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Daisy Torres; Manual Transmission Takes a Backseat

Manual Transmission Takes a Backseat


Composition 102 K; Lecturer Harper
Daisy Torres
FINAL DRAFT
Fort Hays State University
10 December 2016

Daisy Torres; Manual Transmission Takes a Backseat

Abstract
When traveling to another city, state, or country, a car with automatic
transmission is the best option. Automatic transmission is more popular nowadays
and most people know how to drive it due to its simplicity. This paper argues that
an automatic transmission car is the best option when traveling long distances and
to unfamiliar locations. It is safer, easier and the belief that manual transmission
cars get better mileage per gas is no longer a fact. For people who do not know
how to drive a manual transmission car it could take a while to learn. Although
learning time would vary from person to person, the confidence to drive in
highways, freeways, and in another country is a factor to consider in this case.

Daisy Torres; Manual Transmission Takes a Backseat

Manual Transmission Takes a Backseat


The amount of automatic cars being purchased in America is greater than
ever, and manual transmission is taking a backseat. Automatic cars have become
popular because of how easy they are to drive. They are way more practical, and
take no time to learn while stick shift takes more time to learn and needs even more
time to master it. In our fast paced society no one has time to learn unnecesary
skills and the goal is to get from point A to point B in the most efficient way
possible; automatic transmission cars offer that.

Background
During Winter break, my brother and I travel to Mexico to visit our family.
Usually the main transportation system we use is a bus, which is inconvenient
because the cost of passenger ticket rises. There are usually some delays, and
sometimes when we arrive to El Paso the bus that takes us to our destination has
already left the premises. Then, we have to travel to Chihuahua instead, which is
located approximately three hours away from Parral, our hometown.
This year, both my brother and I are of legal age, 18 and 20 respectively, so I
pitched the idea of driving from Liberal, KS to our hometown in Mexico. This idea
was welcomed by my brother and mother, but my brother quickly assumed his car

Daisy Torres; Manual Transmission Takes a Backseat

would be the best car to drive. His car is a manual transmission car and I do not
know how to operate it. An automatic transmission car would be the safest option
since I am not able to drive stick shift and could help with the driving since
traveling time ranges from 14 to 16 hours.

Argument
People who are comfortable driving manual transmission cars say that it is
easy and with enough practice it becomes second nature. Although it may be true
to a person who is used to it, to a person who has never had the need to drive
manual transmission it is very intimidating. Even when a person has learned the
skill, they lack the practice.
Driving an automatic transmission car in the highway is safer for novices
since the varying movements of manual transmission pattern distracts the drivers
attention from road signs which could affect driving performance
(Warhsawsky-Livne, Shinar, 2002, para. 13). Automatic cars offer cruise control,
which helps with driving performance on highways and freeways, in The
influence of Cruise Control and Adaptive Cruise Control on driving behaviour A
driving simulator study it was noted that drivers with cruise control were less
likely to drive above the speed limit. (Vollrath, Schleicher, Gelau, 2011, para. 22)

Daisy Torres; Manual Transmission Takes a Backseat

Driving in unfamiliar areas is easier to do with automatic transmission, even


if the driver thinks they know the area, there are instances where situations change,
such is the case of Parral. While a driver may think they know the area there are
variants to consider, like the fact that recently many of its streets have been
changed to one way circulation (Cambia Definitivamente a un Solo Sentido el
Boulevard Ortiz Mena, 2016, para. 4).
There is a big difference when comparing the driving styles of a small rural
city such as Liberal, with a population of approximately 20,746 (Population
Estimates 2015) to a population of 107,061, that is more than 5 times the
population (Instituto Nacional de Estadstica y Geografa (INEGI), 2010).
Older drivers have been found to have better adjustment to speeds in urban
areas whilst driving an automatic transmission car and younger drivers also
showed an improvement on left turns (Falkmer, Selander, Bolin, 2012, para. 10). In
A Comparative Study between Automatic and Manual Transmission Car by
Mayur R Mogre, he concludes that a manual gearbox is tiresome when driving in
traffic jams (Mogre, 2012, para. 2) which is quite common in the narrow streets of
Parral.
The difference between Liberal and Parral, is not only the population
differences, it is also its topographical contrast. While Liberal is located in the

Daisy Torres; Manual Transmission Takes a Backseat

plains of the United states, Parral is located in southern part of the state of
Chihuahua, Chihuahua is a state where the majority of its points are elevated
(MasTiposde, equipo de redaccin, 2016, para. 12). The differences between
Liberal and Parral are shown in the figures below. Parral is filled with hills and
mountains, while Liberal is relatively plain.

Driving manual transmission in hills is more complicated than driving an


automatic transmission. The following is a comparison of steps required to drive in
hills by the New Zealand Transport Agency:
Automatic:
Manual:
1. Pull the handbrake up a bit and
1. Pull the handbrake up a bit and
press the release button.
press the release button.
2. Hold the handbrake up so it is
2. Hold the handbrake up so it is
still engaged.
still engaged.
3. Push down on the accelerator a
3. Let the clutch out a little until
little, you should feel the car
you can feel it bite, then push it
pulling a bit.
back in slightly to steady the car.
4. Gently release the handbrake if
Imagine youre waiting to ride a
you start to roll back, pull up the
horse: youre pulling back on the

Daisy Torres; Manual Transmission Takes a Backseat

handbrake again and use the foot


pedals to find the right level of
control.
5. When youve got that steady
control, indicate, check your
mirrors and look over your
shoulder.
6. Is it clear? If it is, smoothly push
down on the accelerator some
more easy does it and pull
away.

4.

5.

6.

7.

reins but you can feel that the


horse is getting ready to go.
Push down on the accelerator.
Remember that youll need more
accelerator than when you start
the car on the flat.
Gently release the handbrake if
you start to roll back, pull the
handbrake again and use the foot
pedals to find the right level of
control.
When youve got that steady
control, then signal, check your
mirrors and look over your
shoulder.
Is it clear? If it is, smoothly push
down on the accelerator some
more and let the clutch out
easy does it and pull away.
(Hill Driving, n.d.)

Counterargument and Rebuttal


Some of the complaints people have against automatic cars is the argument
that they are more expensive and use up more gas, but with current technology, this
has moved away from being a well known fact, to something up for discussion,
according to edmunds.com the Toyota 2014 Ford Focus six speed automatic
version has better miles per gallon performance with a 33 mpg combined as
opposed to the manual transmission version which will give you 30 mpg

Daisy Torres; Manual Transmission Takes a Backseat

combined. Another example edmunds.com offers is the 2014 Nissan Versa which
both the manual and automatic transmissin give the same amount of 30 mpg
combined.
A big argument is that manual cars are less expensive, and in the past this
may have been a fact, but now there are automatic transmission cars that share the
same cost with manual transmission cars, In most cases, the manual version of a
car will indeed cost less, but in some instances, it's the same price as an automatic.
Examples include such GM vehicles as the 2013 Buick Regal GS and 2013
Cadillac CTS-V. Among BMWs, the manual is often the same price as the
automatic. ( Lachnit, 2013, para. 7).

Conclusion
The manufacturing of manual transmission cars has decreased in the last
decade, from 47% in 2006 to 27% this year, and the sales are even lower (Fleming,
2016, para. 6) which shows the popularity of automatic cars. Automatic cars are
more practical, and easier to maneuver. Driving in unfamiliar places, it is better to
have a car that is easy to control rather than worry about following multiple steps
to get a car to do what you need. In long travels is also better to drive an automatic
car, drivers adjust to speed limits easier, and the patterns to drive manual

Daisy Torres; Manual Transmission Takes a Backseat

transmission cars are distracting in roads. Arguments such as, manual cars are less
expensive or they are less expensive is not true anymore. It is 2016, people need to
leave difficult tasks to be part of the past, and take advantage of present
technology.

Daisy Torres; Manual Transmission Takes a Backseat

10

References
Cambia definitivamente a un solo sentido el boulevard Ortiz Mena. (2016,
November 13). Retrieved from
http://www.elmonitorparral.com/notas.pl?n=86508
Hill driving. Retrieved from https://drive.govt.nz/learn-to-drive/hill-driving/
Instituto Nacional de Estadstica y Geografa (INEGI). (2010). Mxico en Cifras.
Retrieved from http://www3.inegi.org.mx/sistemas/mexicocifras/
Lachnit, C. (2013, September 26). Five Myths About Stick Shifts: Manual vs
Automatic Transmissions on Edmunds.com. Retrieved from
https://www.edmunds.com/fuel-economy/five-myths-about-stick-shifts.html
MasTiposde, equipo de redaccin. (2016, October 2). Mapa de Chihuahua.
Redaccin Mapade.org. Retrieved from
http://www.mapade.org/chihuahua.html
Mayur R. Mogre (2012): Comparative study between Automatic and Manual
transmission car, International conference on mechanical, Automobile and
Biodiesel Engineering, pp. 308-312
Population estimates, July 1, 2015, (V2015). Retrieved from
http://www.census.gov/quickfacts/table/PST045215/2039825

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Selander, H., Bolin, I., & Falkmer, T. (2012). Does Automatic Transmission
Improve Driving in Older Drivers? Gerontology, 58(2), 181-187.
doi:10.1159/000329769
The disappearing stick shift: Less than 3% of cars sold in the U.S. have manual
transmissions. (2016, November 10). Retrieved from
http://www.latimes.com/business/autos/laautoshow/la-fi-hy-disappearing-sti
ck-shift-20161115-story.html
Vollrath, M., Schleicher, S., & Gelau, C. (2011, January 13). The influence of
Cruise Control and Adaptive Cruise Control on driving behaviour A
driving simulator study. Retrieved from
http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0001457510004008
Warshawsky-Livne, L., & Shinar, D. (2002, March 13). Effects of uncertainty,
transmission type, driver age and gender on brake reaction and movement
time. Retrieved from
http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0022437502000063