While most Americans aren’t interested in making driving even more complex, much of the rest of the world prefers manual transmission. Americans have their gear-shifting taken care of for them — so most get away with not even knowing what it means. The idea of an automotive transmission starts with the fact that an engine must operate within a certain range of revolutions per minute (RPM.) If the RPM gets too high, the engine can blow apart — leading to a lot of smoke and very little movement.
What Does the Transmission do?
If you know how a 10-speed bicycle works, a manual transmission is more or less the same principle. In a car, the engine rotates a bar called the input shaft, around which several gears are placed. These gears connect with an opposed set of counter-gears. You’ll notice most gears and counter-gears are different sizes, giving you a number of gear to counter-gear size ratios. This is how the transmission selects how much of the engine’s power is being channeled into each rotation of the wheels. By spinning a very small gear on the input shaft against a very large counter-gear, you’re making the small gear spin a number of times for each revolution of the counter-gear. This revolution is then channeled out to the wheels via the drive shaft.
What Advantages Does Manual Have?
Since you get to choose how much force your wheels carry, manual basically means more control. With the option to shift into lower gears, manual drivers can get up hills, through water, and over ice more effectively… and with generally greater fuel efficiency. If you’re interested in learning more about manual transmissions, head to ABRA Auto’s website.