Rental companies have certainly made life much easier for tourists and travelers by providing temporary access to rental cars. The car rental industry is one of the most important industries worldwide, and rental companies try as much as possible to meet the needs of renters.
Research has shown that many renters actually prefer manual cars to automatic cars even though the former’s popularity has significantly dwindled.
With this in mind, this article will focus on finding answers to whether rental cars in America are automatic or manual.
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Here’s the Short Answer to Whether American Rental Cars Are Automatic Or Manual:
The truth is, most rental cars in the United States are automatic, and companies usually do not offer manual transmission cars. This is reflective of the general situation in the auto market, where only about 10-13% of cars have manual transmission.
Do Car Rental Companies Always Have Both Automatic and Manual Cars?
In all honesty, if you were to walk into a random rental company today, chances that you’ll find a manual transmission vehicle are down to zero. Most, if not all, rental companies only offer automatic vehicles, and the ones who rent out manual vehicles have strict rules and limitations guiding the rent.
The major reason rental companies do not offer manual cars is largely due to what the numbers show about Americans’ preferences. A study by CarMax revealed that 96% of Americans have strictly automatic vehicles, which is an overwhelming majority.
These numbers are exactly why rental companies just do not bother about having manual transmission vehicles on their fleets.
Also, due to the decades-long phasing out of manual vehicles, not many people can drive manual cars or handle stick shifts. In consideration of this, rental companies decided it would be bad for business if renters couldn’t drive the manual cars on their fleets.
So, the truth is, you can only count on rental companies to have automatics on their fleet. On the off chance that you do find a rental company offering a manual car, you are likely to be hit with a plethora of restrictions. According to AutoSlash:
• They are usually offered for a limited duration as a test of some sort
• Companies do not allow the use of rental cars for manual transmission/stickshift training.
• Taxes are usually very high
• You may not be able to rent a manual car if it’s a one-way rental
If you absolutely have to rent a manual transmission car, we advise notifying AutoSlash to track one for you. However, don’t get your hopes up.
Is It Cheaper to Rent Cars With Manual Or Automatic Gear?
Manual transmission vehicles, where available, usually go for cheaper rental rates. That’s largely because they are not in high demand and the rental companies that have them are always willing to rent them out.
However, this is more of an assumption than a fact because, as we mentioned before, it’s very rare to find a manual rental car. So, in some other places, the companies could decide to profit off your desperation and raise the rates.
Why Is It More Expensive to Rent a Car With Manual Gear?
As we mentioned before, automatic cars are usually more expensive to rent than manual cars due to the high demand for the former. However, in places where manual cars are more expensive, it’s likely the case that the companies are taking advantage of the scarcity to inflate the prices.
If a rental company is offering to rent a manual car at ridiculous rates, we advise settling for an automatic if you can cope with it. Having manual preferences is just fine; however, we believe it shouldn’t come at ridiculously high cost as that’s equivalent to a rip-off.
What’s the Cost to Exchange a Manual Car for an Automatic?
If you are looking to swap a manual car for an automatic one, there are outlets that make that possible. All you need to do is prepare to splash some money.
Switching from a manual car to an automatic one is a very smart and welcome move. The move pretty much allows you to let go of stick shifts and save yourself the extra amount of energy spent on shifting gears. With this move, the car basically just does all of that for you.
Switching costs vary and, according to Motor Biscuit, cost ranges between $1,000 to $3,000.
What’s the Cost to Exchange an Automatic Car for a Manual?
While the overwhelming majority is into automatics, a number of Americans still prefer manual vehicles. They like the feel of having full control of their own cars without having a system do it for them.
For such people, driving an automatic car can be quite frustrating. The goodness, however, is that you can exchange automatic cars for manual ones. You could also just swap the parts for a cost ranging from $1000 to $3,000.
However, we must mention that a lot of work goes into this, and you may even have to spend a lot more than the rough estimate above. Also, most experts advise against these swaps, and they claim it’s just better to get a new manual car.
However, if you think you really have to make the exchange, we advise having an expert oversee the process, as it is very delicate.
FYI: According to MotorBiscuit, automatic to manual swaps are common with models like Honda Civic, Toyotas, Ford Mustang, and Chevy Camaro.