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Mystery of Automatic Transmissions







Do anyone know what makes a vehicle ‘vehicle’? I mean it’s a known fact that it has engine and it runs on fuel. But one thing that makes a vehicle a vehicle are the gear shift synced to that engine. Yes (finally), I was talking about gear shift or transmissions but you never bothered to know about it. Anyways, nowadays there are various types of transmissions available. There is especially a hoard of automatic transmission available in the market (obviously with the car). But they all seem to be so confusing aren’t they? There is CVT, tiptronic and what not. I don’t know about you but I’m confused for sure. So, today let’s try and solve the mystery behind the automatic transmissions. So let’s deal with them one by one.

1)  Paddle Shift Transmission:

Out of all the automatic transmissions, the one which I have seen in most of the vehicles is paddle shift transmission. To be honest this is not at all an automatic transmission. But before going there, let’s try to scratch its inception. The paddle shift transmission was invented by Ferrari for F1 racing which now caters to various other bigger brands as well.  Not really though, paddle shift could also be seen in some of the cars by not so big manufacturers. So now, how does this automatic gear system work? By the way the reason I said that these paddle shift transmissions are not automatic at all lies under its working. These paddle shifts are in general gears without clutch pedal. Usually the driver fits the paddle shift behind the steering wheel or centre console. Now the driver, just by flicking these paddle shifts, can change the gears. This ultimately means that it takes over the exact work which a driver will normally do with the help of clutch and gearbox. However, the only problem attached with these types of transmission is that, they usually result in a jerky progress. If you really want to look at what this gear type looks like then you can probably see the one available in the Honda Civic or even the Honda City.

2)  Tiptronic:

These are one of the most underdog types of transmissions. Why so? Because, these types of transmissions are amongst the costliest transmissions and hence, rare because of the same reason (cost).  Usually, in order to change the gear, what does a driver do? First he gets hold of the clutch and then pulls the gear shift to the next level, right? But when we talk about the Tiptronic gear shift, one doesn’t have to do all that. The clutch in the car fitted with a Tiptronic gear shift is automatic. So, one has to only use throttle in order to increase the speed. But what the driver has to do actually? All a driver has to do in order to change the gear in such type of transmission is push the gear selector forward for up-shift and downward for downshift. Now the advantage of a Tiptronic gear shift over the other automatic gear shifts is that, it tends to give more power in the hands of the driver. This more power is a result of the result of more control. Just imagine, ended are those fuzzy days when you had to struggle with the transmission option available in your normal car as now the Tiptronic gear shift is here. Now lets come back to reality and face the heat that this type of transmissions are way above costlier than the any other automatic transmission (at least the cars with Tiptronic gear shifts are). If you really want to know how this gear shift looks like then I’m afraid you have to be satisfied with the picture illustration we have provided until and unless your dad is a millionaire. Anyways, this type of gear shift could be found inside Volvo S80. To add to the “aww”, this gear shift also has a feature wherein, just by shifting maps in the control unit, the gear shift will automatically shift according to the style of driving.

3)  Continuously Variable Transmission:

So, you looked at the picture provided and mistook it for the conventional automatic transmission. That had to happen as there is not much of difference between the two. So firstly, let me tell you what is the main difference between a CVT and conventional automatic transmission? The conventional automatic transmission has fixed ratios while the CVT doesn’t. The drive in the CVT goes through two variators and a V shaped steel belt. And the ratios are electronically held according to the throttle position and load on the engine.

Usually in the normal gearbox or any other automatic gear box whenever the car accelerates, it makes noise accordingly. But a CVT equipped car will not make a sudden change in the noise because the CVT holds the engine at the best possible rate for acceleration. But generally CVT’s are not advised for high speed as it will deter its fuel efficiency. Reason being they consume the hydraulic power. Also, the amount of torque is limited. Actually this all is because of the fact that everything is totally dependent on the amount of friction between belt and variators. But on the positive side, CVT’s makes less noise. They are much more compact than the conventional automatic gearshift, hence they take less space. It also improves the ride quality.

4)  Dual Clutch Transmission:

The idea behind the Dual Clutch Transmission is very simple, which is that, in order to provide a better and uninterrupted flow of torque the dual clutches share the gear ratio. This flow of torque is sent from the engine to the wheels, so by twin clutch one tends to get a better control of the car. All the even ratios are shared by one clutch while the odd ratios are shared by the second clutch. Just for your information in the Dual Clutch Transmission equipped cars, while accelerating for the second gear, with the help of dual clutch the engine has already selected third gear. This really enhances the ride quality and makes it much more efficient and super fast. This type of automatic transmission is usually found in top class cars because their main focus is performance. Check out the Porsch 911 PDK, Porsche’s speak for dual clutch.

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One Response

  1. Very interesting article just what I wanted to my research about the mysterious of the transmission

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