You might have learned as a young driver that manual and automatic transmissions require very different driving styles, with manual systems requiring the use of a clutch pedal. But what’s really happening underneath? If you don’t quite recall anymore, Dean's Automotive Service Center would love to refresh your memory. Anchorage’s best car mechanics have put together this rundown on how manual and automatic transmissions work, respectively.
Manual transmissions allow you to change gears at will, at the expense of a little speed. The clutch is what allows you to do so; this important mechanism is what disengages the active gear, and allows you to manually switch to another. You can’t switch to a gear while one is already in place—which is why attempting to do so without the clutch results in a horrendous grinding sound (and an expensive mechanic’s bill). Manual transmissions are able to switch between gears in order, according to certain gear ratios. For example, with one gear controlled by the engine, the first gear spins at a ratio of about 4:1 compared to the engine, second gear’s ratio is about 2:1, and so on.
Mechanics will tell you some of the most notable differences are that an automatic transmission has a torque converter instead of a clutch, and uses a planetary gear set. This complicated planetary gear set allows an automatic transmission to switch gears according to different gear ratios than in a manual system—and ends up creating a smooth driving experience you barely have to think about.
If you’re looking for a car mechanic in Anchorage for car maintenance or repairs, stop by Dean's Automotive Service Center. You can set up an appointment by calling (907) 276-5731. For more information about the local auto shop, visit their website.