By Vukasin Herbez on 2018-07-06 17:40:14
Transmission is one of the most crucial components of a car‘s drivetrain and a very important factor in the car‘s drivability, fuel economy and overall performance. Only electric vehicles don´t have transmission and have direct drive to wheels, but all other vehicles on the planet have some kind of gearbox which transmits the engine revs to driven wheels. So, let‘s get acquainted with this important component.
1. How do transmissions work
The sole purpose of the gearbox is to transform the engine‘s revs to the car‘s wheels through a set of gears. Gears inside the transmission are there to change the ratio between the engine and the driving wheels to suit the driving better. So, when you start the car and shift into first gear, the ratio will be bigger and allow the driving wheels to turn slowly providing you with a smooth start. Also, when you are cruising at high speeds and in high gear, the ratio between engine revolutions and turning the wheels will be small allowing maintaining of said speed.
The basic physics of the gasoline/diesel engine requires some kind of variable ratio device and that is the transmission. It is connected to the engine via clutch if you drive manual or torque converter if you own an automatic and it sends power to the driving wheels overdrive shafts.
2. Transmission types
There are two basic transmission types manual and automatic transmission and we will explain you the differences.
1. Manual Transmission
The manual gearbox is the standard and the most common type which has been in production since the beginning of automobile age. It is a purely mechanical component which is connected to the engine via a clutch plate and it is operated by the clutch pedal and gear lever. You have all probably operated a vehicle with a manual transmission but for those that haven‘t let‘s explain the basics. You press the clutch pedal, disconnecting the engine and the gearbox, select the gear, and depress the pedal while pressing the accelerator and that is it. The transmission has changed gears, reconnected with the engine and continued to send power to driven wheels. The manual gearbox is the enthusiast´s favorite since it offers more engaging experience, better control of the car‘s behavior and gives you more freedom. It is also slower than modern automatics and can be a bit troublesome for new drivers.
2. Automatic transmission
Automatic transmissions were invented in the early ‘40s but became industry‘s standard in mid-60s, mostly on luxury cars. The first automatics were slow to shift and more suited to leisurely cruising the motorways. However, in the last decade or so, the revolution in car electronics provided an automatic transmission with much-needed modernization and made this invention much better, precise, and much faster than any manual and better suited to modern driving standards. Despite all electronics, the basic principle has not changed.
The vehicle equipped with automatic transmission has only two pedals brake and accelerator and to start, you need to fully press the brake, select ´D´ (as in drive) with your gear lever and just release the brake. The car will slowly start moving and then you should press the accelerator pedal to achieve the speed you want. The automatic transmission will monitor the revs and when they get too high, shift into higher gear or shift into lower if needed. There is no clutch but torque converter which does the same thing, only automatically. Modern automatic is far superior in shift times and understanding the driver‘s intentions so they are very comfortable to use and an important part of all latest high-performance cars. Despite the fact that manual transmission is still is a common choice, automatics are definitely the gearbox of the future.
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