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.

Want to know more?
Visit one of our locations

image-reviews image-reviews
Customer Reviews
Excellent! Cory there will take...
Marc Koechl
Excellent! Cory there will take care of anything you need that's transmission related. Excellent customer service!
Date: November 24, 2020
Website: Google
Steve is a great guy!!...
Frank S
Steve is a great guy!! very professional and honest, he knows his stuff and steered me in the right direction. Thank you very much for the great work you do!.. it's hard to find shops like this anymore.
Date: November 24, 2020
Website: Google
"Very honest in appraisal of...
Lino D'Agnone
"Very honest in appraisal of repair required and took the time to explain."
Date: November 23, 2020
Website: Google
Great service. Very Friendly
Casey Stevenson
Great service. Very Friendly
Date: November 23, 2020
Website: Google
Dealt with Jim he knows...
DAVID McQuarrie
Dealt with Jim he knows his stuff answer all my questions told me a few things I wasnt even aware of fixed a issue that no one would even touch even the dealer themselves vehicle was repaired and back to me in no time bill was more then reasonable I would recommend them to anyone no issues what so ever
Date: November 21, 2020
Website: Google
My VW Golf transmission was...
Steve Pearce
My VW Golf transmission was slipping, after going to 6 different mechanics and transmission places i ended up talking to Steve, He said to bring the car in the next morning. I was there on time and Steve had a hoist empty for my appointment. They put the car on the hoist and topped up the transmission fluid. They didn't try to sell me anything or tell me there were other things wrong with the transmission. I will not hesitate to take my car there if i have a future problem with it.
Date: November 21, 2020
Website: Google
The staff were friendly and...
Cameron Anderson
The staff were friendly and knowledgeable, and now my transmission is running better than it did before it started slipping. I was provided a courtesy car while mine was out of commission, and that meant I didn’t miss any work shifts. The warranty provided also helps give me a piece of mind that they stand behind their work.
Date: November 20, 2020
Website: Google
Loved this place... Can't remember...
Samet Bayat
Loved this place... Can't remember the last time I have had a great service
Date: November 20, 2020
Website: Google
I highly recommend Mr.T Kanata!...
K Mehv
I highly recommend Mr.T Kanata! Andrew is a true gentleman. His service was honest and professional. Will gladly take my Fiat back to this shop for any future diagnostics and servicing. A++
Date: November 20, 2020
Website: Google
Good place you can trust
Gn Ma
Good place you can trust
Date: November 20, 2020
Website: Google
Featured Services
Transmission Repair

The evolution of transmissions has made these machines and systems increasingly complex. When transmission repairs are required, determining the cause and cure for what ails can be tricky.

Read More
Transmission Technology

At Mister Transmission we have access to leading-edge diagnostic equipment, enabling us to offer you the fastest and most accurate findings about what’s going on inside your vehicle’s transmission.

Read More
Transmission Maintenance & Service

Just as you have other parts of your car serviced, your transmission needs maintenance to ensure a long life and avoid transmission problems.

Read More
Recent Blogs
5 Tips For Transmission Maintenance
Good transmission maintenance practices mean the difference between years of
Read More
November 25, 2020
Are CVT Transmission’s Difficult T...
You’ve heard of automatic transmissions. You’ve heard of manual transmissions.
Read More
November 18, 2020
How To fix A Slipping Transmission
What is the fix for a slipping transmission? It’s simple. Just pop the hood of your
Read More
November 12, 2020
What Are The Indications Of A Bad Torque...
The torque converter is an integral part of the transmission. However, torque
Read More
October 19, 2020
“What Transmission Do I Have?̶...
On this site you will see terms like “transmission overhaul”, “solenoid
Read More
October 5, 2020
How Do You Rebuild A Transmission?
The decision to rebuild a transmission is not to be taken lightly. While a
Read More
September 30, 2020
4 Things A Transmission Shop Can Do For ...
Transmission shops look after your transmission to ensure it runs as efficiently and
Read More
August 28, 2020
How Can You Tell Transmission Problems A...
The first step in solving any problem is to correctly identify its cause. The same is
Read More
August 21, 2020
What Are The Most Common Transmission Re...
Transmissions are incredibly intricate pieces of machinery. There’s a lot that goes
Read More
August 14, 2020
What Are The Benefits Of Transmission Se...
Just as humans have to see the doctor regularly, automobiles also need regular
Read More
August 7, 2020