What’s the Difference Between Automatic and Manual Transmissions?

Automatic and Manual Transmissions

It may sound like a silly question, but do you know the difference between an automatic and manual transmission? The surface-level answer is obvious: one changes gears automatically and the other manually. However, most people know little more than that. Understanding how your transmission works can help you better maintain it, and the experts at Austin’s Pro Max want to help!

Gears and Transmissions

A transmission’s purpose is to change the ratio between rotations of your engine and rotations of your wheels. The transmission receives input from the engine and sends an output to the wheels. In between the input and output shafts are a series of gears. Switching which gear is connecting the two shafts, changes the ratio between the engine and the wheels.

Lower gears require your engine to rotate the crankshaft multiple times to turn the wheels once. This is helpful when you are just getting started because it applies more torque to the wheels. If you have ever used a level to lift something, you have seen this principle in action. Higher gears help the wheels spin faster, allowing the car to reach higher speeds.

How a Manual Transmission Works

A manual transmission typically has a clutch that can disconnect the transmission from the engine input shaft. In the cabin, there is a clutch pedal. Pressing it down disconnects the transmission so that you can change the gears.

Changing the gears is done with a shifter in the cabin. When you move the shifter, it moves the gears to change which one is connecting the input and output shafts. Releasing the clutch pedal returns power to the wheels.

Automatic Transmissions

An automatic transmission does the same work as a manual transmission but can change gears itself. Most automatics have a torque converter, a fluid-based disconnect, instead of a clutch.

Automatics have to guess which gear your car should be in. For most driving, this is completely fine. However, some people prefer to have extra control, especially for performance driving. In which case, a manual is a better option.

Get Transmission Repairs and Services

Whether you drive an automatic or manual vehicle, you need to maintain your transmission. Come to Austin’s Pro Max in Spanaway for expert transmission repair and service. Find us on Mountain Highway East or call to schedule an appointment.

Written by Austin's Pro Max

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