Transmission Systems: What Are They and How Do Their Needs Differ?

automatic car transmission

Your Transmission Needs Attention, Too

Lots of drivers know that their cars need regular check-ups to keep them working well. But not everyone knows how often they should get their transmission checked.

Some owners drive their vehicles for years without ever performing a transmission service and are often shocked when their transmission fails. 

At Lamb's Tire & Automotive, we've seen it all and strive to provide helpful insight so that you can maximize your time with your vehicle and minimize the risk of mechanical failure. Performing a periodic transmission service on your vehicle can increase its fuel economy, promote reliability, and save money by avoiding mechanical breakdowns. 

Let's take a closer look at a few types of transmissions and how their needs vary. When you’re ready to take advantage of trustworthy transmission service, we encourage you to schedule an appointment at Lamb's Tire & Automotive today.

Your Transmission Can Last With Proper Service

Some drivers understand that their vehicle may have a transmission, but they may not understand what type of transmission they have and what its needs are. While you don't have to know the specifics of your transmission, such as who it's manufactured by, we recommend that every driver has a basic understanding of what type of transmission their vehicle has and its service needs.

Your transmission is a gearbox that is connected to your engine by a torque converter, and its job is to take the torque generated by your engine and transfer it to your wheels. To do this, your transmission features a set of gears that translate engine power to torque at different ratios. Depending on how new or old your transmission is, it can have a different number of gears. Older transmissions may only feature three or four forward speeds, while today's transmissions feature as many as 10 different forward gears.

Your transmission allows your vehicle to drive backward when you switch to “reverse.” Because transmissions are such vital components of a vehicle, a transmission malfunction or failure could effectively disable a vehicle. However, your transmission could last hundreds of thousands of miles with proper maintenance.

The Components of a Transmission 

There are many different components of a transmission, which include:

  • Gearbox
  • Clutch
  • Torque converter
  • Universal joints
  • Real axle
  • Propeller shaft

Not All Transmissions Are the Same

Not every vehicle features the same type of transmission gearbox. Here are a few of the most popular types of transmissions in today's vehicles:

Manual Transmission 

Known as a “standard gearbox,” a “stick shift,” or a “manual” transmission, this type of gearbox involves the driver manually selecting each individual forward gear with a hand-powered gearshift. As the operator drives, he or she will operate a clutch via a foot pedal that allows gears to be shifted without damage to the transmission or damage to the clutch. 

Driving a manual transmission is a bit of an art form and requires practice to operate smoothly. Due to the popularity of automatic transmissions, fewer and fewer vehicles are being produced with these types of gearboxes. 

Automatic Transmission

With an automatic transmission, the operator needs only to choose whether they'd like to drive forward or in reverse, and the transmission will select gears automatically. Using pre-mapped or on-the-fly shift mapping, an automatic transmission will row through its gears to meet the current power demands.

Dual-Clutch Automatic

A dual-clutch transmission is very much like an automatic transmission. However, dual-clutch automatic transmissions are designed to shift faster. These types of transmissions operate odd and even gears separately so that the engine never has to be disengaged as gears change. This allows for lightning-fast gear shifts and enhanced performance.

Continuously Variable Automatic

A continuously variable automatic transmission doesn't use fixed gears to move you forward but instead uses two pulleys and a belt system to create a wide range of gear ratios. Often intended to maximize fuel economy, this type of transmission continuously adjusts the torque ratio to your wheels depending on power demands. Unlike fixed-gear transmissions that are limited to their pre-designed gears, continuously variable automatic transmissions can change their gear ratios on the fly.

How Transmission Needs Differ 

Generally, we recommend that you perform a transmission fluid flush on your vehicle every 60,000 miles. However, we also recommend that you check your owner's manual to determine how often your vehicle manufacturer recommends that you perform a transmission service. Additionally, some dual-clutch automatic transmission systems use a “dry clutch setup,” which requires a different service than most other transmissions that use a “wet sump” setup. To learn more about what a transmission flush is and why it's essential for your vehicle's health, check out our detailed ”What Is a Transmission Flush?” guide.

Your Individual Needs Will Vary

While your owner's manual might recommend how often to perform transmission service on your vehicle, this figure is not set in stone. Your owner's manual will detail your vehicle's estimated needs depending on average driving conditions. Additional factors, such as towing, racing, or off-roading, may accelerate your vehicle's need for transmission service.

Schedule Service at Lamb’s Tire & Automotive

At Lamb's Tire & Automotive, we perform transmission repair and maintenance services on a daily basis. Our mechanics are ASE-certified and perform services on all makes and models of vehicles. Because we have such experience, we deeply understand your vehicle and its needs.

Whether you drive a hybrid with a continuously variable automatic transmission, a pickup truck with a heavy-duty automatic transmission, or a sports car with a manual transmission, our transmission shop is the best place to come for all of your automotive needs.

We even offer service coupons that help you save money on your most vital services. Schedule an appointment and trust all of your transmission-related needs to the experts at Lamb's Tire & Automotive today. 

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