If you own a car these days, it most likely has an automatic transmission in it. Manual transmission cars are getting to be less and less common as automatic transmission design continues to improve. But do you know what an automatic transmission does? The friendly team here at Key Transmission and Gears in Sheridan, Colorado would like to explain a bit about automatic transmissions for your vehicle.
Some people may think that because the driver doesn’t have to manually change gears in a vehicle with an automatic transmission, the car never changes gears. But that isn’t the case. Instead, an automatic transmission shifts the gears automatically so that the driver doesn’t have to.
There are a few types of automatic transmissions with the most popular being hydraulic. A fluid coupling is used instead of the friction clutch, and the transmission changes the gears hydraulically. Continuously variable transmissions and semi-automatic transmissions are also available but are not as common.
Obviously, a significant advantage of an automatic transmission over a manual one is that the driver is required to do less. In theory, this makes our roads safer as drivers should be able to keep both hands on the wheel at all times. Instead of having to remove one to shift, they can devote their full attention to the road and not have to keep an eye on the tachometer, thinking about when to shift.
The automatic transmission also makes it possible for people who don’t have use of all their limbs to drive. The driver only needs two limbs to drive an automatic, whereas a manual typically requires all four. Cars can also be modified inside so that the driver can choose whichever two limbs they use.
If all of this sounds great, you might be wondering why manufacturers are still making manual cars and why some people still choose to drive them.
For starters, because of the way automatic transmissions function, there is a reduction in mechanical efficiency when transferring power between the engine and the drivetrain. Plus, a general reduction of control over the engine occurs. An automatic transmission can sometimes lag a bit in changing gears, while a manual gives the driver full control.
This disparity is even greater in city driving and comes with a drop in fuel efficiency. Continuous improvement in transmission and coupler design has lessened that drop in fuel efficiency considerably, but a manual transmission still gets better gas mileage. Plus, sports car and race car drivers still prefer the extra control over the engine that a manual transmission affords.
The experts at Key Transmission and Gears in Sheridan are always on hand to help answer any questions or concerns about automatic transmissions for your vehicle. If it’s been too long since your last tune-up, give us a call today to have your transmission checked out. It is always easier to address problems earlier rather than later and usually ends up being a far less expensive repair.
Call or contact us today to schedule an appointment.