Transmission Types and History of Development

By Mister Transmission

From starting with manual transmissions, to the introduction of automatic transmissions in 1939 – learn about the evolution of the modern transmission.

The transmission in automobiles is a system of parts usually contained within a housing, connecting the engine to the wheels. Suitable torque, or turning force, is generated by the engine only within a narrow range of engine speeds, i.e., rates at which the crankshaft is turning. However, the wheels must turn with suitable torque over a wide range of speeds. While its speed is held roughly constant, the engine turns an input shaft on the transmission whose output shaft can be adjusted to turn the wheels at an appropriate speed.

Manual Transmission

The manual transmission is the simplest (and earliest) of transmissions, and consist of a system of interlocking gearwheels. These wheels are arranged so that by operating a lever the driver can choose one of several ratios of speed between the input shaft and the output shaft. These ratios are called gears, first gear being the arrangement that gives the lowest output speed, second gear the next lowest, and so forth. To allow smooth shifting from one gear to another, a clutch is provided to disengage the engine from the transmission. The commonly used dry single disk clutch has a steel disk with a friction lining that is sandwiched between a flywheel on the engine shaft and a pressure plate on the transmission input shaft. When the driver takes his foot off the clutch pedal, springs squeeze the friction disk into the space between the flywheel and the pressure plate, enabling the engine shaft to turn the transmission.

For many cars and for normal driving conditions a transmission with three forward gears and one reverse gear is sufficient. In cars having small engines transmissions with four or five forward speeds are used; racing cars often have as many as six forward speeds.

Synchromesh Transmission

A synchromesh transmission is a manual transmission in which all forward gear wheels are held in mesh at all times. Used on most American cars with a manual transmission, it allows the driver to shift gears more smoothly and makes the car run more quietly.

Automatic Transmission

The automatic transmission, introduced in 1939, switches to the optimum gear without driver intervention except for starting and going into reverse. The type of automatic transmission used on current American cars usually consists of a fluid device called a torque converter and a set of planetary gears. The torque converter transmits the engine’s power to the transmission using hydraulic fluid to make the connection. For more efficient operation at high speeds, a clutch plate is applied to create a direct mechanical connection between the transmission and the engine.

The introduction of microprocessor-controlled electronic sensors has enhanced the performance of automatic transmissions still more. Data about engine speed, exhaust pressure, and other performance characteristics are sent to a processor that controls the changing of gears and the clutch plate in the torque converter via electrical switches, or solenoids. New approaches to transmission design combine the best features of manual and automatic transmissions to provide more efficient ways of channeling engine power to the wheels.

Manumatic Transmission

A manumatic transmission is an automatic transmission with an added manual-shift mode; typically, a floor-mounted shifter offers an alternative selector path supplemented by buttons mounted on the steering wheel.

Continuously Variable Transmission

A continuously variable transmission (CVT) uses a belt that connects two variable-diameter pulleys to provide an unlimited number of ratio changes and uninterrupted power to the wheels; CVT transmissions offer better fuel efficiency than conventional automatic transmissions, which change the transmission ratio by shifting gears.

Sequential Manual Gearbox

A sequential manual gearbox (SMG), developed for Formula One cars, uses computer-controlled actuators to operate the clutch and change gears when prompted by the driver; both manual and automatic modes are possible, and there is no clutch pedal.

Dual Clutch Transmission

The dual clutch transmission (DCT), also called the direct shift gearbox (DSG), substitutes dual clutches for the conventional single-sided clutch to transfer power from the engine through two parallel paths; the gearbox features two sets of gears, identical to those in conventional manual transmissions—one set being the odd gears (1st, 3rd, 5th) and the other the even gears (2nd, 4th, 6th)—the gears must be shifted in sequence, and power to the wheels is never interrupted.

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Customer Reviews
Wes was very knowledgeable and...
Mike Webster
Wes was very knowledgeable and helpful and kept me informed throughout the repair. It was a pleasure to deal with such a professional automotive repair shop. I wholeheartedly recommend them for any transmission issues.
Date: September 22, 2022
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Virginia Tang
Our car broke down upon when we return home. End up car need to get tow to this store. Staff are very friendly and owner PJ is very helpful. He explained very clear about the problem and shown his expertise.They really relieved our stress.
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Glenn Gibbons
Chris and his staff provided excellent service. Quickly diagnosed problem ,clearly explained the repair. estimate was accurate and vehicle was repaired in time framed promised. highly recommend them .
Date: September 22, 2022
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Malcolm Ogley
Very happy with Carlo and the work he does. He has worked on both my vehicles and no issues. Will keep going back
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Great service and friendly staff. Definitely will come for servicing my truck again
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TJ Deering
Had a great experience from the first phone call, very friendly staff. Highly recommended!
Date: September 21, 2022
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I have a Toyota rav4...
Kashmir Maan
I have a Toyota rav4 2013 Symptoms were , low speed shudder between 35-45 Km Dealer told me that it has problem with torque converter .So it has to be replaced . the cost would be $2000 . Suddenly I called Mr Giorgio .He at once ask me to come to his shop . He took test drive . Then he told me he will fix it without changing torque converter . He did it . He saved me $1650 and did an excellent job . I am fully satisfied with his services . He is a very professional and honest person . I would highly recommend that you visit Giorgio and his team for assistance with any issues you may have with your auto
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Sean is amazing. Very sincere and honest. I highly reccomend this location. I trust them 100%. Thank you.
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Scott Bullock
Highly recommend this location! I don't normally post these but Ken was extremely helpful with my repair. He answered every one of my questions. If your car has a problem, go to this location, Ken will fix your problem
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Gee Bee
Aki and the boys know EXACTLY what they're doing. You pay for that knowledge and experience. But it is worth every penny. I just have to remember to drop by more than once every 3 years! Lol
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