Vehicle repair costs aren’t always black and white. Different makes and models, warranties and individual driving styles can all influence when a specific vehicle might need transmission work. While there is certainly room for debate, it is fair to say that automatic transmissions are generally more costly to repair than manuals. While repair costs might not be the most important deciding factor when looking for a new vehicle, it can be helpful to know what to expect. Here is a breakdown of the most significant transmission issues and price comparisons for both transmission types:

Manual Transmissions

On paper, manual transmissions are less costly to repair than automatic ones, due to their simplicity of design and function. However, when human driving style is considered, budget predictions may be out the window. Some manual car drivers may not have the best habits when changing the gears, and could be wearing out parts more frequently, accumulating greater costs along the way. Gears are easily grinded down over time with bad shifting habits. Improper use or overuse of the clutch can also mean more frequent replacement. While the cost to repair the most common issues of manual transmissions may not be as high as automatic ones, the frequency that they need repair may rack up more cost.

Automatic Transmissions

Thanks to their complex computer systems and parts, automatic transmissions are generally more costly to repair. The intricate system with hundreds of moving parts simply has more going on and more that can go wrong than a streamlined manual transmission. Repairs requiring more parts and more work will inevitably have a higher cost. The most common problems with automatic transmissions are typically with the complex computer systems that change gears themselves and may require specialized attention. Not all auto shops have advanced diagnostic systems to accurately identify these problems, which also contributes to higher repair costs.

Based on what kind of car you drive, this information may excite or scare you, but don’t take it too literally. Your individual driving style, specific make and model and warranties may strongly influence how often your car needs repair, or how much it will cost at that time.