Opinions on Automatic driving lessons

warmguiness

Active member
I have taken driving lessons on and off for the past 15 years but have never got to test standard. I think the main reason for this is because I just can't seem to get the hang of gears.

During lockdown I've been thinking how much easier life would be if I could drive, so I've decided to start taking lessons again.

I think I would like to try taking automatic lessons so that the stress of the gears is gone, but I'm worried that I might regret it later. As a non-driver I'm a bit concerned that there may be some pitfalls that I haven't considered.

So the question is if you have taken automatic lessons do you have any regrets? Should I give auto lessons a try, or keep at the manual and just hope the gears click?
 

lifestooshort123

Active member
I've had a 'manual' driving licence for 50 years and have been driving an automatic for 15 years out of choice. Less stressful in traffic = driving an armchair! I would think it might be awkward if you want to hire a car abroad as autos are more expensive and not as common but can't really think of anything else (having a company car in the future perhaps?). I would think that once you are a confident driver you could do the manual one as an add on but could be wrong! Having a licence of any description widens your options.
 

Sukysue

Well-known member
My step neice failed her manual test 6 times. In the end she went for an automatic and passed first time in it . I say go for it & Good luck !
 

Chattypickle

Well-known member
Go for it! I’ve a manual license, but now drive a hybrid so that’s effectively automatic. Cars will go that way because of electric etc.

It’s really not going to slow you down. If it ever becomes an issue, then you can sit a manual test- it will be easier because By then you’ll have the road experience to focus on just the gears.
 

NotSorry

Well-known member
I have a manual licence and have driven automatics my whole driving life (35 years) - go for it OP
 

Fin

Well-known member
What everyone else said, go for it. I have a manual driving licence but have been driving automatics for 20 years, I will never go back to manual.
 

Nelly

Well-known member
I have an manual license, took my test and passed at age 17, I have driven an automatic car for the last 16 years, it is so much easier.

I had to drive Mr Nelly‘s car for its service way back in February, that is a manual, I hated every minute of it.

If I was taking lessons today, I would take lessons/test in an automatic.
 

Kitty

Member
I only drive auto now but it is useful to be able to drive a manual if you need to borrow a vehicle or whatever. sometimes I can’t get auto curtesy cars so get a manual which is annoying. However, I wouldn’t let that stop you. Whatever is easier. Nothing stopping you doing manual later on.
 
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warmguiness

Active member
Thank you for all the opinions :)

It seems like the consensus is to go for it, so I'm going to start researching local driving schools and hopefully soon booking some lessons.

I'm thinking if I want to do a manual test in the future that's still an option and as Chatty said it may be slightly easier once I have road experience.
 

Penguin

Well-known member
I passed, first time, back in the dark ages, in a manual. Since then, I've mostly driven manual, but now have a new (to me, but ancient 03 plate, free because it's trashed by my FIL, SIL and niece!) automatic. Oh my god it's so much easier! Especially in traffic, none of that farting around or stalling because you've forgotten which gear you're in. We've only got it because Mr P pinched my very nice estate car, and I need a car I can get the dog in.

Having a car means freedom. I cannot describe how pissed off I've been not having 'my' car, even though I can drive both of the young penguins cars it's not the same, I'm always thinking I have to get back because they need their car to get to work. Also, it's not possible to get a Labrador in a Citroen C1 or C2!!
 

Cinders

Well-known member
Why are you getting a car? To get from A to B, for freedom....it’s a no brainer, if an auto license is a means to that, why not!!
 

Millie

Well-known member
If you're not able to pass in a manual, then there's no problem at ALL in passing in an auto. Much of driving is about having the confidence to go on the roads/motorways/big one way systems in towns and cites etc...

All I will say is that in my experience, auto cars seem to be more expensive than manuals. Purely anecdotal, but Mr Millie was desperate for an auto several years ago (after 30 years of driving a manual.) We had a budget of £4500-£5000 at the time for it, and could only get a 2003/2004 auto for that (in the model he wanted.) So a 13-14 year old car for £4,500K.

When he eventually decided to settle for a manual, we were able to get a 7 year old car for £3,750..... 7 years newer, and £750 less than the auto! Also with only 53,000 miles... The 13-14 year old autos he was looking at had 80,000 to 90,000 miles on the clock.
 

1eyedcoot

Well-known member
What is it that you can't get to grips with?

Would it be worth trying another instructor, a female one, explain the problem and as if you can have a lesson in getting to grips with the first three gears? (The rest are only is you are getting faster)
 

CrochetCookies

Well-known member
We have a automatic Seat Alhambra. My husband and I both can drive manual, it was just that when we were looking at Alhambras it was an automatic. Honestly we both really love it. It's perfect for our large car as it's much easier for me to concentrate on steering/positioning and not worry about gears too. It makes for very easy long drives as well. I would absolutely consider an automatic for my little town car when the time comes.

If it's the difference between passing and not passing, I'd say it's definitely better to have a driving licence.
 
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warmguiness

Active member
What is it that you can't get to grips with?

Would it be worth trying another instructor, a female one, explain the problem and as if you can have a lesson in getting to grips with the first three gears? (The rest are only is you are getting faster)
This makes me sound so thick but I struggle with all aspects of the gears, when to change, how to change smoothly while still paying attention to the road and remembering where all the gears are.

My last instructor was brilliant and really tried to help me by explaining the mechanics of the gearbox and spending hours just concentrating on gear changes but it just doesn't seem to click.
My friends that drive manuals have all said gears just suddenly clicked for them, but I don't know if it's worth spending more money on manual lessons in the hope that I'll eventually get to grips with the gears.

I think maybe the fact I've had a few different instructors may have hindered my gear changing skills as they all had a very different approach to teaching and had different gear configurations.

I think I'm going to give auto lessons a try because I've realised anything that can get me from A to B without waiting at a bus stop will be an improvement on my current situation, and I don't want to throw good money after bad on more manual lessons.

Thanks to all of you for the help and opinions :)
 
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