Car transmissions - Standard or automatic?

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Message 1551293 - Posted: 2 Aug 2014, 5:16:25 UTC - in response to Message 1551287.  

I drove a stick once on a trip with a friend, his car. It would take some practice, but makes no sense at all in Los Angeles traffic.


Makes perfect sense. I spent 35 years of driving that traffic with a manual transmission. It gives you something to do while you are waiting to get to your destination.
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Message 1551319 - Posted: 2 Aug 2014, 6:27:04 UTC

Car I learned on was a '67 or '68 Buick LeSabre sedan. As soon as I got my license, my dad taught me to drive a stick in his '60 Ford sedan (3-speed column shift, a former police car). That winter he took me up to the Sierras to learn snow driving - a skill that saved my butt in Idaho and South Carolina in the wintertime.

Most of the vehicles I have owned have been automatics. The exception was the '77 Ford Econoline van I bought from a shipmate getting out on a hardship after his wife left him and their 2-year-old son while he was deployed (long story, nobody won, but she and her boyfriend lost their Navy careers). 351 Windsor engine, 3-on-the-tree. Drove that tank for 13 years, biggest problem was replacing starters every 3 years.

Drove Navy pick-ups and heavier trucks with both column and floor-shifts, and a John Deere tractor in my sister's vinyard.

It has been about 10 years since I drove a stick, but it would probably not take long to get that skill back.
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Message 1551320 - Posted: 2 Aug 2014, 6:36:28 UTC

In 1968 when I turned 16 and got my learners permit. My dad had a 1964 Rambler station wagon with a 3 speed on the coloum. He gave me the keys and told me do drive forward and backwards in the driveway. And he didnt give me any lessons. The backwards part went ok after I figured out the clutch. The forward part was a ^%^$%$^. You see there was this little slight rise going forward and I kept stalling the damn car. I can bet my dad was watching from the window laughing his can off. I finaly got the hang of working the gas and the clutch to go up a little stinking slope. Fast forward to 1970 I turned 18 and joined the local volunteer fire department. I had to learn all over again to drive a truck with a manual tranny.

I have arthritus in both my knees. I drove manual right up to 2007. The last time I got caught in a parking lot on I81 for 45 minutes in slow crawling traffic I thought my knees were going to fall off. That was the end of that.

Back when I did drive a stick I shifted by engine sound also. And when I heard the engine start to lug I downshifted. You can do the same with an automatic also.
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Message 1551321 - Posted: 2 Aug 2014, 6:38:41 UTC

Due to hand controls, I have to use Automatic but my wife swears by Standard for winter driving.


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Message 1551365 - Posted: 2 Aug 2014, 8:13:06 UTC

I've had both, and love and hate both.
For slow moving, stop-start, traffic automatic wins
But for country lanes at speed then a good manual is hard to better.

re earlier comments about a 4000lb car being heavy, indeed too heavy to be a manual. Three of my previous vehicles weighed in at more than 5000lb, and all were manual, with modern manual gearboxes and assisted clutches which were delightfully light and positive.

Best of all? its a toss-up between an ex-works Audi Quattro S2-evo with its sequential manual or my current Land Rover with a ZF 6-speed auto.
And worst - my Cooper S just before the box gave out big time bits on the road BIG time)
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Message 1551463 - Posted: 2 Aug 2014, 15:19:31 UTC - in response to Message 1551370.  

The USA is basically an Automatic country due mainly to it's size and the American psyche. Conversely the UK is a manual country for precisely the opposite reasons.
...

You know, I always thought it was because of our drivers licensing laws. It used to be that if you took your test in a standard, your license allowed you to drive standard and automatic, but if you took your test in an automatic you were only allowed to drive an automatic. That meant that most people just stuck with a standard.

I drive one now, which is more unusual here. However, when you are buying an older car it makes sense to buy a standard than an automatic because it is less likely to have problems. It is also much cheaper to fix.

Or course when trying to teach your stubborn son (I have no idea where he gets it from) to drive, its a whole other kettle of fish. :/
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Message 1551469 - Posted: 2 Aug 2014, 15:58:19 UTC - in response to Message 1551463.  

Of course when trying to teach your stubborn son (I have no idea where he gets it from) to drive, its a whole other kettle of fish. :/

That last time I drove a stick, it was when a lady friend/co-worker's 21-yo son wanted to buy his own car. He found a used pick-up, in decent shape, that he could afford.

Only issue, it was a stick, and he had never driven one, nor she. So I drove it home for them - yes, it was rough at the start, but I was shifting pretty smooth by the time we got home. Then spent 4 weeks of evenings and Saturdays trying to teach him to drive it. He has dislexia and learning disabilities (and an AA in Landscape Architecture), and no matter what we tried, he could not stop looking down at his left foot every time he shifted gears. Finally gave up and traded it for a slightly newer model with an automatic. He's still driving it 11 years later.
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Message 1551473 - Posted: 2 Aug 2014, 16:06:44 UTC - in response to Message 1551469.  

Of course when trying to teach your stubborn son (I have no idea where he gets it from) to drive, its a whole other kettle of fish. :/

That last time I drove a stick, it was when a lady friend/co-worker's 21-yo son wanted to buy his own car. He found a used pick-up, in decent shape, that he could afford.

Only issue, it was a stick, and he had never driven one, nor she. So I drove it home for them - yes, it was rough at the start, but I was shifting pretty smooth by the time we got home. Then spent 4 weeks of evenings and Saturdays trying to teach him to drive it. He has dislexia and learning disabilities (and an AA in Landscape Architecture), and no matter what we tried, he could not stop looking down at his left foot every time he shifted gears. Finally gave up and traded it for a slightly newer model with an automatic. He's still driving it 11 years later.

The first time I drove an automatic it was one of the ones with a double wide brake pedal. I had just been driving the jeep with a massive return spring on the clutch (Press lightly on the brake, STOMP on the clutch). Now do that with a double wide brake pedal on a car with touchy brakes (scrape the front bumper on the ground).


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Message 1551474 - Posted: 2 Aug 2014, 16:07:34 UTC - in response to Message 1551463.  
Last modified: 2 Aug 2014, 16:32:24 UTC

The USA is basically an Automatic country due mainly to it's size and the American psyche. Conversely the UK is a manual country for precisely the opposite reasons.
...

You know, I always thought it was because of our drivers licensing laws. It used to be that if you took your test in a standard, your license allowed you to drive standard and automatic, but if you took your test in an automatic you were only allowed to drive an automatic. That meant that most people just stuck with a standard.

I drive one now, which is more unusual here. However, when you are buying an older car it makes sense to buy a standard than an automatic because it is less likely to have problems. It is also much cheaper to fix.

Or course when trying to teach your stubborn son (I have no idea where he gets it from) to drive, its a whole other kettle of fish. :/

I got My license when I was 19, My Dad made up for the years of minimal child support, He paid to have Me instructed by a Professional School, He wasn't rich or even well off, the great depression killed that off, when the family's car dealership/auto garage/gas station went under in Culver City CA.

They sold Durants and Oldsmobiles, they should have sold Fords and Lincolns, but whatever. I don't know who the 3 in the middle are, but the 2 on the ends are My Grandpa(Earl Bobier) and My Grandma (Grace(Doherty) Bobier, Wife to Earl), this was in about 1928-1932 I think, as another pic shows My Dad as a young child of about 8-10yrs, He was holding hands with My Grandpa(His Dad). So yes I have an interesting family history and in some circles a known family name too, as is mentioned Here on an official Culver City website. Grace is standing next to a gasoline pump, right at the curb, at Washington Blvd and Irving Place, which is only 2 to 4 blocks from where their house still stands today on Irving Place, though the House is owned by someone else today and the Garage building is long gone.
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Message 1551480 - Posted: 2 Aug 2014, 16:19:31 UTC - in response to Message 1551478.  

You know, I always thought it was because of our drivers licensing laws. It used to be that if you took your test in a standard, your license allowed you to drive standard and automatic, but if you took your test in an automatic you were only allowed to drive an automatic. That meant that most people just stuck with a standard.

Errrrrmmmm 'ish.

Yes it is true that if you pass your test in a manual you can also drive an automatic, but not vice versa. Most cars sold in the UK are manual cars because that is what the majority of the general public prefer. 75% of the 1.8 million new cars that were bought in 2013 were manuals, 25% being automatics.

I drive one now, which is more unusual here. However, when you are buying an older car it makes sense to buy a standard than an automatic because it is less likely to have problems. It is also much cheaper to fix.

Yes agreed. Mind you from what you have said, Mr 99 shouldn't be let near any car, he's a wrecking ball on 2 legs!!!

Or course when trying to teach your stubborn son (I have no idea where he gets it from) to drive, its a whole other kettle of fish. :/

Ooooh now, the maternal side of the family by any remote chance ???

I still thank that most Americans are just lazy drivers that can't be bothered to drive a real car, but times are changing. A lot performance cars e.g the new Porsche 911 GT3 and 911 Turbo, Renault’s new Clio RS 200 Turbo, Aston Martin’s latest V12 Vantage S and all of Lamborghini’s new supercars, to name but a few have the paddle shift with dual clutch, which has taken over from the sequential change gearboxes.

My Dad could drive a stick(as a manual tranny was referred to at one time here in the US), that's how He got the rank of Corporal in the US Army in 1942(to 1946) and He became a medic, that and He could direct people and He could type(hunt and peck from what He told Me).
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Message 1551489 - Posted: 2 Aug 2014, 16:40:55 UTC - in response to Message 1551473.  
Last modified: 2 Aug 2014, 16:41:22 UTC


The first time I drove an automatic it was one of the ones with a double wide brake pedal. I had just been driving the jeep with a massive return spring on the clutch (Press lightly on the brake, STOMP on the clutch). Now do that with a double wide brake pedal on a car with touchy brakes (scrape the front bumper on the ground).

LMAO....I can just see that....
Force of habit can be a very hard thing to break. I can relate to that scenario.

A number of years ago, I drove my RX7 all summer. 5 speed manual.
When fall came and it was time to switch back to the good ol' Oldsmobile with it's automatic transmission, I kept putting my left foot down and grasping air with my right hand reaching for the shift knob.
"Freedom is just Chaos, with better lighting." Alan Dean Foster

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Message 1551490 - Posted: 2 Aug 2014, 16:47:22 UTC - in response to Message 1551489.  


The first time I drove an automatic it was one of the ones with a double wide brake pedal. I had just been driving the jeep with a massive return spring on the clutch (Press lightly on the brake, STOMP on the clutch). Now do that with a double wide brake pedal on a car with touchy brakes (scrape the front bumper on the ground).

LMAO....I can just see that....
Force of habit can be a very hard thing to break. I can relate to that scenario.

A number of years ago, I drove my RX7 all summer. 5 speed manual.
When fall came and it was time to switch back to the good ol' Oldsmobile with it's automatic transmission, I kept putting my left foot down and grasping air with my right hand reaching for the shift knob.

That's muscle memory for ya. :)
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Message 1551498 - Posted: 2 Aug 2014, 17:35:13 UTC - in response to Message 1551490.  
Last modified: 2 Aug 2014, 17:39:27 UTC


The first time I drove an automatic it was one of the ones with a double wide brake pedal. I had just been driving the jeep with a massive return spring on the clutch (Press lightly on the brake, STOMP on the clutch). Now do that with a double wide brake pedal on a car with touchy brakes (scrape the front bumper on the ground).

LMAO....I can just see that....
Force of habit can be a very hard thing to break. I can relate to that scenario.

A number of years ago, I drove my RX7 all summer. 5 speed manual.
When fall came and it was time to switch back to the good ol' Oldsmobile with it's automatic transmission, I kept putting my left foot down and grasping air with my right hand reaching for the shift knob.

That's muscle memory for ya. :)

And it took a while to get over it.
I would still do it once in a while weeks later when I got out of work late and dead tired, or if I had something distracting on my mind.

Lori did the same thing when the Toyota Celica she had driven for many years was finally overtaken by rust and no longer safe to drive. Her new Nissan Rouge was of course, an automatic. And after her years of conditioning, she would go for the clutch and shift knob for a very long time. And months later, if she and I were talking about something as we were leaving to run errands, she would still do it once in a while.
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Message 1551501 - Posted: 2 Aug 2014, 18:00:14 UTC - in response to Message 1551478.  

You know, I always thought it was because of our drivers licensing laws. It used to be that if you took your test in a standard, your license allowed you to drive standard and automatic, but if you took your test in an automatic you were only allowed to drive an automatic. That meant that most people just stuck with a standard.

Errrrrmmmm 'ish.

Yes it is true that if you pass your test in a manual you can also drive an automatic, but not vice versa. Most cars sold in the UK are manual cars because that is what the majority of the general public prefer. 75% of the 1.8 million new cars that were bought in 2013 were manuals, 25% being automatics.

I drive one now, which is more unusual here. However, when you are buying an older car it makes sense to buy a standard than an automatic because it is less likely to have problems. It is also much cheaper to fix.

Yes agreed. Mind you from what you have said, Mr 99 shouldn't be let near any car, he's a wrecking ball on 2 legs!!!

Or course when trying to teach your stubborn son (I have no idea where he gets it from) to drive, its a whole other kettle of fish. :/

Ooooh now, the maternal side of the family by any remote chance ???

I still thank that most Americans are just lazy drivers that can't be bothered to drive a real car, but times are changing. A lot performance cars e.g the new Porsche 911 GT3 and 911 Turbo, Renault’s new Clio RS 200 Turbo, Aston Martin’s latest V12 Vantage S and all of Lamborghini’s new supercars, to name but a few have the paddle shift with dual clutch, which has taken over from the sequential change gearboxes.

It depends on what the commute looks like. Often, mine has stop and go traffic for an hour or so. Handling a manual shift correctly often involves shifting 5 to 15 times a minute for the hour as the speeds change all over the place. Quickly becomes less than fun. My current car has a CVT.


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Message 1551506 - Posted: 2 Aug 2014, 18:18:18 UTC - in response to Message 1551498.  


The first time I drove an automatic it was one of the ones with a double wide brake pedal. I had just been driving the jeep with a massive return spring on the clutch (Press lightly on the brake, STOMP on the clutch). Now do that with a double wide brake pedal on a car with touchy brakes (scrape the front bumper on the ground).

LMAO....I can just see that....
Force of habit can be a very hard thing to break. I can relate to that scenario.

A number of years ago, I drove my RX7 all summer. 5 speed manual.
When fall came and it was time to switch back to the good ol' Oldsmobile with it's automatic transmission, I kept putting my left foot down and grasping air with my right hand reaching for the shift knob.

That's muscle memory for ya. :)

And it took a while to get over it.
I would still do it once in a while weeks later when I got out of work late and dead tired, or if I had something distracting on my mind.

Lori did the same thing when the Toyota Celica she had driven for many years was finally overtaken by rust and no longer safe to drive. Her new Nissan Rouge was of course, an automatic. And after her years of conditioning, she would go for the clutch and shift knob for a very long time. And months later, if she and I were talking about something as we were leaving to run errands, she would still do it once in a while.

Yeah, I hear ya Mark, this torpedo had the same thing happen when I was shooting and according to the Army, I was very good at it, though I was not an expert.
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Message 1551555 - Posted: 2 Aug 2014, 20:33:47 UTC

The only tricky part about a manual for me has been stop lights on hills. It's a delicate balance to get going again without rolling back a little. ~One of the reasons I don't like people nearly touching my back bumper in traffic - drives me a little crazy. ;~}
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Message 1551564 - Posted: 2 Aug 2014, 20:56:07 UTC - in response to Message 1551555.  

The only tricky part about a manual for me has been stop lights on hills. It's a delicate balance to get going again without rolling back a little. ~One of the reasons I don't like people nearly touching my back bumper in traffic - drives me a little crazy. ;~}

With sport car pedal layout, the pedals are close enough together that both can be worked if you have big feet like mine :-( If that fails to work. set the hand brake and when the clutch starts to catch, release the hand brake. I use the hand brake method when I am parked on a hill to make sure I don't roll into the car behind me.
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Message 1551575 - Posted: 2 Aug 2014, 21:03:43 UTC - in response to Message 1551564.  

The only tricky part about a manual for me has been stop lights on hills. It's a delicate balance to get going again without rolling back a little. ~One of the reasons I don't like people nearly touching my back bumper in traffic - drives me a little crazy. ;~}

With sport car pedal layout, the pedals are close enough together that both can be worked if you have big feet like mine :-( If that fails to work. set the hand brake and when the clutch starts to catch, release the hand brake. I use the hand brake method when I am parked on a hill to make sure I don't roll into the car behind me.


I actually never thought about using the hand brake for this. Nifty idea, thanks. :~)
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Message 1551581 - Posted: 2 Aug 2014, 21:11:40 UTC

Or, if the car behind is REALLY close, just use them as a brake - its their fault, they shouldn't have been so close in the first place ;-0

(One of my of Land Rovers was very good at "curing" those who stopped too close at "up hill" traffic lights - it would roll back a yard or so before the hand brake bit - and with a NATO hitch and winch on the back....)
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Message 1551582 - Posted: 2 Aug 2014, 21:28:11 UTC - in response to Message 1551577.  

They used to put an egg behind one of the rear wheels on the advanced driving teat, if you cracked it you failed. They don't do that any more.


Well, thank goodness, lol. That's pretty intense. ;~}
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