The 4 Types of Car Transmissions

Part of the experience that the driver has with his vehicle is marked by the transmission that he has, and is that the physiognomy can be very different from one to the other. There are those who prefer to be changing gears all the time with the lever and also those who prioritize paying attention to what is in front of them while driving and not to the position of said lever.

That said, in the new AutoUsaPremium entry we are going to list the different types of transmissions that are available for cars, we will indicate their main characteristics and what they provide, in terms of sensations, to the user. If you plan to buy a car soon and you are going to do it for the first time, surely this post will help you when choosing the version that best suits your driving preferences.

Once we have finished the introduction, it is time to get down to business properly. Of course, for this it is convenient to know beforehand the different elements that make up the transmission of a car, in this way the understanding of what is going to be explained will be better.

What are the elements of transmission?

Here are the components that make up the transmission system of a four-wheeled vehicle:

  • Clutch: is the part that is responsible for both coupling and uncoupling the rotation carried out by the motor. In this way, he tries to make sure that the movement is smooth, progressive and synchronized. In turn, it can be hydraulic, electromagnetic, disc, friction or spring.
  • Gearbox: is one that has the function of raising and lowering the engine revolutions. Through it, different speeds of rotation are carried out in the tires.
  • Transmission tree: It is physically linked to the gearbox and only comes into action when the motor has a different axis from the wheels that it has to move. A very clear example occurs when the engine is located in front but the traction is total or rear.
  • Conical-differential group: It is in charge of providing the necessary force and speed to the wheels of the car. Its role is to maintain a uniform speed in each one of them, with the purpose that the wheels that are more oriented to the outside turn more quickly and, in this way, prevent the vehicle from skidding.
  • bearing: It is also known as semi-tree, semi-axis and arrow. It is the part that puts the wheels in contact with the bevel-differential group so that the movement is transmitted. Each car has one driveshaft for each drive wheel. That being said, front or rear wheel drive vehicles have two axles, while all wheel drive four.
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The 4 transmission options for your car

After having explained, in detail, the transmission mechanism, now we come to the central theme of this article once and for all. Let’s see the four types of transmission that a car can have on board:

1. Manual transmission

Until relatively recently, it was the most common to find in the automotive industry. However, with the technological evolutions that the rest of the variants have experienced, their offer has been balanced in relation to what we are going to see. Regarding its operation, the manual transmission does this by changing gear ratios which, as its name indicates, are carried out manually.

When the driver wants to use it, he steps on the clutch and, with the lever so common to see in the passenger compartment mounted on the steering column, behind and to the right of the steering wheel (or as happens in modern cars, mounted vertically on the center console and connected to the transmission by a linkage) activates gears that, due to the number of teeth and their own size, varies the turning ratio between the engine and the tires. This is how power is harnessed.

In general, manual transmissions are sealed, which translates into a lubricating grease located inside that prevents the coefficient of friction from raising the temperature excessively and damaging any element. If the transmission overheats, then a full system overhaul is recommended.

It has to be said that, if you want to start from neutral, engaging the clutch too slowly will cause the disc to wear prematurely, and if it is engaged too quickly it may cause the motor to stall. Bear that in mind.

2. Automatic transmission

Imagining that the transmission could be changed by itself was seen as a real luxury in the past, especially considering that it was an expensive option financially speaking. Now the reality is very different since several versions of a certain model are offered with this alternative. Unlike the first, it does not have a clutch pedal.

However, its operating scheme is more complex than that of the manual. In the first place, the transmission fluid is in charge of carrying out two essential tasks: lubricating the gears and generating the necessary hydraulic pressure so that the movements that must be carried out inside them really happen.

This is possible thanks to an element known as a torque converter, which means that the gears can be engaged (or not) with the propeller and that the movement is carried out with greater or lesser speed. Transmission fluid usually loses some of its properties, especially lubricants, since it still generates hydraulic pressure at the cost of ceasing to protect the internal elements of the transmission.

In any case, it can be replaced thanks to the bayonet duct that measures the transmission fluid. It is also pertinent to indicate that there are automatic car models that allow the user to choose the desired gear manually using a gear lever or paddles mounted behind the steering wheel.

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Advantages of this transmission include the low probability of engine stalling, a vehicle that has it usually goes smoother and more comfortable while driving than a manual, especially in intermittent traffic scenarios. Its gearbox does not generally require such tedious maintenance, although it may vary from one model to another.

3. Dual clutch transmission

Cataloged by some as a type of automatic transmission and by others as two manual transmissions in one, the dual-clutch transmission is based on a pair of said component, as can be deduced from its name. However, they are robotized and their work is solved automatically since they can change gear without the user directly intervening to do so.

To the detriment of this, what happens is that the process is carried out hydraulically or electronically by controlling some important parameterssuch as the position of the accelerator, the speed at which the car is driving and the revolutions per minute of the engine.

What it does share with a manual is the presence of lubricating grease, as well as other elements of hydraulic pressure and for the wet clutch (an element that sends power from the engine to the gearbox and that allows the separation or union of the rotation of the engine to the transmission, freeing movement to the drive wheels). They are also sealed in the same way as the other and do not need maintenance unless something is failing.

4. Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT)

The Continuously Variable or Continuously Variable Transmission, acronym CVT for its translation into English, is equipped with a system of belts and pulleys that provide an infinite number of relationships, or what is the same: it never changes. That being said, they are common to see on scooters, motorcycles, and snowmobiles as well.

In terms of feel, it generally provides a smoother ride than a vehicle with a conventional automatic transmission on board. And it is that it can even improve efficiency by reducing fuel consumption, which explains why many hybrid cars carry it. Its mechanism consists of completely smooth pulleys and a metal band between them. That being said, what happens is that when the pulleys open and close, the turning ratio changes at the same time without the driver or passengers noticing.

The continuous contact of the metal band with the pulleys makes the lubricant of these transmissions thinner and thinner. than the one contained in a normal automatic, and requires entering much smaller spaces than between some gears, the torque converter and the valve body.

Its maintenance is practically conspicuous by its absence, although it is recommended that the condition of the lubricating oil be inspected after having traveled 40,000 kilometers in order to make sure that everything is in order and, if necessary, change the oil. Some people may find it strange to drive with a CVT transmission by not feeling the gear changes, but it is best to test it before making a purchase decision.

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