All About 5 Types Of Automatic Car Transmissions
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If you are someone who’s looking to buy a new car or just curious about the different types of car transmissions, then you have come to the right place. Automatic transmissions have become increasingly popular over the years for good reason.
They offer convenience, ease of use, and a smooth driving experience. However, not all automatic transmissions are created identically. In fact, there are several different types of transmissions available in the market today. Each with its unique features and benefits.
In this blog, we will discuss the five most common types of automatic car transmissions that you should know. Whether you are a car enthusiast or just looking to expand your knowledge, this will provide you with valuable information.
Read on to make an informed decision when it comes to choosing the right automatic transmission for your needs. But firstly, let’s know the difference between automatic and manual cars.
Difference between automatic and manual cars
Automatic cars are like the magic carpets that do all the hard work for you. They don’t have a clutch pedal or a gear stick, so you don’t have to worry about shifting gears while driving.
Instead, the car has a device called a ‘gear box’ that automatically changes gears for you depending on how fast you’re going. All you have to do is press the gas pedal/ accelerator to go faster or the brake pedal to slow down, and the car takes care of the rest.
On the other hand, manual cars are like wild stallions that require a lot of coordination and skills to tame. They have a clutch pedal and a gear stick that you have to operate yourself.
When you start driving, you have to press the clutch pedal and shift the gear stick to the appropriate gear based on your speed. And as you accelerate, you need to shift gears again to keep up. It can be a lot of fun, but it also requires a lot of focus and attention.
Manual and Automatic cars- Which are better?
Cars with automatic gears have a significant advantage over manual cars. The major reason is the convenience as it reduces the driver’s tiredness. These cars are also more fuel efficient as the engine’s energy flow to the wheel is mechanically controlled.
On the other side, as mentioned, the patterns are pre-programmed. They also rely on the RPM levels (revolutions per minute)- this can make unplanned upshifts during overtaking maneuvers. Using an AMT is also tricky to use on hilly areas.
Both these cars are like two different flavors of ice cream. They both have their pros and cons, but it’s a matter of personal preference and what you are comfortable with.
Different Types of Automatic Transmissions
AMT (Automated Manual Transmission)
When the driver has to manually drive the car, he has to operate the clutch and gear sticks. But with automatic transmission, the job of pressing these components no longer rests with him.
Thus, AMT’s function is to automate manual transmissions. Since its working is similar to a manual transmission, it is also called semi-automatic transmission. The only difference is that the sensors and actuators in AMT perform the clutch work and gear shifting.
These sensors and actuators are able to achieve this task with the help of an ECU- Electronic Control Unit. The hydraulics and computers which are used in the automated manual transmissions are linked with the ECU. The gear-shifting patterns are pre-programmed which operate the clutch and gearbox.
What does D1, D2, D3, and D4 mean in automatic cars?
All these are gears in an automatic transmission. They tell us about the car’s maximum gear position as it drives forward. Let’s understand with an example-
D4 gear can only go into fourth gear, although it can also go into first, second, and third gear. Similarly, D3 gear can maximum go into third gear, but also it can go into the first and second gear, and so on.
CVT (Continuously Variant Transmission)
The CVT is the newest type of automatic transmission that’s quieter. It’s a great choice to consider for users who are looking for a smoother drive on their automatic cars, offering a stress-free low-speed ride. They are more fuel-efficient than a regular transmission, which makes them a popular choice for automakers in most vehicles.
Unlike a manual transmission in which the driver determines the gear ratio, CVT's ability to change the gear ratios continuously makes them preferable. Regardless of the engine speed, they always perform at their peak efficiency.
It employs pulleys and belts that work together to offer infinite gear ratios according to the speed and the throttle input. Primarily, due to this reason, the CVT gearbox is very smooth and has no shift shocks. However, during heavy throttle inputs, the rubberband effect might be irritating sometimes.
CVTs are created differently. Pulley-type is the most common type. But it also includes other types like Toroidal CVT and Hydrostatic CVT. The toroidal CVT uses rotating discs and some power rollers to produce the same result as the pulley-based CVT. The hydrostatic CVT uses pumps to control the fluid flow, which produces rotational motion.
DCT (Dual Clutch Transmission)
Mostly used in the world of racecars, this type of transmission offers the best of both types- automatic and manual transmission. It is also called semi-automatic transmission.
This is a new technology in the production of regular vehicles. Its design is very specific which is known as dual-clutch, or direct-shift. Automatic cars use dry clutches or wet clutches based on engine torque. DCT uses a twin-clutch system that ensures smooth gear shifting.
It offers faster and most accurate gear shifts which makes them very reliable and efficient. Some cars with DCT gearbox configuration come with paddle shifters. It really makes driving easier. They don’t have any issues and are preferred for their improved fuel economy and performance.
IMT (Intelligent Manual Transmission)
IMT is a regular manual box with the difference that it doesn’t have a clutch pedal. The software and the actuators in IMT control the clutch without manually shifting the gears. This transmission is a halfway combination of manual and automatic transmissions.
This combination gives an added advantage. You get complete control of your car gear when you choose to. You don’t have to completely rely on the software in case of exceptional driving cases- when overtaking or coming down a slope.
IMT is also closer to a regular manual transmission in terms of its cost. It uses fewer parts than an AMT as it doesn’t require actuators for the gears.
The torque in the car is the rotational force that an engine can produce. More torque means more power in the wheels, which means you get less speed. However, it doesn’t mean a slow car, but an overall lower speed. Understand this with the help of an example- a person driving a car uphill uses lower gears because they have more torque. Thus, it means more power (which doesn’t mean they don’t have high speeds).
Torque converters are similar to clutch in the manual transmission but they are not simple in their functioning. Its working principle is based on the many forces of physics. Torque converters prevent your car from stalling when it is stopped.
It is made up of multiple parts like a torque converter pump, turbine, and stator. The best part about having these is that you don’t need to worry about acting to start and stop the car. It’s truly automatic in this sense. Also, a car with this type of transmission generates faster acceleration.
Discussed different types of transmissions are very interesting pieces of technology. They have genuinely helped in making the driving experience much more smoother and hassle-free. Taking care of these transmissions is very crucial. Any problems with it can interrupt your journey and make it difficult for you to drive.
By any chance, if you are looking for Used Transmissions, we look forward to helping you in improving your vehicle’s powertrain. Contact us to get access to thousands of low-mileage and high-quality used transmissions from our inventory. We will find the most compatible used transmission for your vehicle.
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