Under the transmission system, the driver operates the gears using a clutch pedal or stick shift. Manual transmissions are preferred by most drivers because it supports high-performance driving. It is also a more affordable alternative to the more expensive automatic transmission systems. Also, they are simpler and cheaper to repair.
The current automatic transmission is comprised of several different systems and components cleverly designed to work in a mechanical, electrical and hydraulic technological symphony that has over the years metamorphosed into what lovers of mechanical innovations now see as an intelligent work of art.
We do our best to describe these complex systems using very simple, lay man terms, but the complexity of these components means you need to employ some mental calisthenics before you can understand how they work. The major components of an automatic transmission are:
- Planetary Gear Sets. These mechanical systems are responsible for providing all the forward and reverse gear ratios.
- The Hydraulic System. These systems make use of specific transmission fluid the Oil Pump sends through the Valve Body under pressure to control both the Bands and Clutches with the sole aim of controlling the planetary gear sets.
- Seals and Gaskets. These are responsible for keeping the oils where they are meant to be and stop them from leaking out.
- The Torque Converter. This acts more like a clutch that allows your car come to a sudden stop in gear even with the engine still running.
- The Modulator and Governor or Throttle Cable. These systems regulate the speed and the throttle position to determine the right time to shift.
- Shift points are controlled by Computer on newer vehicles which directs the electrical solenoids to shift the flow of oil to the right component at the appropriate time.
- Manual transmission is mainly affected by the wear in the synchronizers. These synchronizers make shifting seamless and help avert gear crash. However, the brass synchronizers, can suffer wear and make shifting and grinding difficult.
- Automatic transmissions can also suffer wear and cause uneven and slipping shifting patterns.
- Universal joints can also suffer wear and cause vibrations as you drive. Most of the modern universal joints come sealed, which means they can’t be lubricated. This makes replacement the only option when they suffer wear.