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Why manual transmissions are STILL better than automatics off-road.

Many many automotive purists say manual transmissions are better than automatics, and they can provide more fun on driving experience. The manuals were used to be faster, better and more fuel-efficient than automatics, but technologies march on, and the evolution of automatics spawned variably different types, from dual-clutch, continuously-variable, or sequential, the modern-day (semi-)automatic transmissions have knocked down manuals when it comes to most things, like auto-racing and modern supercars.

However, plot twist. Despite the advancement of automatic transmissions, they work worse, off-road, compared to manual transmissions. Many off-road purists still recommend manual transmissions, and here are very reasons manuals are ALWAYS better than automatics off-road.


1) You can survive on dirty jungles with sticks.

Many automatic trannies have electronically-assisted systems, and most are very prone to exposure to dirt, snow and external substances. There are more chance you can hurt an automatic tranny with dirt, flood water, or some sort of sickening substances that is present off-road. Manuals, on other hand, has almost-zero electronic assistances, and even with the third pedal to step, manuals survive much better off-road than automatics. (We’re not talking about stalling here.) Even on rock-crawling, automatics can get crashed hard, and you have lost your bank account for this.


2) Sticks are dirt-cheap to fix.

Maintenance-wise, manuals who suffered off-road bruising or sinking can be relatively cheap to repair, providing you have a good income to do the sticky fix. Automatics, however, can cost you a bank account, since replacing a damaged part from an automatic transmission can be an enormous ticket. You may sell your house and lose your bank account for using automatics off-road. Be warned.


3) Keep low gear on crawling? Nice.

If you have a stick, you can shift down to first (or second) gear when crawling, providing more torque and rpm on the go. Especially on rock crawling. It may stall your engine if you’re not careful, but if you master it, stick shifts destroy the rocks more easily with keeping lower gears from automated disruption. Automatics can run rock crawling, but in early models, automatics can always screw up the torque distribution with automated gear-changing, and may stall the car out of it.


And oh, manuals give better towing off-road. It’s possible to tow in an automatic, but it’s harder to do.

In conclusion, the difference between automatics and manuals aren’t as huge as they were 20-years ago, especially on tarmac, tracks and drag strips, but the largest differences come to off-roading where manuals still reign supreme in terms of advantages.


Sorry if I come off as rude, but I am not a general purist, just an off-road purist. You can argue on this kind of purist who prefers sticks for jungles, but this is my opinion. I will post a non-purist view later.

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