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August 6, 2014

Standard vs. Automatic Transmissions

When shopping for a vehicle, you can purchase a standard, known as manual, or automatic transmission. Most cars are automatic, but many pick-up trucks and sporty cars will have a standard transmission. There are many differences between the two. It is important to know as much as you can about them before you begin your shopping trip.

Standard Transmission
What is it?
A standard transmission consists of interlocking gear wheels and a lever that enables the driver to shift gears manually. The driver will have a clutch and hand lever that allows them to switch to the different gears and change the power level that the vehicle is receiving. Many people refer to a standard transmission as a “stick shift”.

How does it work?
Basically, a driver must shift from gear to gear. The thing that makes everything happen is the force behind the clutch. There is friction that is caused between the clutch plate, clutch disc, and flywheel. The drive will push the clutch pedal down, and then pressure is applied to the diaphragm. The spring will then release and disconnect the clutch from the engine. When you take your foot off of the clutch, the springs then force against the clutch disc. The clutch disc presses against the flywheel. The engine and the transmission shaft are linked together, so they will then turn together.

Fuel Economy
With today’s gas prices, many people are trying to find the vehicle with the best fuel economy. Standard transmission vehicles do have a better fuel economy than automatic transmissions. This is due mainly to the fact that you are shifting the vehicle’s gears yourself. A standard transmission can improve gas mileage by 2 to 5 miles-per-gallon

Automatic Transmission
What is it?
Unlike the standard transmission, the automatic transmission automatically changes gears for the driver. These are easier to drive and are more common in vehicles.

How does it work?
One thing you will notice is that an automatic transmission does not have a clutch in the vehicle. Once you put the vehicle into drive, that’s it! The car does the rest by itself.

While a standard transmission is more difficult to drive, the automatic transmission is much more complicated. It all works because of a planetary gear system. This system has a sun gear, a ring gear, and 2 more planet gears. These gears are never physically moved and always are engaged to the same gears.

The engine’s power goes from the crankshaft to the flywheel an then into the transmission assembly by the torque converter. The torque converter is like the clutch. It automatically senses the power that is needed by the car.

Fuel Economy
The fuel economy really depends on the vehicle that you are getting. Some smaller vehicles have excellent fuel economy, as much as 34 miler-per-gallon, while other vehicles only get 15 to 20 miles-per-gallon.

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