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Which transmission is best in the long run, up to 100K miles.

  • Automatic transmissions in general.

    Votes: 45 38.5%
  • Manual transmissions in general.

    Votes: 72 61.5%

  • Total voters
    117
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If I am the only driver of the car, I would choose the manual, and I would almost for sure be able to get 150,000 miles out of it. I am very easy on the clutch, and I do not make the synchro's work hard. Most significantly, when the transaxle has not come up to operating temp (and particularly so, with cool / cold ambient temps) I make my first few shifts of the day, from 1st to 2nd, at pretty near a walking pace. It never feels "notchy" to me, because the road-speeds I shift at (contingent on the temp of the lubricant) never are high enough for the "notch" to occur! I nurse it to operating temp.

So, I vote for the manual.

However, the other side of the coin is --what if you must have an automatic, 'cause your spouse / significant other cannot or will not drive a standard? Or what if you must tow a trailer (and incidentally, automatics are definitely superior for a trailer)?

Well, then my answer is: i) I want a fully conventional automatic; ii) I want a Toyota (there is simply NOT another vehicle mfr out there, that makes a more durable automatic than in a Toyota.... and particularly so for an '08 or older Corolla.

Also - iii) I have a microfilter (by NTZ) that is plumbed from the line out to the cooler, to the line back from the cooler. It acts as a bypass filter, and it drops the mean particle size for the so-called "swarf" down to 2 or 3 microns (this protects the valve bodies from scoring, with them most often being aluminum). And finally, I really believe in cooling an automatic. Heat, in idling, or heat, bucking a hill (particularly in high ambient temp conditions) does them in. Auxiliary coolers, in my mind, have merit.

Incidentally, I got a ride home from the airport, the other day, in a Taxi -- and I often ask the Taxi operators how they are doing with their cars. Taxi operators definitely select the least operating cost cars, to the extent that the Taxi commission rules allow them to. Prior to most taxis, in vancouver, being Prius's -- they were Corolla's. The taxi fellow told me that they drop the ATF in their Corolla's at about 18,000 or 20,000 miles, they never fit an auxiliary cooler -- and now, hear this: they routinely get about 350,000 miles out of Corolla transmissions!!! That's the proof in the pudding.
 

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Just as followup: My sense is that the automated manual in the Focus, or in the Fiesta (ie. the Ford Getrag Powershift) -- will NOT go the mileage. It say this, 'cause in reality, it is two manual transmissions in one...

The automated shifting does not double-clutch, like I do. The automated shifting does not, when cold, shift gears (initially) at a walking pace, like I do, to baby the transmission. Though to some degree, the programming will "help it" to operating temp, it is nothing like what I do, on my own manual transmission.

I predict that Powershifts will NOT go to 100,000 miles without problems.

This nonsense about not being able to operate in slow, walking-speed traffic, of course makes sense (when you realize it's an automated manual) -- but I'm 100% sure that most drivers do not adjust their speeds, and the "smartness" in moving off from a stop and the "no doddling" that they should do, when starting off, to suit this characteristic.

So, chatter they will, in urban traffic situations.

And no, they cannot be as smooth as I can, when I drive a manual....!
 

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Audi/VW have been building dual clutch DSG transmissions like the one in the Focus for quite a long time and there is no issue whatsoever going well over 100k with them.
 

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I don't think they were or are imune from problems. I think the initial ones were more performance oriented, and that some of the programming choices made resulted in less longevity. Then they softened the mix, and you cannot do what you originally were able to do, with the DSG (as I understand it). I have heard that the DSG is a good trans -- but it is a bear to fix, if it should go south. I'm not sure how the rebuild situation works with this trans... I don't think it is anything other than a factory-rebuild kind of trans; not just Joe Schmo's shop, down the road...
 

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I voted automatic as I have never had an automatic under 30 years old go out on me... But I feel I should remind people that if this poll is in regards to the transmissions offered in the 2012, it is a pointless poll. The reason I say this is because there is no automatic transmission in this Focus... There is a traditional manual or a dual clutch automated manual. The Power-Shift claims to be maintenance free for 150K miles because it is computer controlled to a T unless you play with Select-Shift and row your own... Then it becomes hit or miss in terms of longevity just like a standard manual. This hit or miss is determined by the driver and how they treat their shifts... As long as you shift right and stay smooth then a clutch going out/burning up early isn't likely. So really, either has the same chance of lasting forever, and the only reason I vote automatic is because of my never having an auto cause me trouble until age, not my driving, wore it down (daily operation from 1965 to 2008 in Texas is not easy on moving parts)...
 

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I don't think they were or are imune from problems. I think the initial ones were more performance oriented, and that some of the programming choices made resulted in less longevity. Then they softened the mix, and you cannot do what you originally were able to do, with the DSG (as I understand it). I have heard that the DSG is a good trans -- but it is a bear to fix, if it should go south. I'm not sure how the rebuild situation works with this trans... I don't think it is anything other than a factory-rebuild kind of trans; not just Joe Schmo's shop, down the road...
Any transmission on a newer car is a "bear to fix" manual or otherwise. A new clutch and master cylinder on my Audi costs over $1000.

Yes, the cheapest thing to fix is an older generation manual transmission, but we are talking about new cars here, no?
 

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In my 40 years of driving I have never had a transmission fail, manual or automatic. I typically keep vehicles 10 years or more and put over 200,000 miles on them.

This is not to say they have been totally trouble free. The manuals have had to have clutches replaced in the 150,000+ mile range and I did have a pressure plate release finger break on my Barracuda after approx. 20,000 miles. The autos have had have modulators changed and sensors replaced but nothing that left me stranded or required the tranny to be pulled.

I currently have (4) vehicles three with automatics, one with a 4spd manual. If I could only have one an automatic is much easier to live with.
 

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Any transmission on a newer car is a "bear to fix" manual or otherwise. A new clutch and master cylinder on my Audi costs over $1000.

Yes, the cheapest thing to fix is an older generation manual transmission, but we are talking about new cars here, no?
We are talking about new-generation cars and transmissions, yes. $1000 for a clutch and slave cylinder or clutch-master cylinder is cheap. However I daresay that if the DSG were to go out on on an Audi or VW product, it'd be $5000 - $7000 (or more) 'cause I'll bet that there are no automatic transmission shops around that can rebuild one. I contrast that with most 4 speed automatics, say... which might be more like $3500. Domestic iron is often a lot less.

Incidentally, I also would suggest that there are relatively few outfits in North America that know their way 'round even a manual 5 speed transaxle. Luckily, for Focus owners, Haines Motor Sports in MI is very well versed in the MTX-75, and likely has done iB5's (associated with '00 thru '04 Split Port Injection Focus').

Part of the cost, of course, is removal of the transaxle; oftentimes it means front subframe + steering rack removal, too... Lots of effort.
 

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We owned a 1986 Acura Integra, 5 spd manual,16 years, 289,000 miles never had a transmission or clutch issue.

Currently own a 1996 Toyota Rav4,5 spd manual, 211,000 miles no transmission issues, original clutch.

2007 Mustang GT, 5 spd manual, low miles but no trans issues.

2012 Focus SE, 5 spd manual, hopefully our good luck streak with manuals will continue.
 

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I think that part of the question cannot be answered because really it depends on how you drive your car. You could have a manual and beat the crap out of it and it might die at around 100k, or you could have an auto and have it last 150k+ if you're reasonably nice to it (as in, no racing or "jump starts" or "panic stops".

Now, to answer your question, my 2008 Focus had an automatic, and it went until 90k (then it got traded), but i never had to do anything to it. I did do a fluid change at 60k for preventative maintenance, which wasn't really required by Ford, but I did it anyway (but the car got traded before it hit 100k.... but I can tell you this: it is still being driven, because I see it in tow quite frequently--traded it at the local dealer for the 2010 Focus).

In my opinion, I think the autos tend to last longer, just simply because everything is automatic and you don't have to really worry about wearing out clutches or stuff like that. I always have had automatics in my car, just because the extra 2-3 MPG boost that I manual would give wasn't enough to make me change my mind. Over a car's lifetime, maybe it would come to some decent amount of money saved, but since have usually kept my cars until 100k or so and then get new ones, it really didn't make sense for me. Although, I guess manuals are cheaper to get, but I feel that in the end, it all works out about the same, when you consider replacing clutches, etc.

Let me put it this way, one of my first cars was a 1995 Ford Taurus. It had an automatic, and it ran until 190k (bought it with 90k on it--this was my "high school/college" car) until one of the trans mounts broke. But 190k is a fair amount of miles (at least, in the day). Nowadays, 190k is in some instances, normal for many cars made in the last 5 years or so). Point being, it partially depends on how you treat your transmission. You can kill them before they hit 100k if you're not careful, and yet many of them can run to well over 200-250k without problems-- my friend's 2001 Ranger has almost 170k on it and his trans (an automatic) still runs very well--all original parts.
 

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in my personal opion manual is the way to go. ive owned 7 automatic vehicles and had 2 transmissions completly fail and have 1 one its way out. one was a dodge ram at somewhere around 200k and the other was my 96 tbird at around 155k and my focus is slipping and making some nasty noises at around 92k but i do have a tit bit of a lead foot. ive owned 3 manuals 42 ford 00 sportage and 87 toyota. never had any problems with the manual transmissions except a little clutch chatter with the 42, but what do you expect from a 69 year old car. will be swapping my focus over to manual as soon as i start driving my 96 contour i just got thats also manual. i like driving the car not having the car drive me.
 

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One trans that I've experienced going bad was in a company truck we had that was a 93 F350. Had the diesel engine (I think it was a 7.3L or an 8L) but it had the automatic trans. We went through about 4 transmissions in about 5 years (luckily they were all covered under warranty--and the reason was because it couldn't take the torque). Finally, the 5th transmission worked--and it worked until the truck was sold, with about 250k on it).

Other than that (and my 2012 Focus) I haven't had any other problems with transmissions. And the only reason the trans was going in my Taurus was because it had almost 200k on it and the trans mounts were cracked so it would shake the entire car (which I guess isn't a good thing for a car/engine/transmission).
 

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In general, manual.

On this car...can't say for sure.

I've driven manual cars my entire life and usually it's much better because you get better gas mileage, more control, makes you feel like the car is better than it is (although some of mine were American muscle...so they're meant to feel like that lol), and lowers the cost of repairs/maintenance if you know how to drive correctly.

I've had cars for 8 years (still have one, 2003 Mustang GT 4.6L V8 SC) that have never needed a clutch replacement...and yet there are people that claim they know how to drive stick that have to replace their clutch every 2 years.

On the other hand, I bought an automatic Focus. Why? Better gas mileage and the double-clutch system. I've driven cars with a double-clutch system in the past and I love the driving experience. And now that I'm getting a bit more age around my eyes I've realized I'm lazy and would rather be able to drive and have a drink (pepsi) than have to always think about shifting while I'm thirsty.
 

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I voted manual although I currently drive an automatic. Simpler has got to be more reliable. If you know how to drive, wear and tear on the clutch should be manageable.
 

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in my experience manuals are far better and more trust worthy and take more of a beating. ive had 4 automatic transmissions and all of them have failed and all of them have been ford. overall conclusion if u dont drive a certain way they fail
 

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My previous car ('05 Toyota Corolla) had an automatic transmission failure at 60k miles. It cost nearly $5k to fix it, hence the '12 Focus. I'm confident that the manual trans in my Focus will last longer than 60k.
 

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I like manuals, just can't drive them anymore, so I'm glad there are other options so I can still drive a car! Manuals are fun to drive, but most cars at the drag strip are automatics now, as they produce much more consistent times. And FTR, power shifting a manual is not abuse, it's just limiting clutch slippage! [hihi]
 

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manuals of course.. Almost all cars in Europe are standards, with Autos being a rare option. only place to have mostly Autos with some cars not even optioned in the stick the the US.. with the Wussimatics, or Lazymatics.... to me with the exception of people needing it due to medical or other issues, all cars should be a STICK
 
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