automatic gearboxes vs. manual ones

Hello,
I hope this isn't a flame or a FAQ but what are the pros and cons of
automatic and manual gearboxes? I've only ever driven manual cars
before. I've just been on holiday and rented a car which was
automatic. I get the impression that Britain is the only county that
drives manual cars; is that true? Why?
I found the automatic a pleasure to drive. The only problem I had was
that if I went up along a motorway slip road I would put my foot down
to accelerate to motorway speed and the gearbox would drop a couple of
gears and rev loudly. I really wanted it to stay in the gear it was in
and accelerate. If I approached a hill I would press the gas to
counter the gradient and the same thing happened. I am used to driving
a sluggish diesel, so perhaps I was heavy footed? Was it my fault or
is this a "feature" of an automatic gearbox to do this?
How should they be driven properly? I wasn't given much instruction!
I have spoken to some people who think they are "something else to go
wrong". Is that true? Are they prone to break? I guess they are
expensive to repair?
What is the life of an auto gearbox? Is it better than a manual
gearbox and clutch? I wonder whether the reverse is true: is a manual
more likely to wear out or fail because it can be driven badly,
whereas does an auto change more smoothly and gently?
I see that autos have a slightly lower fuel economy. Why is that? Is
the gearbox/gear changing not as efficient or is it that the auto
gearbox is much heavier than a manual and weighs the car down?
Finally, is there such a thing as a diesel automatic?
(Thinking of changing my car and weighing up the gearbox options)
TIA
Reply to
Fred
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Fred gurgled happily, sounding much like they were saying:
No. The US is predominately autobox, most other countries are a mix.
Press the loud pedal less hard, then.
No, changing gear automatically is definitely a feature of an autobox.
This, and many of the rest of your questions have already been answered in this thread. Have you thought about reading it?
An autobox's life can be less, yes. OTOH, it may not be very much more - and whilst the labour to replace an autobox is the same as to replace a clutch (usually - a clutch can be a lot less work) a clutch is MUCH cheaper than an autobox. Manual 'boxes very rarely fail unless thoroughly abused.
You really HAVEN'T read this thread, have you?
Reply to
Adrian
Adrian gurgled happily, sounding much like they were saying:
My apologies. Not this thread. The very similar one going on over in uk.rec.driving at the mo.
Reply to
Adrian
In article ,
It will decide which is the best gear to use for the performance you want. Using lots of throttle in a high gear may well not be the most economical or best way of accelerating.
It's a common complaint - 'it changed down when I didn't want it too'. But if you have one (older) which doesn't change down unless you floor it you'd find that even more frustrating.
Reply to
Dave Plowman (News)
In article , Fred says...
Early ones were shit and coupled up to gutless engines to produce a truly horrific experience. It then became the mindset that auto=crap.
It's supposed to. It is called "kickdown".
Press pedal to go to the speed you want and let the box do the rest.
They usually break due to lack of servicing and checking fluid levels.
It'll far exceed the life of a clutch on a manual, especially in town.
Big sod off torque converter full of fluid to move about.
Yes. Pretty much most articulated HGVs are now automatics with manual being an option.
Reply to
Conor
Conor gurgled happily, sounding much like they were saying:
"Sealed for life"
I think he may have been thinking of something a little smaller...
Reply to
Adrian
In article ,
First UK auto was Rolls Royce. And they used the same 4 speed box for 15 years or so. Autos were very rare on small engined cars although they did exist. Most base their comments on autos through first driving some old clunker - there were quite a few smallish engined cars with 3 speed autos that performed ok. Those where the makers fitted an engine of one size up to the norm for the class. I can think of an HB Vauxhall auto using a 1600 engine - quite lively. Marina 1800 too. I had a 2 litre auto Capri bought as a stopgap at auction, and that was fine.
Reply to
Dave Plowman (News)
If you're lucky, if you're unlucky you'll own a Renault (or Ford), their auto-boxes are well known for having short lives. A mate had a Renault Kangoo auto, it had 2 auto-boxes before it hit 70k miles....
Reply to
Tony (UncleFista)
In article ,
That's why I specifically mentioned the 1800 - a much larger engine than the norm for that size car with plenty of torque. Didn't get round all the other Marina design faults - but that part of it was very successful.
Reply to
Dave Plowman (News)
In article ,
I was on a new single decker the other day - a Ken Livingstone special which kneels down at the front to allow easy access for old folk, etc, and counted 5 gear changes from rest to 30. Very smooth too. Illuminated signs - and a voice - telling you the next stop. Most impressive. Must have cost a fortune. Thank you, congestion charge payers.
Reply to
Dave Plowman (News)
Yep, that's announcement system has been standard for about a year now. I take London busses when down in the smoke on my occasional pub crawls and they have even added aircon to the new busses around SE London and presumably all over town. The voice system is called ibus
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Can be handy, but must send the drivers insane as it repeats "176, to, Tottenham Crt Rd" every time the door is closed. Mark
Reply to
Mark
Having read the thread, I have one addition and one question:
The combination is the cornerstone of Mercedes reputation.
Can I ask if auto boxes wear out brakes faster? My understanding of them as a passenger is that as soon as you let go of the throttle the revs go down to idle, thus the car only uses the brakes to decelerate.
Thanks,
Kostas
Reply to
Kostas Kavoussanakis
Kostas Kavoussanakis gurgled happily, sounding much like they were saying:
Not to idle, but the torque converter (unless it's locked - as in the higher gears of most even vaguely modern boxes) will allow the revs to drop as the torque requirement drops.
You can always just manually select a lower gear if you want more engine braking. Just like in a manual.
Reply to
Adrian
[...]
That's why I don't get autos. For them to do what I want requires manual intervention.
Kind of defeats the object from my POV.
Chris
Reply to
Chris Whelan

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