Understanding Different Automatic Transmission Systems

5 April 2022
 Categories: , Blog

Buying a new car? You will be spoilt for choices because of the many options available. Therefore, you will need to consider several features and aspects to narrow down the many options to your best buy. Take, for instance, the vehicle's transmission system. Although your choice may come down to personal preference, automatic transmission systems are the primary choice for most people compared to their manual counterparts, and for good reasons. They offer easy drivability, better driving comfort from clutch-free shifting, good fuel economy and greater performance, among other benefits. However, automatic transmissions are also of different types with different mechanisms, pros and cons. This piece provides an in-depth guide to the different auto transmission systems you will find in the markets.

Traditional Automatic Transmission (Torque Converter)

As the name suggests, this is one of the oldest and most standard automatic transmission systems. It replaces the functions of a clutch in a manual transmission system, connecting your engine and the gearbox. Its top benefits are smooth and quiet shifts, owing to its hydraulically controlled planetary gearset. This fluid-driven functionality also allows for more torque, particularly at lower revs. However, the transmission can be heavier on fuel than its counterparts. In addition, gear shifts may also not be the fastest compared to other transmission systems.

Dual Clutch Transmission

Dual-clutch transmission systems (DCT), also referred to as direct shift gearbox transmission or DSG, are popular automatic transmission technologies available. As the name implies, this transmission system relies on a twin-clutch system for even and odd gears. It works by pre-selecting the next gear in advance, allowing for continuous and quick shifts between gears. For instance, upon the first gear being engaged, the even clutch will automatically pre-select the second gear without engaging it. These quick gear changes are some of the top benefits of DCTs. In addition, because there are no breaks in the transmission between gears, DCTs are also efficient. However, maintenance and repairs can be expensive because of their mechanical complexity.

Continuously Variable Transmissions

Also referred to as CVT, these transmissions rely on a system of pulleys and belts instead of conventional gears. Their operating mechanism allows for infinite gears depending on throttle and speed input. The elimination of conventional gears allows for seamless and incredibly seamless gear changes. Their simple mechanism makes them efficient, reliable, and less prone to costly repairs. However, while subjective, CVTs tend to offer lower engagement levels than alternatives like DCTs, which may not be ideal for a car enthusiast. In addition, they may be affected by the rubber band effect, which is essentially a lag between the throttle input and the power being transmitted to your wheels.

For more information on automatic transmission services, contact a company near you.