Types of Transmissions in Automobiles

Types of Transmissions

A vehicle transmission and the types of transmissions have three main purposes:

  1. Transfers power from the vehicle’s engine to the wheels.
  1. Uses engine power to move the vehicle forward or backward.
  1. Allow smooth, shifting gears so the car can move at different speeds.

To put it simply, it is the transmission’s job to turn the engine’s power (RPMs) into torque for the wheels of the vehicle. For example, 1st gear is the shortest gear and as you work your way up to 2nd, 3rd, and 4th gear, the gear ratios become taller. This permits your vehicle to climb to higher speeds as the gears get taller. When your vehicle is accelerating, gear selection is crucial to maximize the torque going to the wheels.

Automatic and Manual Transmission

Since it is the main purpose of the transmission to act as the transmitter between a vehicle’s engine and the wheels, the type of transmission a vehicle has can greatly affect acceleration, efficiency, and performance. This is why there are many different kinds of transmissions for all the different types of vehicles and vehicle purposes.

The most typical transmission types are:

  • Manual Transmissions
  • Automatic Transmissions
  • CVT Transmissions
  • Dual-Clutch (DCT) Transmissions.

How Automatic and Manual Transmissions Work: An Introduction

Within manual and automatic transmission systems today, you will find intricate moving parts such as interconnected gears, input and output shafts, and a clutch (for manuals) or a torque converter (for automatics).

In a manual transmission, the driver uses a clutch and gear shifter to change the gears as the RPMs of the vehicle increase. In an automatic transmission, a system of planetary gears shifts automatically between gears.

By shifting to taller and shorter gears as a car goes faster and slows down, the transmission maintains the right amount of power going back and forth between the wheels and the engine.

Inside both types of transmissions, there needs to be transmission fluid. Transmission gear fluid is very important in automatic transmissions, where pressurized transmission fluid is necessary to hydraulically pressurize and shift gears. A manual transmission is manually shifted by the driver using a gear selector and the clutch.

How Often Should I Have My Transmission Serviced?

With so many intricate and interrelated parts, the transmission is your most complex component in the vehicle. It’s also the most costly to fix, if it isn’t properly maintained. To extend the life of your transmission and avoid unnecessary transmission repair, we recommend that you:

  • Check transmission fluids regularly
  • Change transmission fluid more frequently if you have heavy loads or hot temperatures
  • Regularly service and maintain parts that work with the transmission – like CV joints, drive shafts, transfer cases, and engine flywheels
  • Follow your vehicle owner’s manual for scheduled maintenance and replacement parts
  • After any collision or accident, have the transmission checked

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