Cars Lined Up In A Row

When it comes to cars, we are continuously introduced to new, innovative changes that claim to create an easier driving experience. Although it seems over recent years drivers have started to opt for automatic cars over manual, they have, in fact, been around since the 1930’s, but obviously just not easy to get hold of or advanced as we have now!

If you’re approaching a stage where you think you’re ready to start learning to drive, you’re probably wondering whether you should go for manual or automatic driving lessons. You’ve probably heard everyone say that automatic will be a lot easier, which although this fact is generally true, it often pays to start from scratch in a manual. Either way, it’s always best to do some research and investigate into each to make sure that the route you go down is the best option for you.

So, to give you a head start, we’re going to compare manual vs automatic cars, which hopefully, will help you make your decision!

Manual Vs Automatic Cars

When it comes to driving lesson options, the best advice you could be given is from the mouths of those who are responsible for teaching, so we’ve spoken to John Whelan who is a driving instructor in Uxbridge, Wembley and Edgware about how he feels about the difference between manual and automatic cars.

“I never want to force a particular route of lessons on a pupil, I always believe that they should opt for whatever they feel most comfortable in, but if I had to give my honest opinion, I would say go for manual. Taking driving lessons in London can be tricky, with a lot of stop/start movements and busy traffic, but its the best practice. Once you nail clutch control, then everything else will be a piece of cake. As I always say, if you learn in a manual, you can always move into an automatic in the future, but you cant do the other way round.”


The is the biggest distinction that people think of when discussing the difference between driving an automatic and manual. In the simplest terms, a manual has a gear stick and an automatic doesn’t.

Manual: In a manual vehicle, you must physically change gears when slowing down or speeding up. Driving in a gear that is too high when driving at a low speed will cause your car to feel as if it is juddering then will most likely stall. If you are driving at high speed in a low gear, you will be able to hear your engine pushing to speed up, causing severe internal damage. You must change gear according to the speed you are driving, when slowing down, change down gears and when speeding up, change up one by one.

Automatic: As mentioned previously, an automatic vehicle has no gear stick. Instead, there is a combination of different electronics and complex mechanical factors within your vehicle that will judge for you when gears need to be changed, taking to account speed and road condition, and will do the hard work for you. The downside to having your vehicle do all of the work for you is that you can often feel as if the car is in control of you, rather than you in control of the car.

Gear Stick


The clutch and gears in a car come hand in hand, so if there is no need to manually change gears, then there is no need for a clutch pedal.

Manual:Getting to grips with the clutch is often one of the hardest aspects of the learning to drive process, the bite point is different in each vehicle and stalling due to poor clutch control is extremely common in new drivers. Raising the clutch just slightly too soon or too quickly can force the car to stall. To change gears and stop in a manual car, you must push the clutch fully down to disengage the engine.

Automatic:The benefit to learning to drive in an automatic is that you cannot stall, so you will always be able to move off smoothly. The only pedals you will need to use is the acceleration and brake, everything else will be done for you. Removing the need for gear changes and clutch control will allow you to focus on working on aspects such as steering and manoeuvres.


Many learners purchase their first car prior to passing their practical test and others wait until they have passed to start car shopping, either way, you want to get the best deal possible. Car model, insurance, running and maintenance costs are all aspects that need to be taken into consideration.

Manual: As a whole, manual cars are cheaper for all of the points above. If you are simply looking for a small, cheap to maintain, run-around car to get you through the first few years of driving, go for a manual. There will be considerably more options from car shops and private sellers and the likelihood of being able to negotiate a lower price will be higher. In terms of repairs, manual cars are less likely to need as much maintenance.

You will also get more for your money when it comes to fuel. Manual transmission engines are generally lighter than automatic cars meaning that you will be able to do more miles from your fuel. It is thought that you could save up to 15% on your fuel costs through switching to a manual car.

Filling Up Car

Automatic: The internal features of an automatic car are considerably more complex than a manual meaning that in the unfortunate event of a breakdown or issue, you are likely to be faced with a more expensive repairs fee. If the mechanical components fail then you’re going to have to find the extra cash for repairs immediately or go without a car. The only upside to the internal components of an automatic is, of course, you don’t have a clutch or gears, so will never have to worry about the high costs of brake pad replacements or clutch repairs if these fail.

So, what’s your verdict?

Likewise, to anything, both automatic and manual vehicles have their benefits and drawbacks. One may be more suited to an individual than another taking into consideration their lifestyle, skills and how they plan to make use of their car.

When it comes to lessons, always remember that if you pass your practical test as an automatic driver, you will have to retake both lessons and your test to legally be able to drive a manual. Whereas, passing in a manual gives you the opportunity to drive both!