It’s no secret that the number of manual cars is slowly decreasing in America. While that might upset people who love the feel of a stick shift, it’s hard to deny the fact that automatics are easier to drive. A large portion of the population doesn’t even know how to use a manual anymore. Because of these reasons, someone who knows how to drive a stick will sometimes have to make the compromise and go with an automatic.
However, if you’re not in a position to buy a new car that you can share with your family, you might be wondering if switching a car from manual to automatic is even a possibility. Well, the short answer is that it’s totally possible. However, it’s a bit complicated, which we’ll cover in this article.
When Should You Make the Switch?
Let’s start by covering the fact that just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should. If your car is on its last leg, putting in a brand-new transmission will almost certainly be a waste of money. If it breaks down a few months later, you have a barely used transmission that you’ll need to figure out what to do with.
There’s a similar issue when your car is like new too. Your car’s manual transmission will be in pristine condition, and now you want to put in a new automatic one instead. If you can find a buyer for your manual, it might be worth it, but it’ll be a waste of money most of the time.
The best time to replace your stick shift with an automatic is when you already need a new transmission. Just make sure you know how to tell when your transmission needs replacing so that you can make the switch as soon as possible. However, any time during the middle of your vehicle’s lifespan will work.
Can You Do It Yourself?
Technically, you can do almost any vehicle repair on your own, so yes, you can switch your car’s manual transmission to an automatic. Still, we’d only recommend it if you have some experience in that area. This type of transition is pretty difficult. You’ll need a broad set of mechanic tools at your disposal and some experience with electrical wiring.
More often than not, it’s best to take this task to an official mechanic. If you don’t already have a trusted one that you usually go to for repairs, you’ll want to know what to keep in mind to ensure the best service possible. If they know what they’re doing, they could have your vehicle back to you in as little as 24 hours.
Is It Worth It in the End?
Now that we’ve covered the details, you might be wondering if this transition is actually worth it in the end. Usually, the answer to this would be no, but if you are determined enough, it’s certainly possible. Just know that even though you’ll be saving money on not buying a new car, you’ll still need to buy quite a few new parts. These include the automatic transmission and a new flywheel, which can be costly. Plus, you’ll be without a car for a while, especially if you do it on your own, so be aware of that as well.
Van Rundell is a writer and author who specializes in transportation, travel, guidance, health & fitness. With over 10 years of experience in the industry as a driver and an entrepreneur, he has seen it all. His tone is professional but friendly with a dash of humor thrown in for good measure. In past, he has been advising, educating and writing about transport for the public and professionals alike.
A qualified fitness instructor with over 5 years’ experience as a personal trainer and group fitness instructor, Van brings his deep knowledge of health and exercise science to his articles on health & fitness.