Did you know that no one component in your car has more going on inside it than your automatic transmission?
Your vehicle’s transmission is the most complicated and least understood major component in your car or truck. In today’s cars, the transmission is a combination of sophisticated hydraulics and computer-controlled electronic components. Have you ever wondered what kind of transmission your car has?
Today there are over 200 transmission types on the road. Some car models may well have three or four types based on the engine size. Some car manufacturers will even change the types or designs of transmissions on different car models from year to year. Even worse is if the transmission has been changed since the car was originally made.
All in all, knowing your vehicle’s type will come in handy when you look for service information. Read on for some helpful tips on how to go about finding out what type of transmission your vehicle has.
For a bit of background knowledge, vehicle transmissions are either manual or automatic. Some vehicles use a clutch to connect and disconnect the transmission to the engine, controlled through a foot pedal next to the brake pedal. These vehicles have a manual transmission. Essentially, if you must shift gears yourself, you have a manual transmission. But if you place your car into drive or reverse to make it move, the transmission is an automatic. So if your car doesn’t have a clutch pedal, it has an automatic transmission.
OK, so now you’re ready to start deciphering which type of transmission you have. FYI, be prepared for some sleuthing around your car and a call or a trip to your auto dealership service department.
A great place to start is to locate your vehicles owner’s manual. The manual may indicate what type of transmission you have or may refer to both a manual and standard transmission option.
You can also lift up the hood of the car and look. Most cars have stickers under the hood that tell you what you need to know. Most cars will have either a 4, 6, or HEMI transmission in them. Those are the standard sizes that are available now.
Open the driver’s side door and find the white card on the side of the door that is filled with small black lettering. This card contains specific details about the year the car was made, its transmission, engine specifications and other details. Underneath or beside the “TR” symbol will be a number code. Call your local dealership service department or auto parts retailer to inquire about the transmission related to that number.
Lift the hood and locate the oil pan. Some automakers can be identified by their oil pan as they differentiate the shape of the oil pan for different transmissions. Automatic transmissions have oil pans that somewhat resemble the state of New Mexico. Notice the shape of the oil pan and if it has an odd shape, you have an automatic.
If none of these options work, write down your Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) and call your local Mister Transmission. They will put it into the computer and look it up for you. Or you can visit you local Mister Transmission and a mechanic can inspect the transmission and tell you what kind it is. This is the best option if your vehicle is having issues so you can get the right parts for the right transmission.