You might not think it matters what kind of transmission your car has when you are pulling a boat, trailer, or something else big and heavy.
But towing with an automatic transmission may be very different from towing with a manual transmission.
If so, is a car with a manual transmission better for towing than one with an automatic one? What you need to know is listed below.
Automatic transmissions can pull more weight than manual transmissions. When you haul heavy loads with a manual, you have to change gears a lot. This puts extra stress on the gears and clutch, which causes them to wear out faster. If you want to pull heavy loads behind your car, an automatic is better than a manual.
When you look at different kinds of cars, like pickup trucks that are used to pull trailers, you’ll notice that automatic transmission cars can carry a lot more cargo than other cars.
So, if you plan to use your car for towing, you should get one with an automatic transmission.
Is a Manual Good for Towing?
Most of the time, a car with a manual transmission is not good for towing.
Even though there’s nothing stopping you from towing with a car with a manual transmission, doing so could damage the transmission.
When you try to pull a big load with a car that doesn’t have an automatic transmission, you put a lot more stress on the transmission than you do with an automatic transmission.
Even in the easiest towing situations, your car and its load will go up and down hills, speed up and slow down, and face other situations while on the road.
If you do this, you’ll have to keep shifting gears and pushing the clutch in and out with a manual transmission.
In fact, it’s likely that you’ll ride your clutch during the tow, even if you don’t do that when you’re driving normally.
When you have a lot of cargo, change gears often, and ride the clutch, you will eventually damage not only the clutch but also possibly the transmission.
Is it Hard to Tow with a Manual Transmission?
Most of the time, a car with a manual transmission will be harder to drive around town.
When you use a manual transmission, you will have to change gears and squeeze the clutch so much that your arm and leg will get tired. You will also be limited in how much cargo you can carry.
Because you will be pulling more weight behind your vehicle, it can be hard to find the right gear when you need it.
Also, some drivers who tow with manual transmissions say they have damaged their gearboxes and had to pay a lot to fix them.
If there’s one good thing about towing with a manual transmission, it’s that you might feel like you have more control over your load.
Since you can quickly shift down to slow down, this can help you ease through a tow with maybe a little more peace of mind behind the wheel.
Disadvantages to Towing with a Manual Transmission
When you try to pull a trailer with a manual transmission, you’ll often find that it’s not as easy as pulling a trailer with an automatic transmission.
First of all, you probably won’t be able to pull a large and heavy load of cargo.
Since manual transmission vehicles often have trouble with their gears and clutches when pulling heavy loads, most automakers have put strict limits on how much cargo can be pulled by a manual transmission vehicle.
Also, you won’t like towing with a manual transmission vehicle if you don’t like the idea of having to change gears and push the clutch in and out all the time.
You might also have a hard time figuring out which gear to be in depending on what you’re towing and the terrain you’ll be driving on.
In the end, all of this is likely to cause problems with your vehicle’s clutch and gearbox. This means that when you’re done towing, your car may need repairs that may be more expensive than you’d like.
Tips for Towing with a Manual Transmission
If you need to tow with a car that has a manual transmission, there are a few things you can do to make the process easier on you and your car.
First, you will always need to shift into a lower gear when towing uphill.
Even though this will make your tow vehicle move much more slowly, it will help keep your engine from overheating.
If you try to use lower gears as much as possible when towing, your gas mileage will improve, even if you have to go much slower than you would like.
When you use lower gears to slow down when towing with a manual transmission, you put less pressure on your brakes.
Even though your engine’s RPMs will go up when you shift down, the engine will work like a compressor to slow you down.
How Can I Protect a Manual Transmission While Towing?
There are some things you can do to protect your manual transmission so that it doesn’t have problems with the clutch or gears when you’re towing.
If you plan to tow big loads with your car often, you might want to make sure it has a transmission cooler.
If your car came with a towing package, it’s likely that it already has a transmission cooler under the hood. If it doesn’t, a transmission shop can put one in for you.
Most jobs cost about the same as the cooler, and it will help keep the transmission from getting too hot.
Another good way to protect your manual transmission when towing is to keep an eye on the RPMs of your vehicle.
If you’re impatient while towing and keep revving up your engine, your engine and transmission could overheat.
Patience will be a virtue in these situations for sure!
You should be able to find the best rhythm for shifting up and down that will get you to your destination without any transmission or engine problems. This may take a little trial and error.
Even though you’ll have to be much more careful when towing with a manual transmission, you’ve probably already figured out that if you do it right, you shouldn’t have any problems.
Using common sense will get you a long way in these situations, from downshifting to control your speed to going slower to avoid problems with your engine and transmission.
If you don’t go over the recommended cargo load for your vehicle, you should be able to get your load where it needs to go.