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Auto vs manual cars: The pros and cons

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Auto vs manual cars: The pros and cons


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The transmission in your car is essential if you want your vehicle to move at any significant speed. It’s responsible for controlling the amount of power transferred from the engine to the drive axle, which it does by varying the gear ratio. 

In lower gears, this increases available power while reducing speed. In higher gears, it reduces power and increases speed. This lets cars distribute power and speed in the most efficient way for any situation, whether climbing a slope or driving along a highway.

While everyone agrees that transmissions are necessary, there remains some contention around the question: Automatic or Manual?

Some people are die-hard, loyal manual enthusiasts who love the additional control it gives them. And others like the simplicity and ease-of-use an automatic gives them. We take a look at the pros and cons of each.


Automatic Transmissions



  • Easier to use. While balancing gear and clutch might be second nature to seasoned manual drivers, for beginners it presents a more daunting task, as evidenced by the occasional stalled learner car you need to navigate around. Auto cars are much easier for learners, with only 2 pedals to work with and minimal gear shifting.
  • Easier to control. New drivers are generally taught to keep both hands on the wheel at all times. Not a problem in an auto, but not always possible in a manual, due to the need to shift gears.
  • Better for navigating hills. The slopes of Genting and Cameron Highlands are a daunting prospect to any beginner manual driver. Driving an auto definitely takes the stress out of it by ensuring your car operates efficiently no matter how steep the incline.
  • Easier to drive in traffic. Overall, more work goes into accelerating, slowing and stopping a manual, which you will definitely notice in stop-and-go traffic. Navigating between only gas and brake is a lot easier.
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    Reduced risk of stalling. Stalling a car at a traffic light is embarrassing, but stalling a car on a steep road or worse, a set of train tracks, is dangerous and even fatal. While auto cars’ engines aren’t impervious to suddenly dying, the likelihood of it happening is a lot lower.



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  • More expensive. Automatic cars generally cost more upfront compared to manual. For a basic 2017 Perodua Myvi, an automatic is RM3,000 more expensive than its manual counterpart.

  • Less immersive driving. For driving enthusiasts, automatics are simpler and to some extent, less fun. You can’t properly drift an auto, for example (not that we’re encouraging that — not on public roads, at least). 

Manual Transmissions


  • Cheaper to buy. It’s on the whole cheaper to buy a manual car than an automatic, with the price difference ranging in thousands of ringgit. For car buyers on a serious budget, this is a real benefit to choosing a manual.
  • Cheaper to maintain. Manual transmissions are on the whole cheaper to maintain than automatic, as they have a simpler design. A manual transmission fluid replacement costs less, and if ever the transmission needs to be replaced on the whole, an automatic transmission will cost a lot more as it is more complicated. 


  • More control of drive power. As manual car drivers have control over the gears, they choose when and how much power goes to the drive axle. This makes it easier to slow down and stop without mashing on the brake. 


  • Less likely to be stolen. Given the lower sale value of a manual car compared to an auto, lower market demand and relative difficulty to drive, a car thief is less likely to choose a manual over an identical auto car to steal. 


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  • Harder to learn. While getting a manual license gives you the advantage of being able to drive both a manual and an auto when the situation calls for it, a manual is definitely harder to navigate for a beginner driver.
  • More effort to drive. Between balancing the clutch and gear, and constantly having to do so in stop-and-go traffic and when going up and down hill, a manual car is undoubtedly more effort to drive than an auto.


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  • Harder to resell. An increasing number of beginner drivers are learning auto only, which indicates a car market weighted more towards auto cars. There’s more demand for auto than manual cars, which will make getting rid of your old manual harder today than in the past.


Whether you drive an automatic or manual transmission car, you need to have your engine oil changed to keep it in good working order. Maxx ‘N Go takes the hassle out of this chore by giving you the convenience of booking an oil change to your location. Every Maxx ‘N Go oil change comes with free labour, free delivery, free oil filter, and a free 15-point car inspection.

Do you need a gear oil flush or parts replacement for major service? Let us help you with that at the Maxx ‘N Go service center.

Download the Maxx ‘N Go app via the App Store or Google Play store, or go to our website to learn more.