A Guide to Semi-Automatic Transmissions

Semi-automatic transmissions aren’t for everyone, but they might be the right choice for you


Semi-automatic transmissions are a fascinating recent trend in automotive technology. While many drivers have heard about or even ridden in cars with this type of transmission, they may not know about the systems themselves.

Larry’s Transmission is here to answer questions about semi-automatic transmissions Portland drivers might have.

Contact us if you have questions about servicing one in your vehicle!

What exactly are semi-automatic transmissions?

Most drivers know that an automatic transmission means you do not have to actually shift the gears in order to drive, while a manual transmission means the driver is responsible for moving between gears.

Major benefit of automatics

Ease of driving, especially in slow traffic on hills or in tight spaces

Major benefit of manuals

More control over acceleration and gas mileage

A semi-automatic system blends the best of both worlds. You can shift gears without using a clutch, which reduces the complexity of driving, and make sure that your shift pattern is more efficient than an automatic shifting system.

What types of vehicles have semi-automatic transmissions?

There are several domestic and import manufacturers that provide drivers with semi-automatic options. They are not common in large trucks, vans or other service/duty vehicles.

You can probably find the best make and model for your driving needs with this transmission type in it by going to a dealership and asking specifically to test drive a car with one.

Is the cost of maintaining, repairing or replacing semi-automatic transmissions higher than other systems?

Since these transmissions have unique components that are relatively new to the market, the cost of servicing such a system is typically higher than a regular manual or auto system.

Replacing a faulty semi-automatic transmission will certainly cost more than replacing other systems. The availability of reliable parts is limited compared to transmission parts for systems that have been available for much longer.

In other words:

Replacing a clutch

Quick and affordable at most certified transmission shops

Replacing a torque converter

Trickier, but manageable with a reliable mechanic

Replacing a semi-automatic transmission

Takes more time and money, no matter where you go

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