In some of the latest cars in the marketplace, you can shift gears by simply pressing a button, turning a knob or toggling a small joystick. Yet simultaneously, plenty of different automobiles still require motorists to make use of one foot for the clutch pedal and another for the gas, all when using one hand to manipulate the gear-change lever through a distinct design of positions. And many other current cars don’t have any traditional gears at all in their transmissions.
But regardless of whether a vehicle has a fancy automatic, an old-college manual or a modern-day Variable Speed Drive Motor consistently variable transmitting (CVT), each unit has to do the same job: help transmit the engine’s output to the traveling wheels. It’s a complex task that we’ll try to make a bit simpler today, starting with the fundamentals about why a transmission is needed to begin with.
Let’s actually start with the typical internal combustion engine. As the fuel-air combination ignites in the cylinders, the pistons start moving up and down, and that movement is used to spin the car’s crankshaft. When the driver presses on the gas pedal, there’s more fuel to burn off in the cylinders and the complete process moves faster and faster.
What the transmission does is change the ratio between how fast the engine is spinning and how fast the driving wheels are moving. A lesser gear means optimum functionality with the wheels moving slower than the engine, while with a higher gear, optimum performance comes with the wheels moving quicker.
With a manual transmission, gear shifting is handled by the driver with a gear selector. A lot of today’s cars have five or six forward gears, but you’ll discover older models with anywhere from three to six forward gears offered.
A clutch is used to transmit torque from a car’s engine to its manual transmitting. The various gears in a manual tranny allow the car to visit at different speeds. Larger gears offer lots of torque but lower speeds, while smaller sized gears deliver much less torque and invite the car travel quicker.