Published at Tuesday, 14 April 2020. manual car. By Ray Sarrazin.
Manual transmissions are usually cheaper to maintain and repair than automatics because the latter are far more complex and have more parts and functions that can fail, but it may depend on your driving style.
Cars need transmissions because of the physics of the gasoline engine. First, any engine has a redline — a maximum rpm value above which the engine cannot go without exploding. Second, if you have read How Horsepower Works, then you know that engines have narrow rpm ranges where horsepower and torque are at their maximum. For example, an engine might produce its maximum horsepower at 5,500 rpm. The transmission allows the gear ratio between the engine and the drive wheels to change as the car speeds up and slows down. You shift gears so the engine can stay below the redline and near the rpm band of its best performance.
The CVT does have its downsides; most notably, it can be sluggish to drive, since it’s engineered for efficiency rather than fun. However, as many drivers choose to move away from the manual transmission, which results in fewer manuals being offered, the CVT continues to increase its presence. The CVT also works best in small cars with small engines, which is why most trucks and large SUVs continue to use traditional automatics.
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