How They Work: Automatic Transmission VS Manual Transmission

Your vehicle’s transmission is like the delivery man of your car, transferring power from the engine to the wheel’s axles. That power then rotates the wheels, moving your car, to get you wherever you need to go. There are two basic types of transmissions: automatic transmission and manual transmission. Both types of transmissions accomplish this same task, but each have their own unique way of doing so.

Let’s start with an automatic transmission.

There are two basic types of automatic transmissions: traditional and dual-clutch. The traditional automatic transmission connects to the engine with a hydraulic torque converter. As the name implies, the dual-clutch transmission connects to the engine with a pair of clutches.

Regardless of the type of automatic transmission you have, the process of changing gears is similar. Either hydraulically or electronically, factors like speed, rpm, the throttle pedal position, etc. are monitored to determine when gears change and how much power is transferred.

Once put into drive, automatic transmissions change gears without needing any help from the driver. Generally, it’s almost impossible to stall with an automatic, and the ride feels smoother- without the jerking of changing gears you might feel with manual transmissions.

Some people find automatic transmissions easier to use. You don’t have to worry about a clutch pedal (found with manual transmissions) or physically shifting gears. This also frees up a hand while driving.

There is also a manual transmission, or stick-shift.

With a manual transmission, the driver is in control of changing gears. Along with a shift lever connected to the transmission (found in the center console), vehicles with manual transmissions have clutch pedals (located near the brake pedal). The shift lever tells your car which gear the driver needs. The pedal releases a clutch disc between the engine and transmission, allowing your car to change gears.

For the complete process, you release the clutch pedal, select the gear on your stick-shift, then press the clutch pedal again. This process can be tricky at first. If you complete it too quickly, or incorrectly it can cause your engine to stall out.

When driving with a manual transmission, you need to be more conscious of your speed, driving conditions, and surrounding traffic- since you are in control how your car responds. Many drivers who choose manual transmission vehicles do so because they feel like they have more control over their vehicle.

So which type of transmission is best? Honestly, whichever works best for you. Each driver has their own preference and type of transmission they are most comfortable with.

No matter which type of transmission you have, Transmission Technicians are your experts for any maintenance or repairs you may need. Call us today, stop by the shop, or schedule your appointment online.


Written by Transmission Technicians

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