How Driving Schools Are Impacting Manual Gear Boxes

In this blog, we have written previously about the trend of automatic transmissions becoming ever more common, gradually replacing the manual gearbox option.

There has been an assumption that things may level out, at least for a while, and that while automatics will increase in popularity, manuals will still retain a big corner of the market.

However, one factor that is easy to forget is the role of driving schools. Driving schools control what the next generation of drivers learn on, they influence future demand.

Credit here must go to AutoExpress who write an interesting post on this topic.

As many readers will know from personal experience, you typically have a choice. If you want to drive manual cars in future, you learn on a manual. Pretty much every driving school has cars with manual transmissions, the three pedals we are used to, and so this is easy enough to arrange.

For those who envisage driving only automatic transmissions, they can learn on this option. Many teenagers have parents who now have automatic cars so it makes little sense perhaps bothering to learn the manual clutch and gear system.

The key is there is a choice.

However, driving schools tend to have a relatively new fleet of cars, so what happens as they replace their old cars with newer models?

What happens as they increasingly turn to electric vehicles, hybrids and options that use automatic transmission. There is a strong likelihood that over the next few years, many driving schools will go from having mostly manual cars, to a split, to very few to, finally, perhaps none at all.

Manual transmissions may be the outliers in their fleet of cars. The driving schools might encourage learners to learn on automatic transmissions – it is one less thing to teach, it is also perhaps a choice that makes some sense for the future as fewer cars on the road will have the traditional gearbox.

Those who already have their driving licence can choose what to drive because when they learnt, it was mainly manuals. Many of us will think back and recall that it wasn’t really a choice at all. Learning on a manual was the default and, because of that, we have had manuals ever since.

This trend is being broken in many ways.

Manufacturers are increasingly ditching the manuals – though less so in the UK than in some other nations. Families are turning to automatics and hybrid and electric options in increasing numbers, this influencing what their kids then drive.

And, this extra area to consider, the driving schools will have an impact too. Perhaps not yet in great numbers, but increasingly.

What does this mean for those of us who love manuals?

It perhaps means that choices will become more limited in years to come, as demand drops, manufacturers will focus on them less.

Perhaps it also means buying with care, if you want a manual, buy one that will last, and take care of it as it may be that when you next come to buy manuals are few and far between.

On the taking care front, we can help – if you will excuse a plug. It is our own blog after all!


At North West Transmissions we repair gearboxes or source replacement with guaranteed refurbished units.

A family-run business, we have a truly superb reputation, this shown by our 4.9 out of 5 average rating from dozens of reviews on Google.

All reconditioned gearboxes come with guarantees for 12 months or 12,000 miles while reconditioned automatic units come with a re-manufactured torque converter that has a lifetime guarantee.

Our technicians are all highly skilled with vast experience in reconditioning and repairing all units – importantly their efficiency helps cut down the price of repairs and so too the cost.

Gearbox problems are all-too common. If you find yourself in need of a repair or reconditioned unit, that often being the more economical option in the long term, please contact us.

Call us on 0151 933 0257 or use our Contact Form.