In the past, when choosing a car, there were choices in terms of the color you wanted and the features you were looking for in a particular model you wanted to buy. Times have changed! Today, one of the most important choices is picking the type of transmission system you want in a vehicle.
This means choosing one of two basic types: a manual transmission, also called “standard” or “stick shift,” or an automatic transmission. If you consider electric vehicles with specialized transmissions, continuously variable transmissions (CVT), and dual-clutch transmission systems, the decision can get complex quickly. With the advent of new technologies, the choices have multiplied in terms of features in every corner of our cars.
There are two big differences between an automatic transmission and a manual transmission, as follows:
- With an automatic transmission, there is no clutch pedal.
- There is no gear shift in an automatic transmission car. Once you put the transmission into drive, everything else is automatic.
The transmission is one of the most important parts in a car. Without it, the power from the engine can never reach the wheels, and you can’t move the car. A transmission system consists of a power source and a power transmission system, which provides controlled application of the power. It is basically a system of gears that “transmits” the power generated by the engine to the wheels that drive the vehicle forward.
Also known as a “standard transmission” or “stick shift,” a manual transmission consists of a set of gears with a pair of shafts known as the input shaft and output shaft. The gears on one shaft engage with those on the other shaft. When you press the clutch pedal and then change gears by hand with a shifter (hence, the term “stick shift”) in the center of the car, the car moves. Vehicles with a manual transmission have five speeds but some now have six, not including reverse. A manual transmission is simple and efficient, and thus more popular with driving enthusiasts who want more control over the car. While driving in crowded places, things can get tricky as it takes a hand away from the steering wheel to operate the gears. It also takes some time, skill, and practice to proficiently master a manual transmission.
The most popular kind on the road, and the most popular in new-vehicle sales, an automatic transmission relies on a torque converter to de-couple the engine and the gear set. There’s really no beating the convenience of driving a vehicle with an automatic transmission. Just put it in drive, put your foot on the gas, and off you go. There is no clutch and the transmission picks the right gear for you no matter the situation. But these transmissions are extremely complicated and costly when compared to a manual. Automatic transmission uses a single concentric shaft and has up to eight gears, with sets of gears inside and around each other in a “planetary” arrangement to placate performance drivers or to give cars optimal gearing for fuel efficiency–or both.
If you have ever driven a car with an automatic transmission, then you must know that these cars are very popular today with both new and experienced drivers, the reason being they are simpler to operate in comparison to manual transmission cars. For those who can afford it, automatic transmission cars are certainly better and more comfortable for long trips.
Now that you understand the two basic types, let’s move on to new transmission technologies in the next blog. Stay tuned!
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