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.