Basic Guide to Vehicle Transmissions
Vehicles require maintenance, including the dreaded transmission repair. Transmissions, one of the most complicated components, allow the driver to change gears and vary their speed. A failing transmission could mean big problems for your wallet. Also, it may cause extra wear and tear on other areas of your vehicle. Furthermore, many people could not identify to troubleshoot their own transmission; this is definitely not a DIY job for the average car owner. However, educating yourself about what’s under your hood might come in handy in a tricky situation. Here’s quick look at the 4 most common types of transmissions.
The manual transmission is the most easily identifiable. If you don’t know you’re driving a manual, you probably aren’t going anywhere, either. These transmissions involve the driver manually shift gears by engaging the clutch, disengaging the current gear, and selection another. These are easy to maintain, relatively reliable, and come in handy in off-road situations.
Fully Automatic Transmissions
Another popular transmission type is the fully automatic found in many vehicles on the road today. As the name implies, auto transmissions switch gears with little to no input from the driver and the functions of the transmission are handled electronically. With a simple choice between park, neutral, and drive (some may feature other gears), these are easy to use but more prone to malfunctions and more expensive to repair. However, many would rather pay a little more to get out of having to shift gears; especially in an urban area.
These are a more recent addition to automotive mass production and offer drivers the choice between shifting gears (many times referred to as “sport mode”) and allowing the vehicle to shift between gears electronically. Semi-Autos have the potential to help with fuel efficiency, however, the complexity of the transmission means costly repairs and replacements should something go wrong. Moreover, with many new vehicles featuring the semi-auto transmission as a standard feature, you may not have much a choice.
Continuously Variable Transmission
While the three previous transmission types all have something in common, this transmission strays from the pack. Used to control the gear ratios of the vehicle, it uses a system of belts and pulleys (of varying sizes and lengths) to change the gear ratios seamlessly. These also have the potential to increase fuel efficiency and provide a more comfortable ride but are not suitable for off-road conditions. While not as widespread as the semi-auto transmission, CVTs exist on plenty of models should you desire one on your next vehicle.