Can You Off-Road A Manual?

July 9, 2021

Okay, the obvious answer is yes, you can off-road a manual. But how practical is it? And is it better than automatic? 



Table of Contents

  1. Overview

  2. Pros and Cons of Automatic

  3. Pros and Cons of Manual

  4. When Automatic is Better Off-Road

  5. When Manual is Better Off-Road



As many know, Jeep has always offered manual transmission options on their vehicles. Toyota and many others do this, too, even as the market for manual transmission only seems to shrink. Why do these off-road vehicles come in manual options? Is a manual transmission better for off-roading? Is it even possible to off-road a manual? Let’s take a look. 

Manual truck


Pros and Cons of Automatic

An automatic vehicle is the most common choice. This is because of how much more common they are within the market (finding one for sale is much easier than a manual), more options, and the ease/ convenience of driving them. We have become very lazy. Many nowadays don't even know how to drive a manual because they simply never needed to learn. Automatics can avoid user error much easier, and they can halt completely. 


However, there are always downsides too. Automatic transmissions are much more complex and can be expensive to fix if something goes wrong. They tend to break and not last as long as a manual transmission does. Automatics also tend to deplete horsepower from your engine and reduce your MPGs. 



Pros and Cons of Manual

There are tons of jokes that spread around about how people who drive manuals think that they are better than those that don't and that they love to talk about it. But are manual vehicles better? With a manual you have full control over your vehicle and you are able to have a much better and more fun driving experience because of this. You truly can feel your vehicle and understand it.

Breaking the transmission is more difficult and less expensive if you do, they last longer and they will give you more horsepower than an automatic. You have an advantage in snow and slippery surfaces because you have control of your gears. They also handle heat better. 

Off-road Jeep

Once again though, it isn't all rainbows and sunshine. Sadly they aren’t perfect either. Learning a manual can be very tricky for many people. They aren't always ideal for every type of driving, and they require your full attention, you can't be a lazy driver. 



When Automatic is Better Off-Road

Automatics are going to be better for off-road racing because they will avoid human error in a race. Automatics will also be better for things like rock crawling and more intricate off-roading, these low-speed and difficult terrain require precision. If you are a beginner to the off-road scene, an automatic will probably be an easier choice. Finally, if you are on the road, and especially if you are stuck in traffic, an automatic will be much easier for you. 

off-road jeep


When Manual is Better Off-Road

A manual will be a better option for faster-paced off-roading activities, simpler off-road trails that you can move a little quicker on, and any situations where you need more power or speed. They will be better in 4WD than an automatic and give you the control when you need it. Like stated earlier this is better for slippery, wet, or icy conditions. 

Truck off-road

The TLDR version of this is simply that yes you can off-road a manual, and depending on the activities that you choose to do it may be the better option. At the end of the day, it is truly up to you. 

Like always, when you get a wheel and tire package from TrailBuilt you will get free shipping, mounting, and balancing. We also offer as low as 0% APR financing for those who qualify, so you can build now and pay later. 

What do you drive? Let us know in the comments down below! 



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