Transmission Parts

By Mister Transmission

Transmission parts knowledge for people researching how transmissions work.

A transmission is an impressive puzzle to most drivers, made up of many intricate connections among a multitude of transmission parts. The complexity of these parts and how they fit together is intimidating, especially if you’re facing transmission repairs and you don’t understand what’s happening or why.

While we need to trust our transmission mechanics to take care of the specifics, knowing a little bit about the transmission parts that might be malfunctioning can help to set your mind at ease during the transmission repair process.

The first step to a basic understanding of transmission parts is to understand the purpose of the transmission as a whole. Your automatic transmission is responsible for transferring the power of your engine to the drive shaft and wheels so that your car can move within its optimal range of revolutions per minute (RPM). The transmission maintains this optimal range by shifting transmission gears as you drive faster or slower.

 
The main transmission parts that need to work together are:
  •     Planetary Gear Sets
  •     Hydraulic System
  •     Torque Converter
  •     Computer
Planetary Gear Sets

Manual transmissions use a clutch to connect the engine and transmission. They require the driver to shift the transmission gears, which means actually moving the gears in a somewhat linear, sliding transfer to engage with the coordinating gears needed to maintain the proper RPM ratio. Automatic transmissions keep the transmission gears in one place, in a more circular structure. This is not unlike a small solar system, hence the name Planetary Gear Sets.

Using the combination of an outer ring gear, a central “sun” gear, and two or more smaller “planet” gears, which are all constantly meshed together, the transmission takes over the gear shifting from the driver. Much like the solar system, the sun gear is in the centre and remains stationary and the smaller planet gears engage with it and the ring gear to keep the car moving smoothly.

The ring gear is connected to the input shaft, which brings power from the engine. The planet gears exist within a casing or carrier that is connected to the output shaft which carries power to the drive train and wheels. The planet gears are also connected to a clutch pack. The sun gear is connected to a drum, which is connected to the other half of the clutch pack.

Transmission clutch packs are a series of disks, half with splines on the outside edge, and half with splines on the inside edge. These alternating disks are made to fit together to lock and turn together. They do this using hydraulic functionality.

Hydraulic System

All of the transmission parts are constantly submersed in transmission fluid. This fluid is manipulated to create pressure, which pushes the transmission clutch pack together at the right time. A complex system of tubes moves the fluid around the transmission and torque converter to create this pressure. The transmission hydraulic system has three main purposes: to help control transmission gear shifting, to lubricate the transmission parts to prevent friction damage, and to keep the transmission cool. The fluid pressure within the transmission must be maintained at all times to prevent damage.

The tubes that transfer the transmission fluid have two major external seals at the front and back. The seal at the front protects the connection with the torque converter and the rear seal contains the fluid where the transmission meets the output shaft. Seals are made of neoprene. Within the transmission exists another type of seal, called a gasket, which connects and protects two stationary transmission parts. Gaskets may be made of any of a variety of materials, such as rubber or silicone. Seals and gaskets can harden over time, which might cause leaks and a drop in transmission fluid pressure, both of which can lead to damage to the transmission.

Torque Converter

When driving a manual transmission, the driver must engage the clutch or shift into neutral when the vehicle comes to a stop, such as at a red light, or the engine will stall. The torque converter in an automatic transmission allows the engine to continue running when the vehicle is stopped yet still in gear. Torque is defined as a force that causes rotation. The torque converter uses the pressure of the transmission fluid to control the rotation of its parts. When you are stopped at that red light, one half of the torque converter is turning while the other is stationary. When you accelerate, the fluid pressure forces the other half to spin in conjunction with the first half so that vehicle moves forward.

Computer

In most cars today, a computer controls the transmission’s function allowing all vehicle systems to work together for optimum fuel economy and power. As many as 30 sensors read all of the various factors such as vehicle speed, engine temperature, engine speed, etc, that control transmission gear shifting to ensure the optimal shift points are used.

The many transmission parts in your vehicle may remain a puzzle, but understanding some of the basics can help you to have a more informed conversation with your transmission mechanics before leaving it in their capable hands.

As Gene Lewis at the Moncton Mister Transmission says,

“We’re the specialists, transmissions are all we do.”

 

If you are experiencing a problem with your vehicle’s transmission, please contact your local Mister Transmission and book an appointment for our FREE 21-Point Multi-Check Inspection.

For a more in-depth explanation, please visit our Transmission School

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Customer Reviews
Took my 2012 Nissan Altima...
Jasbir Singh
Took my 2012 Nissan Altima to the dealer in Mississauga because the car wouldn't pick up speed properly. They said the transmission needed replacing and gave me an estimate that was really expensive. Another customer in the waiting area at the dealer recommended I try Mister Transmission so I called the store in Brampton because it was close to my work. I am very glad I did. They fixed my problem for a lot less and they were very professional in explaining what was wrong. I picked up my car 3 days ago and it is working great now. Thank you Mister Transmission.
Date: September 20, 2020
Website: Google
Great place. Fast delivery on...
Christine Dickson
Great place. Fast delivery on parts.
Date: September 19, 2020
Website: Google
My truck transmission blew out...
J
My truck transmission blew out on a Saturday morning, I contacted them early afternoon. Mark (owner)told me best to get it towed asap to the shop,which I did.He contacted me on the Monday and informed me the damages.Was a major rebuild.On the following Friday the truck was ready and drove like new.They contacted several times informing me about prices,very professional and knowledgeable. Always answered my questions and the price was amazing compared to anyone out there.I wouldn't hesitate to send anyone to this place,top notch service and very friendly service!!
Date: September 19, 2020
Website: Google
If your looking for the...
S OB
If your looking for the best service and work ethic, in Alberta, these guys are it. Transmission shops are notorious for bad reputations. I own a 2003 custom land rover and trust it with basically no one but these guys now. I waited for 3yrs to find the right people to do the work. They not only did what I asked, but way over and above. Mel is an absolute pleasure to deal with.I was referred to Excel by Family that own Popo and Sons on Lacombe. Best advice in yrs.
Date: September 19, 2020
Website: Google
Excellent service
Michael Gardner
Excellent service
Date: September 18, 2020
Website: Google
Was convinced I had a...
Jonathan Campbell
Was convinced I had a transmission failure and was prepared for a big bill but they spent the time to diagnose that it wasn't transmission related. Let me know where to go with no charge. Very honest.
Date: September 17, 2020
Website: Google
Called Friday afternoon and booked...
Clarence Benson
Called Friday afternoon and booked me in for 8am Monday.👍
Date: September 17, 2020
Website: Google
I remember my father always...
Chris W.
I remember my father always saying go to Mr. transmission and luckily for me I didn’t need their services until 20 years later.They’re still solid, knowledgeable, professional & very helpful. Steve offered recommendations but wasn’t trying to sell or push services on me. Will return in the future.
Date: September 15, 2020
Website: Google
Gary at North Bay transmission...
Colleen Whalley
Gary at North Bay transmission was amazing. My 2016 Rogue had some major issues. He was able to find a second hand one. These are common issues with the Nissans CVT transmissions. Which after speaking with Nissan doesn't seem to be a concern. Repairs all total $7600 plus rental $575. Gary ensured that i received their rate from Enterprise. It was suspected that the awd unit had leaks/issues. When I went back for the 10 day check after repair. It was confirmed the awd needed some repair. When I brought it back in for that repair. Gary did not charge me the cost of taking the unit out again. He absorbed the almost $600 i would have been charged. I was treated with respect and fairness! Their estimatex time frames for work completion were kept. Keep up the good work Mister Transmission in North Bay!
Date: September 15, 2020
Website: Google
It is a rarity when...
Renee Lauzon
It is a rarity when you come across an honest mechanic who puts looking out for your vehicles safety and longevity as well as the the owners best interests firsthand. Although I was not happy with the news that I received from Kris (honest mechanic) he did help me get my lemon (my SUV) on the road again and even offered to inspect my next used vehicle prior to purchasing it FOR FREE!!! When was the last time you received a diagnostic check on your vehicle without having to pay?I thought Kris was a straight forward, no BS, and very kind mechanic that everyone wit a vehicle needs!!! Thank you Mister Transmission, You are my newest BFF!!!🤗
Date: September 13, 2020
Website: Google
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