Learn to Drive Automatic or Manual Car – which is best

Learn to drive automatic or manual car – which is best? In the UK the majority of learner drivers are taught in a manual car (manual & automatic refer to the type of gear change mechanism). Because the majority of used cars for sale have a manual gearbox and automatic cars are more expensive to buy and maintain. Passing a driving test in an automatic car will only allow the driver to drive automatics. Passing a test in a manual car, enables the driver to drive both type of car – manual and automatic. Those are the facts! Now here are the myths.

Learn to Drive Automatic car

New drivers who are disabled or come from a country where automatic cars are predominant have a reason to learn to drive in an automatic car.

In the UK a new driver is often influenced by others – including their driving instructor into learning to drive in an automatic. I have been teaching for 41 years and never advised a new driver to swap to an automatic car, despite teaching pupils who were disabled.

Learn to drive automatic. Grow model for learner drivers
GROW Model

A professional driving instructor who suggests a new driver should learn to drive in an automatic car, because they are struggling. Is not for the benefit of the student, it’s because it’s hard work for the instructor. An instructor in this situation should find another way of helping this particular student. The instructor should consider the needs of the student first.

Pupils that leave their instructor because they were told they would never learn to drive, specially in a manual car. May have been misinformed. At instructor training college I was taught to teach anyone to drive who wanted to. I’ve never veered from that statement. Perseverance by both instructor and pupil can get excellent results.

Learn to Drive in a shorter time

Learning to drive in a shorter time with an automatic is sometimes the reason a new driver swaps from a manual car. I have come across this question often, “My friend / instructor said I would learn to drive in a shorter time. If I learned in an automatic.” My answer, “What problem are you having with the gears?” student replies “None, I was just told it would save time”.

There are no shortcuts when learning to drive. But you can shorten the time by booking an intensive driving course.
Take a look at basic manual car control
Courses for nervous learner drivers

Driving Tests Ban Vauxhall Corsa

Any Vauxhall Corsa registered from May 2014 will be banned from use on driving tests unless a certificate is produced from a reputable garage. A major steering problem exists with this model and all owners have been asked by Vauxhall to return their cars for inspection and/or rectification where necessary.

Driving examiners have been instructed not to carry out driving tests in the Corsa unless a safety certificate is presented at the time of the test.

Vauxhall Corsa 2014
Vauxhall Corsa 2014

Other vehicles banned from being used on a driving test are listed below:

Proof

You can’t use any of the cars listed below unless you bring proof that states:

  • the car was recalled and the recall work has been done
  • the car was recalled but didn’t need any work to be done
  • the car wasn’t part of the recall

The proof must be in 1 of the following forms:

  • the actual recall letter or safety notice that has been stamped by the manufacturer or dealer
  • written proof from the manufacturer or a dealer (on official or headed notepaper)

Your test will be cancelled and you could lose your fee if you don’t bring the right proof.

Ford

Fiesta

Reason for recallVehicles affectedRecall issue dateDVSA reference number
Faulty seat belt mechanismSome models built between 1989 and 1990 (‘F’ to ‘H’ registration plates)18 Mar 1996
Faulty brake hosesSome models built between Jul 1995 and Jun 1996 (‘M’ to ‘P’ registration plates)12 Feb 2008COB 8/98, 10/98, 11/98, 14/98

Honda

Jazz, CR-V, Stream, Civic Coupe

Reason for recallVehicles affectedRecall issue dateDVSA reference number
Potentially defective passenger airbagSome models built between 11 Jul 2000 and 13 Aug 2003 (‘W’ to ‘53’ registration plates)11 Apr 2013COB 02/2013

Mazda

6

Reason for recallVehicles affectedRecall issue dateDVSA reference number
Potentially defective passenger airbagSome models built between 14 Feb 2002 and 20 Apr 2003 (‘51’ to ‘03’ registration plates)11 Apr 2013COB 02/2013

121

Reason for recallVehicles affectedRecall issue dateDVSA reference number
Faulty brake hosesSome models built in 1998 (‘R’ to ‘S’ registration plates)13 Feb 1998COB 9/98, 14/98

Nissan

Nissan Almera, Almera Tino, Terrano, Navara, Patrol and X-Trail

Reason for recallVehicles affectedRecall issue dateDVSA reference number
Potentially defective passenger airbagSome models built between 22 May 2001 and 6 Jun 2003 (‘Y’ to ‘03’ registration plates)11 Apr 2013COB 02/2013

Pathfinder (imported vehicles only)

Reason for recallVehicles affectedRecall issue dateDVSA reference number
Potentially defective passenger airbagSome models built between 22 May 2001 and 6 Jun 2003 (‘Y’ to ‘03’ registration plates)11 Apr 2013COB 02/2013

Peugeot

107

Reason for recallVehicles affectedRecall issue dateDVSA reference number
Accelerator pedal may fail to return to idleSome models registered from Feb 2008 to Aug 2009 (‘08’ to ‘09’ registration plates)3 Feb 2010COB 04/2010

206

Reason for recallVehicles affectedRecall issue dateDVSA reference number
Faulty brake linkageSome models (excluding Station Wagon (SW)) built between Sept 1998 and Feb 2002 (‘S’ to ‘51’ registration plates)11 Dec 2003COB 30/03

Renault

Clio ll (mark two) and Campus

A current MOT certificate is acceptable evidence for the Renault Clio ll (mark 2) and Campus only.

Reason for recallVehicles affectedRecall issue dateDVSA reference number
Faulty bonnet catchAll models3 May 2007COB 46/07

Toyota

Yaris

Reason for recallVehicles affectedRecall issue dateDVSA reference number
Faulty headrests and or side airbag deploymentSome models built between 4 Nov 2005 and 31 Jul 2006 (‘55’ to ‘56’ registration plates)2 Feb 2007COB 47/2007
Potentially defective seat rail track and/or steering column mountingSome models built between June 2005 and May 2010 (‘05’ to ‘10’ registration plates)9 April 2014COB 02/2014

Auris, Avensis, Aygo (MMT or VSC), Verso and Yaris

Reason for recallVehicles affectedRecall issue dateDVSA reference number
Accelerator pedal may fail to return to idleSome models built between 2 Jan 2009 and 1 May 2010 (‘58’ to ‘60’ registration plates)3 Feb 2010COB 04/2010

Corolla, Picnic, Yaris, Camry, Avensis, Avensis Verso, Lexus SC4300

Reason for recallVehicles affectedRecall issue dateDVSA reference number
Potentially defective passenger airbagSome models built between 6 Jan 2001 and 15 Nov 2003 (‘X’ to ‘53’ registration plates)11 Apr 2013COB 02/2013

Vauxhall

Corsa, Combo and Tigra

Reason for recallVehicles affectedRecall issue dateDVSA reference number
Faulty driver and front passenger seat belt locking mechanismSome models built in 1999 and 2000 (‘S’ to ‘X’ registration plates)10 Jan 2005COB 11/01, 15/01, 03/05

Corsa D

Reason for recallVehicles affectedRecall issue dateDVSA reference number
Potential steering problemSome models registered from Sept 2006 to Feb 2007 (‘56’ registration plates)03 Jan 2008COB 02/2008
Possible faulty handbrake cable and fittingSome models built between Aug 2009 and 23 Aug 2010 (‘59’ to ‘10’ registration plates)27 Jul 2010COB 20/2010
Possible fault causing driving instabilitySome models registered from Sept 2006 to Feb 2007 (‘56’ registration plates)27 Jun 2007COB 32/2007

Ref: Table produced courtesy DVSA

New Speed Camera Hadecs3

A new type of speed camera is to be used to enforce the national speed limit. The first camera – Hadecs3,  is due to be used on the M25 by the summer of 2014 and further afield over the next two years.

It could be the biggest change to the way speed limits are enforced since the introduction of the 70 mph speed limit in 1967.

A recent survey for Autocar magazine found that 94.6% of drivers admitted breaking the limit.

The Hadecs3 requires no white markings to be painted on the road and will be grey instead of the bright yellow.  It is cheaper to maintain than conventional speed cameras because it does not need road markings or film (it digitally downloads). Instead of using painted white lines to give a backup calculation of a car’s speed, each Hadecs3 box contains two radars that give independent readings.

Learner Driver Fined

A learner driver whilst on her driving lesson was caught driving at 36 mph in a 30 mph speed limit zone. She had only taken 12 previous lessons and pleaded that she had not noticed her speed increase.

She was given the option to either have 3 penalty points added to her licence, or take a one day driver education course. The course would cost £110.

Her driving instructor had no part to play in the ‘eyes of the law’.

Advice to all learner drivers 

According to the law; from the very first lesson, all drivers are responsible for the safety of themselves and other road users. How many new drivers are aware of that law!

All driving instructors should mention it on the first lesson.