For many people, road trips are a source of fun and entertainment. For others, they’re a necessity. Either way, when making road trips that consist of several hundred to several thousand miles, you need to make sure that your vehicle is equipped with the right transmission. It comes down to the age-old automatic vs manual transmission debate. Are automatic transmissions really better for long-distance road trips compared to manual transmissions?

Automatic Transmissions Offer Greater Ease of Use

Because you won’t be required to constantly shift gears, automatic transmissions are better in regards to user-friendliness. If you’re stuck in traffic, there’s nothing more annoying than continually having to up- or down-shift to keep up with the flow of cars around you. With automatic transmissions, you can simply sit back, press the throttle   and go!

Automatic Transmissions’ Fuel Economy is Just as Reliable As Manual Transmissions’

There seems to be a common misconception that manual transmissions get better fuel economy than automatic ones. In some cases, this is true. However, if you were to line up the wide spectrum of vehicles in the world today, you would find that the best manual transmissions and best automatic transmissions offer roughly the same fuel economy. For this reason, fuel economy isn’t really something to consider that much when determining which transmission is better for long-distance road trips.

Chances of Something Going Wrong

One of the primary benefits of a good working automatic vehicle is that the chances of the transmission breaking are relatively slim. When taking cross-country road trips, there’s no better peace of mind than knowing that your transmission is going to last the entire way.

Since manual transmissions incorporate some degree of human error (since there’s a person shifting and not a computer), there’s always a greater risk of damage accumulating in the transmission. All it takes is small accumulations of damage here and there to ruin an engine. For this reason, automatic transmissions are probably the best option for long-distance road trips.


Bottom line: automatic transmissions are highly recommended for long distance road trips. Most are durably built, they’re easy to fix, cheap to replace (if something goes wrong), and most of all, they don’t require you to consistently shift gears when stuck in traffic!


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