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Choosing Between Manual and Automatic

When you first come to learn to drive the chances are you’ll only really consider learning in a manual car, and likewise any instructor will probably assume the same, unless you tell them otherwise.

The key difference between an automatic car and a manual one is the clutch and the gears; with a manual you have full control over the gears, with the clutch to allow you to change them whereas in an automatic car you simply pick the ‘drive’ mode whilst your driving (there is also reverse and park) and the car will automatically change the gears where necessary.

When learning to drive an automatic all other aspects of driving are learnt including all the manoeuvres and road safety.

The difference however is that you don’t have to focus on changing the gear at the same time. This suits some learners who find changing gear stressful and difficult. Often people who start learning an automatic have done so after struggling with learning in a manual car.  However, the number of younger, first time drivers are opting for automatic as a quicker and easier route to gaining their licence.

Although it is easier, many still don’t learn this way and the main reasons are perception of it as ‘cheating’ (this of course isn’t correct) but also availability and cost. Once you have passed your test in a manual car you are able to drive both manual and automatic cars, if you pass in an automatic however you can only drive automatics.

It used to be the case that automatics were more difficult to find when it comes to buying a car, but they are becoming more common, and most good dealers will have a decent selection to choose from. It may even be tricky initially to find an instructor with an automatic you can learn in, although may companies like ELITE do have them.

It also used to be the case that automatics were more expensive to buy, but this is now usually not the case. Insurance costs are probably similar now too. The cost of repairs for an automatic may be higher, but it’s worth bearing in mind that they won’t have the same gear and clutch problems that a manual car may face and so probably won’t need to be repaired as often, and with modern developments in technology they tend to be more reliable.{jcomments on}