Cars Manual gearbox

Published on January 26th, 2020 | by Daniel Sherman Fernandez

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The Slow Death Of The Manual Gearbox

The manual gearbox will reach the end of its life when electric cars dominate our automotive landscape. Why? Well, pure electric driven cars do not need gearboxes. 

Love it or not, the electric driven vehicle revolution is coming to Malaysia and it is coming very soon. Yes, we have a big issue with the electric vehicle charging infrastructure, but this can be ‘pushed’ forward fast by our government when the time is right.

Manual car 3 pedal

With the 2019 National Automotive Policy pushing hard for the assembly of electric vehicle (EV) and the production of EV batteries in Malaysia we could see a jump in EV ownership by as much as 10,000 vehicles a year in the next 4-5 years. 

Meanwhile, traditionalists like us will keep our petrol, manual driven cars until further notice.

Yes, we are already seeing a huge drop in the sale of manual gearbox driven cars and this will soon be a product of the past. History, one for the ‘down memory lane’ archives.

Since the introduction in the 1950s, the automatic gearbox has been criticized for worse fuel economy, less reliability and greater repair complexity than the simple and easy manual gearbox. 

BHPetrol RON95 Euro 4M

Many car and driving enthusiasts consider the manual gearbox to be irreplaceable and this is true in our books. 

Even supercar manufacturer Ferrari does not even offer manual gearboxes anymore on their standard showroom cars. Only special edition limited models are offered to customers with a manual shifter.

One reason for this low demand could be a growing skills gap. Asking most drivers in Malaysia and around the world to drive a manual driven car and it will be like asking them to walk the tight rope across the KLCC towers. 

Driving a manual gearbox equipped car is a more engaging driving experience. Driving enthusiasts swear by it, saying even manumatic gearboxes cannot make up for the manual shifter and clutch. A manumatic is basically a manual gearbox with paddle-shifting, computer-controlled clutch and gear changes. Dual-clutch gearboxes fall into this category. Remember the issues with many car brands and their infamous dual clutch gearboxes that failed over and over….and over?

manual gearbox

Repair complexity is still an ongoing issue of automatics, too. With the right tools and parts, an experienced mechanic can rebuild a manual transmission, while automatic transmission repair is almost unheard of in professional auto repair shops. The automatics are too complicated and time consuming to work on, even for the professional service center head mechanic. It is easier to just dump the messed up auto box and install a new unit.

So, if you own and drive a manual driven car, please try and hold on to it if you can. 

If you own a manual driven car and have a teenager about to take their driving license, please get them to learn to drive a manual driven car and teach them yourself the joy of a manual driven car as the ‘driving school’ instructor is just a ‘robot’ guiding them with no passion for a ‘stick shift’!


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