What's the difference between manual and automatic transmission?

Most people are familiar with manual cars. Traditionally, they've been the most common type of transmission in the UK. But in recent years, automatic cars have become more popular. This might be partly because people are buying more electric cars, which are automatic.

Manual transmission

Manual cars have a clutch pedal and a gear stick which usually has 5 gears.

To change gear, you press the clutch pedal down. That temporarily disconnects the engine from the transmission. You then select the next gear using the gear stick and release the clutch.

Automatic transmission

In automatic cars, the gearbox picks the right gear for the car's speed without the driver having to do anything. It automatically disconnects the engine from the road wheels while changing gear.

Automatic cars don't have a clutch pedal or a gear stick. But they do have a shifter, which lets you choose between park, reverse, neutral and drive.

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