Types of Car Transmission and How They Work?


Transmission is that part of the machine that provides controlled application of power, converting mechanical power from the car to give kinetic energy to the wheels. Car transmissions have evolved over the years from the manual type to that of automatic transmission, continuous variable transmission, semi-automatic and dual clutch transmissions.’

  1. Manual transmission:

Manual car transmission has evolved over the years becoming smoother and increasing the number of gears to that of six gears currently. As the name indicates, the operation of this gear is done manually, wherein the driver uses the foot to disengage or engage the clutch and the gear shifter operated manually to shift between gears. By doing so, one transfers the rotational energy of the engine to move the wheels smoothly. The controlling mechanism of manual transmission is simple which ensures that any malfunction, if at all it occurs would be easy to repair and not expensive. Manual transmission cars seem to have better fuel economy than the automatic cars. Most driving enthusiasts would vouch for the manual model as no other mechanism gives better driving satisfaction than that of manual version.

  1. Automatic Transmission:

Over the years as more and more people learned to drive and wanted more comfort and user friendly gear system, automatic car transmission got evolved into one that reduced human effort. Automatic transmission is the most favorite car transmission of women and the elderly, as it is easy to learn and use. Automatics use a torque converter to transfer the rotational energy. The shifting of the gear is done by a computer through planetary gear system and a set of clutches and brakes which makes this system complex and prone to failure. The complexity adds to its costs, in terms of replacements or repairs. Automatic systems have now gone on to have up to nine gears forward and using more advanced technologies have narrowed the gap with the manual version by a good measure in terms of fuel economy.

  1. Continuously Variable Transmission:

This technology drains the fizz out of a car enthusiast because the experience of driving a car with CVT is devoid the thrill of manual shifting gears and for the smooth movement driver should use smooth motion to control the car. This is because CVT transmissions simply don’t have gears and do not require gear shifts.  CVT uses a series of belts and pulleys to change the speed to the optimal ratio. The use of belts produces an infinite range of ratios. Unlike automatic transmissions they are not complicated and are also less prone to failure. Drivers used to manual transmission may find CVTs repulse for its poor driving experience that it delivers in spite of the seamless acceleration that it provides.

  1. Semi-automatic And Dual-clutch Transmissions:

The mechanics of semi-automatics are similar to the conventional transmissions. While automatics use a torque converter, semi-automatics use a system of pneumatics and actuators to change gears. These pneumatics and actuators replace the manual effort of manual transmission.

Dual clutch system has separate clutches for odd and even gears making gear shifts incredibly fast. These systems can be swapped using paddles on the steering wheel. The cutting-edge technology and complexity of this system is very high. This technology is beyond the needs of a city car and is mostly employed in the racing tracks. The requirement of constant maintenance and the high repair cost are other reasons why this technology is not encouraged in cars for domestic use.

While choosing a car it is important to check the transmission your car will have so before you make a final choice you must learn about the functionality of the car transmission.