Car Transmission Explained Simply

Car Transmission Explained SimplyThe transmission is one of the most basic components of a car. You’ll see this mounted somewhere near the engine. Yet, it’s one of the most essential parts to keep a car moving. The transmission, even if it’s only slightly defective, can cause torque and acceleration problems.

Almost misdiagnosed engine defects are defective transmission in reality. A lot of car owners seem to realize that aside from engine problems, the defective transmission also causes a decrease in power, speed, and fuel economy.

This article will help you understand the basics of a car’s transmission. Let’s discuss the types and how each type works.

What Is A Transmission?

A transmission is a part of the car’s engine but not placed inside. This is commonly placed slightly underneath the engine. Nonetheless, there are exceptions since builds don’t follow the norm.

The engine will work without a transmission. It is not part of the inner components. However, a car can’t move without a transmission because it transforms the power that the engine provides into momentum.

Parts that comprise a basic transmission are the clutch, the gearbox, the differential, the propeller shaft, and the live axle.

What Does A Transmission Do?

One quick way to understand the role of a transmission is to picture the car as a person going uphill.

A person walking in flat terrain strides with ease since there’s no slope requiring him or her to exert more force on his or her steps. On the other hand, while walking uphill, more effort has to be exerted on the feet to overcome the downward pull of the terrain as caused by gravity.

A transmission works the same way. It allows your car engine to exert sheer pulling force or sheer speed depending on the terrain. By the way, this is achieved because the transmission has a planetary gear system consisting of small and big gears.

Therefore, it’s wrong to blame the engine if the car suddenly loses power. Before concluding that the engine is defective, try checking the transmission in case of loss of speed or torque because it might do the trick.

What Are The Different Types of Transmission?

Manual Transmission

In a manual transmission, gear shifting happens through a clutch pedal and a shifter which the driver can manually control. However, for the gears to be shifted successfully, proper engagement and disengagement must be learned. In a real-time application, manual transmission requires good timing on the part of the driver. If not timed well, the engine can stall or turn off while the car is moving.

Automatic Transmission

In an automatic transmission, gear shifting and clutch control are governed by a sensor. This sensor then sends information to a microchip that decides when the transmission should shift from one gear to the next.

Cars using automatic transmission don’t require a lot of skill from the driver. When a vehicle using this transmission, all that you need to remember is not to panic, press the accelerator hard, and forget about braking.

CVT Transmission

You won’t see this on cars but, Hallow us to discuss what this is. CVT stands for continuously variable transmission, and you’ll find this installed on scooters manufactured by Yamaha, Honda, and other motorcycle manufacturers.

A CVT doesn’t have gears. Instead, it works through a primary drive ( a small pulley) and a secondary clutch drive ( a bigger pulley). The two are connected by a drive belt. When the primary drive achieves high rpm, the secondary clutch drive expands, thereby leading to increased speed. When the opposite happens, the clutch drive contracts leading to low speed but high torque forward movement.


If you want to be good at driving, learn how to drive manual transmission first. Getting used to it means that you’ll get used to driving an automatic transmission vehicle. Also, remember to check a car’s transmission engine because it’s equally important. Ensure that it doesn’t make strange sounds, doesn’t vibrate a lot, and doesn’t run out of oil (transmission oil).

Time to Visit Your Fraser, MI Auto Repair Shop?

Feel free to stop in and visit Car Guys Auto Center today or give us a call at (586) 285-4444!  We would be happy to answer any auto-related questions you may have.  We are located at :

Car Guys Auto Center
32639 Groesbeck Hwy
Fraser, MI 48026

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