What Is the Transmission of a Car?

Ford Technician repairing transmission

Have you been wondering what a car transmission is? Are you interested in how it performs and why it’s so important to vehicle operation? Our team at Ira Ford Saco is here to answer all your questions with this guide about vehicle transmissions!

If you’re a Saco, Portland, or Scarborough, Maine, driver, continue reading our guide below. If you have any burning questions during or after reading, we’re just a call away. If you need transmission service, schedule service with us today.

The Role of a Car Transmission

Leaking transmission fluid from carIn simple terms, a transmission is a vehicle’s gearbox. These components are directly mounted on the engine so that their assimilated belt and gear system can convert combustion power into physical momentum.

A typical car transmission has five or six gears with assimilated belts or chains. When paired together, this system allows you to control how much power is delivered to the car without overbearing the engine. A transmission is a crucial powertrain element because an internal combustion engine on its own would turn too quickly for structural stability.

Overall, a car transmission helps your engine spin at the right rate without going too fast or too slow. It also helps your wheels get the right amount of power.

Types of Transmissions

Mechanic taking a look under the hood to inspect transmissionVehicles can be equipped with two different transmissions: automatic or manual. Although they are separate entities, they both perform similarly. What sets them apart? Well, a manual transmission requires you to manually shift gears while an automatic transmission does this for you.

If you choose a model with a manual transmission, most people call this driving with a stick shift. The name comes from the driver having to use the stick shift (gear shifter found in the center console) to change gears as they accelerate and decelerate. Driving “stick” also requires the use of a clutch pedal.

An automatic transmission allows drivers to be more passive on the drive. Those with this type of transmission will recognize a “PRNDL” gear shifter. When you’re ready to drive, shift into Drive and the car does the rest for you. Using fluid pressure, the vehicle completes gear changes for you.

Is Driving Automatic or Manual Better?

There are perks to both! Let’s explore the benefits of both transmissions below:

Automatic Transmission

Manual Transmission

  • Good for beginners
  • Great in stop-and-go traffic
  • Allows less driver input
  • Widely available
  • Feels like you’re in control while driving
  • Superior acceleration
  • Fuel efficient
  • Lower purchase price

How Does a Transmission Work?

What Is the Transmission of a Car?As mentioned, manual and automatic transmissions are quite similar in terms of functionality. Other than drivers needing to manually shift gears in a stick shift, they both follow similar operations:

  • A gear lever selects and moves gears to connect with one another. This is performed automatically in an automatic, while it’s handled manually in a stick shift.
  • Once engaged, a clutch or gear lever moves “collar” plates or clutch plates to connect with larger gears. These larger gears are connected to the car’s differential.
  • As the gear lever moves, different gears will connect at different times. This allows certain gears to turn at needed times and makes sure the right amount of power is delivered to the wheels.

Have Any Questions for Ira Ford Saco?

We hope you enjoyed our guide all about what is the transmission of a car. If you have any questions or concerns about your own vehicle’s transmission, contact us or visit us at Ira Ford Saco serving Saco, Portland, and Scarborough, ME.

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