Becoming a Mechanic? The Pros and Cons of Manual vs Automatic Transmissions

Once you begin your career as an auto mechanic, you’ll encounter two types of transmissions; automatic and manual. Learning about both types and understanding the pros and cons of each is essential when you’re working in a shop.

When you begin your auto mechanic training, you’ll gain the theoretical and practical knowledge to thrive as an auto mechanic, including an intimate understanding of both types of transmissions. 

Read on for a brief guide to the pros and cons of manual and automatic transmissions.

A Basic Look at Both Transmissions

An engine only creates useful torque when it’s at a specific speed range. Simply put, if the engine is spinning too fast or too slow, the car will have a hard time starting and stopping.  To fix this, a transmission is attached to the engine to ensure suitable power is delivered to the wheels at all times.

A manual transmission consists of a series of gear systems that feature sets of gears travelling at different speeds. As the driver selects the gear, the gears corresponding to the selection will connect and send that power to the wheels. If the driver needs to change gears, they will press the clutch before selecting another gear. 

The automatic transmission, by comparison, consists of two planetary gears that use pressurized fluid to automatically change gears as the driver accelerates and decelerates. 

As you begin your auto mechanic training and receive instruction from industry professionals, you’ll learn the ins and outs of each transmission.

The Pros and Cons of Servicing a Manual Transmission to Know After Becoming a Mechanic 

When you begin working as a mechanic, you may not see many manual transmissions. This is because manual transmission requires the driver to accurately use the clutch and change gears themselves. Without proper training, a manual transmission is too inconvenient for the average person to worry about while driving, thus making manual vehicles a less common option among buyers.

Auto mechanic training will teach you the ins and outs of a vehicle’s transmission.
Auto mechanic training will teach you the ins and outs of a vehicle’s transmission.

What the manual transmission lacks in user-friendliness, it makes up for with its design simplicity. The more straightforward mechanism means the transmission will be easier to repair. The transmission’s simplicity also lends it a durability that an automatic transmission doesn’t have. 

When you become a mechanic, you can work in repair shops, large organizations with fleets of vehicles, or car dealerships, to name a few options. You may never work on a manual transmission in any of these jobs; however, due to the resiliency of manual transmissions, work sites tend to use them, so if you opt to pursue employment at a work site, working on manual transmissions will likely be a regular part of your job.

Pros and Cons of an Automatic Transmission to Remember After Auto Mechanic Training

Ease of use has played a huge role in why automatic transmissions have taken over the transmission market. However, if you’re considering becoming a mechanic, you’ll learn quickly how much more challenging they are to work on compared to manual transmissions. That’s because the mechanism is tightly packed and intricately laid out, so opening the transmission for maintenance can be very time intensive.  

Gain hands-on experience repairing a vehicle's transmission and engine systems at auto mechanic school.
Gain hands-on experience repairing a vehicle’s transmission and engine systems at auto mechanic school.

The average automatic transmission encases cabling, sensors, and planetary gear systems. They must be removed and properly handled to repair whatever is wrong with the transmission. Doing so may take a lot of much and, in turn, may not be worth it for the client to get the transmission repaired after all. In this case, the best course of action may be to replace the transmission with a restored one.

Whatever type of transmission you end up working on when you become an auto mechanic, your training will provide you with the knowledge and experience needed to maintain or repair any transmission. 


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