Can You Drive a Manual Car if You Pass in an Automatic?

No, you cannot drive a manual car if you passed the driving test in an automatic. If you passed the driving test in an automatic car, your licence restricts you to driving automatic and semi-automatic cars only. Essentially, that means you can drive any car that does not require the driver to manually operate the clutch.

But What if I need to Drive a Manual?

If you need to drive a manual car, you will have to retake and pass the driving test in a car with manual transmission, but you will not have to retake the theory test. The benefits of passing the driving test in a manual car is that the DVLA will issue you with a ‘full’ driving licence, meaning that you can drive cars with either a manual or automatic transmission.

Is it Worth Retaking the Driving Test?

That depends on how essential it is that you drive a manual car. Having an automatic licence isn’t as restrictive as it once was, as car manufacturers now produce more automatic cars than manual. In fact during 2020, 55 percent of all new cars registered in the UK were automatic. For further information on the various types of automatic cars available, see what can I drive on an automatic licence.

The reason why the popularity of automatic cars has increased is because they are now far more fuel efficient, easier to drive than manual cars and certain semi-automatic cars can be fun to drive too. Sporty, semi-automatic variants that allow you to manually change gear using paddle shifters at the steering wheel offer greater control and can be more engaging to drive. If you’re a little unsure about fully automatic and the ability to manually change gears, see difference between automatic and semi-automatic.

Retaking the Driving Test Can Affect Insurance

If you are considering retaking your driving test to gain a full, manual licence, one thing you might want to consider is your insurance. Some car insurance providers consider the upgrade from automatic to manual licence as being a new licence holder. That means that any no claims bonus that you might have gained while driving on your automatic licence could be lost.

Depending on how much no claims discount you have earned, it may significantly affect the premium that you pay once you’ve passed the manual test. However, all car insurance providers have their own rules, so it’s something you should check with them.

The Future of the Manual Car

The future of the manual car is not bright. With more automatics being sold than manuals and with electric cars becoming more popular, the manual transmission will soon become a thing of the past.

8 thoughts on “Can You Drive a Manual Car if You Pass in an Automatic?”

  1. I passed my driving test in an automatic car in Australia..I’m now back living in the uk… can I drive a manual with my current license???

    1. Learn Automatic

      Hi Lisa,
      You can only drive automatic. Over the last few years, there are many more automatic and semi-automatic cars in the UK as they’re becoming more popular than manual. If you did want to drive manual, you’d need to take a UK driving test in a manual car.

  2. Hi, I currently have an automatic license but I’m retaking my test in a manual in may. I need to buy a new car 1 month before my test so I can practise more than just lessons in my dad’s car. can I still insure a manual car on an automatic license and drive it as long as I have someone else who has a license with me or do I need to insure it as if I have a provisional license?

  3. Hi I have a automatic license but I want to learn manual,. Can I buy a manual car and put L plates and insure it and drive it wiv just me in the car whilst I’m learning as I have over eight years experience on the road??

    1. Hi Joe,
      No, I’m afraid not as it would be illegal. You will need a supervising passenger that is:

      • Over 25.
      • Qualified to drive the same type of car as the learner e.g. manual.
      • Had a licence for at least three years.
  4. Hi, I recently got my automatic license. I am planning to p
    upgrade it to manual (already have driving experience in a manual had to change the type of car. I am finding it difficult to find a suitable insurance company. Are there companies you recommend that would insure me?

    1. Hi Han.
      I’m not sure why you are finding it difficult to find an insurance company, there are so many our there. Personally, I would use car insurance comparison sites. If you type into Google ‘car insurance quotes’ and do a search on the top three sites that come up, then you’ll find the cheapest one. Bear in mind however, your insurance may increase as they may consider you a new driver going from automatic over to manual.

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