with would be the cost of clutch replacement. It can cost somewhere between a few hundred to a few thousand dollars. The overall cost would vary depending on the make and model of your vehicle.

On the other hand, automatic transmissions tend to have higher maintenance costs. That’s mainly due to their complex nature. You must not ignore regular fluid changes in a vehicle with an automatic gearbox. Otherwise, you will fail to maintain proper functioning of it. This fluid change can cost somewhere around $100 to $400. It also depends on the make and model of the vehicle.

Gearbox repairs and rebuilds in a vehicle with automatic transmission can be even more expensive. It would surely cost you thousands of dollars. 

Final words 

When you are buying a new vehicle, you often tend to pay more attention to maintenance expenses. This is where you should never overlook the cost of transmission maintenance. You should also compare the cost of transmission maintenance to other expenses. 

Apart from the cost of maintenance, few other expenses can directly contribute to the overall cost of ownership. For example, manual transmission vehicles are more fuel-efficient. They also provide a more engaging and responsive driving experience. Make sure that you don’t ignore these facts when comparing the two options. Then you can go ahead with making the ultimate decision of picking the right vehicle for you. 

Whether you have a vehicle with automatic transmission or manual transmission, you should attend regular maintenance. This is where you need to stick to a mechanic that you can trust. If you are on the lookout for such a mechanic in North Brisbane, SNC Automotive is there to help. We are experts in both transmission maintenance and repairs. When you want to make a fluid change or fix an even bigger issue, you can seek our assistance. Our expert mechanics know how to take good care of your transmission system and keep your vehicle running on the road. 

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