What does a transmission do?
A transmission is what makes your car move down the road. Like the electrical system in modern cars the transmission is very complex, but we can break it down some.
There are a few types of transmissions, the most common is the Automatic transmission, then there is the Manual Transmission. Finally, the CVT transmission is not as common in trucks, but heavily used in powersports like ATVs, snowmobiles, and UTVs.
There are many variations of each type, but we will go over the most popular of each. They all take the power that is produced by the engine and send it to the wheels through gears, fluid, or belts depending on the design of the transmission.
An Automatic Transmission, as the name suggests, automatically shifts the gears in the transmission for you as you travel down the road. You do have to shift the car from park to drive, reverse, or neutral. Once in drive, the transmission will start in the lowest gear and shift up a gear depending on speed and several other factors. Reverse is a single gear and neutral is no gear, this allows the car to roll either direction if pushed or sitting on a hill etc.
The computer in a car or truck controls when the transmission shifts. It will monitor several sensors and calculate what gear it should be in. It is connected to the engine through something called a torque converter. The torque converter uses fluid to spin several fan discs to transfer the engine power into the input shaft of the transmission.
From there the power travels through various clutch discs and gears, to finally leave the transmission though driveshafts down to your wheels.
Manual Transmissions are similar, except where an automatic transmission uses fluid to transfer the engine power into the transmission, a manual uses the clutch, a third pedal next to your brake pedal.
Instead of shifting through all the gears for you, a manual has a gear shifter mounted in the car. Usually near the center console you will have a gear shift lever (sometimes called a Stick). The shifter and clutch pedal are used to change gear. When the shifter is in the middle position the transmission is in neutral and the car can roll in either direction.
The clutch pedal is used to disconnect the engine from the transmission so that you can put the transmission into gear and start moving the car. Once in gear, slowly releasing the clutch will gently engage the engine and transmission, again finally sending power through the transmission and down to the wheels.
The last transmission we will talk about is the CVT (constantly variable transmission). Extremely popular in UTVs and ATVs, this type of transmission is completely different from the others. You have a shifter still for forward, neutral and reverse.
This transmission uses a belt between the engine and transmission to transfer power. A centrifugal clutch, mounted on the engine, engages the belt depending on engine speed. If you have ever been on a go-cart, then you have seen this style of clutch in use.
This type of transmission, some believe to be the most efficient out of any transmission currently available. The main reason these aren’t widely used in trucks is all of your engine power runs through a single belt. That is not good for towing or high horsepower applications.
Transmission failure can happen in several ways like your car not wanting to go in gear, or it going in gear, but not actually moving. Or even fluid leaks on the ground. Transmission fluid, like all fluids, breaks down over time and needs to be changed several times throughout the lifetime of your vehicle. Transmissions need to be serviced to help prevent a failure from occurring. Our team has all the tools needed to service or repair any transmission.
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