What Are the Types of Car Transmissions?
While driving, you do not require the same amount of speed or acceleration every time. For this, you need to ensure that the engine’s crankshaft rotates at the right rate. Car transmission is the mechanism that helps you manage this rate and enables the engine to pass on the right amount of power to your vehicle’s wheels.
Earlier, there was only a manual transmission facility available in vehicles. However, now, you can get different types of car transmission mechanisms to choose from on a new vehicle.
What Does Transmission Mean in a Car ?
Before knowing different types of car transmission, you need to be aware of its functionality and how it helps the car to run smoothly.
A vehicle comes with several gears (generally 4-6) that determine the crankshaft RPM (Revolution per Minute). When you need more/less power from your engine, you need to shift your gear to high/low. This transmission mechanism lets you change your car gears and fix the amount of power your vehicle’s engine should generate through combustion.
Let's assume that your engine needs low power, but it is on a higher gear than necessary. In this scenario, your engine crankshaft will spin faster. It will increase fuel combustion and put higher pressure on your engine than what is required. This can affect the engine’s health significantly. So, using this transmission facility, you have to decrease the RPM by lowering your car’s gear.
What Are the Different Types of Car Transmissions?
There are two primary types of car transmission that you can get on your vehicles. These are manual and automatic transmissions. Let’s know about both these types in detail, including their mechanisms, features, advantages and disadvantages.
1. Manual Transmission
In a manual transmission, drivers can shift their vehicle’s gear by pushing clutch pedals and manoeuvring gear sticks. When they push the clutch, the engine’s input shaft becomes disengaged. At this time, the driver can easily increase or decrease the gear. After releasing the gear, the input shaft locks in again. So, it requires them to stay completely engaged with their cars while driving.
Features of Manual Transmission
Here are some of the basic features of this manual type of car transmission:
- In a manual transmission, input/output/counter-shaft, dog clutches and synchroniser, etc. are the major parts involved while shifting the gear.
- Generally, this manual car transmission typecomes with 5 gears, including 1 reverse gear.
- Drivers need to change the gear themselves according to the speed and power they want.
Advantages of Manual Transmission
This manual car transmission lets you enjoy several advantages, as mentioned below:
- You can easily maintain your vehicle’s transmission system by changing only the clutch. Generally, the rest of the car parts do not get much wear and tear.
- You do not need to change your vehicle’s engine and gear oils too frequently.
- It also lets you enjoy better fuel economy because the transmission system does not include a hydraulic pump and torque converter.
Disadvantage of Manual Transmission
However, you also need to be aware of the downsides of this car transmission type:
- It takes time to learn and adjust to gear-changing procedures as it involves a simultaneous process of using both the clutch pedal and gear stick.
- If the car stops while riding on a slope, it becomes challenging to restart it as the vehicle rolls down when you disengage the brakes.
So, while buying a new vehicle with a manual transmission, you must consider all these points.
2. Automatic Transmission
In an automatic transmission system, the engine changes the gear ratio without any human involvement. You can enjoy your ride without having to engage in the complexities of changing gears manually.
The automatic transmission process uses a torque converter that controls/amplifies the engine's RPM to transmit the required power to the wheel. The mechanism for transferring the power largely depends on two turbines. Among these, one is fitted with the engine and the other with the transmission. A hydraulic fluid connects these two turbines and transfers the power from the engine to the wheels. Here, the fluid coupling works like a clutch of a manual transmission.
Features of Automatic Transmission
The automatic transmission facility comes with the following features:
- The automatic car transmission mechanism is based on the working of three major components. These are planetary gear train, hydraulic coupling, and hydraulic controls.
- It integrates sensors that detect real-time accelerator pressure, speed and other factors to understand the power that your vehicle requires.
- There are different subtypes of automatic transmissions, such as AMT (Automated Manual Transmission), CVT (Continuously Variable Transmission), DCT (Dual Clutch Transmission), etc. These automatic car transmissions and their types run on different engineered mechanisms to transfer the power from the engine to the wheels.
Advantages of Automatic Transmission
Here are some of the major benefits that you get to leverage from this type of car transmission:
- You can easily start your car in slopes or hilly areas.
- It reduces your inconvenience of continuous gear changing while you are in heavy traffic.
- You do not need to spend your money to replace the clutch.
- It lets you get a quick acceleration.
- Since the gear change is accurate, it causes less impact on the engine.
Disadvantages of Automatic Transmission
There are also some drawbacks that one can face if their car is equipped with this type of car transmission mechanism. These are as follows:
- It is less fuel-efficient as you cannot control the torque converter and its power transmission. So, you may have to compromise with your car’s mileage.
- Maintenance cost is high in this car transmission type.
- It may give a poor off-road driving experience.
- You may need to change the transmission fluid after every 50,000 KM.
- It may take time to shift the gear.
To conclude, while purchasing a vehicle, you can get either of these types of car transmissions. You may need to choose one of them by considering these features, advantages and disadvantages.