What Transmission Do I Have? Types, Pros & Cons

Most motorists know what kind of an engine they’ve acquired. Even so, the same simply cannot be mentioned about the transmission. It is still extremely critical to know what kind of gearbox you have, however. That will aid diagnose it, get the proper fluid, and conserve cash on repairs. A modern-working day automobile can both be equipped with a guide or an automatic device, which can be more damaged down into CVTs, AMTs and, say, twin-clutch methods.

Each and every solitary transmission type has its execs and negatives, and we’ll cover all that in this guidebook. Next, we’ll understand how to simply and precisely determine the transmission variety in your vehicle. Ultimately, we’ll go over the expense of a manufacturer-new unit, how significantly automobile shops demand, the rewards of a fluid alter, and far more.

car and road dividerWhat Does a Transmission Do?

The limited response is—the transmission tends to make the motor spin at the specific appropriate fee. On prime of that, it controls how significantly electrical power/energy generated by the motor the wheels get (with the engine nevertheless running quickly). With out a properly working transmission, you will not be capable to change gears. That, in turn, will put additional force on the motor, worsen the fuel efficiency, and possibly even lead to a catastrophe.

Bear in mind: the gearbox tends to make confident the motor does not overheat. When the transmission is malfunctioning, that qualified prospects to a deficiency of reaction, shaking, and inability to start the car. But knowing the specific variety of transmission installed in your vehicle will make it easier to repair it.

mechanic draining the old automatic transmission fluid
Image Credit: PongMoji, Shutterstock

Figuring Out Your Transmission Type: A Detailed Guide

If you’re wondering—how can I inform what transmission I have—we’re satisfied to say that it doesn’t consider considerably energy to determine this out. There are a couple of tried-and-true methods that will help:

  • Owner’s Manual. This is the first place to check. If you still have the manual around, it should include all the necessary information.
  • The White Card. Open the front left door (the one on the driver’s side) and locate the white card. There, you’ll find info on the car’s model year, engine specs, and transmission details. There should also be a “TR” symbol there with a code. Get in contact with a local dealership and use that number to learn your transmission type.
  • Check The Oil Pan. This one doesn’t always work, but it’s still worth a try. Crawl under the car and find the oil pan. Do you see a card on its side? That’s what you need!
  • The VIN Number. Every single car has a vehicle identification number. You can find it on the white card or the insurance/registration papers. Another common spot for it is on the dashboard, right where it meets the windshield. It’s meant to be read from the outside, not the inside. The VIN is a bit tricky to decipher. So, again, contact the local dealer. Or go to a specific website for decoding VINs.
  • Use a Year/Make/Model Tool. We’re talking about websites like this one or this one where they provide info on a large number of transmissions. Just pay a quick visit, enter the serial number, and the search tool will let you know what kind of transmission it is.

Manual vs. Automatic Transmissions: What’s the Difference?

At the coronary heart of an computerized transmission lies a torque converter. When you’re getting speed, it jumps up a gear and when you gradual down the automobile, it drops to a lower equipment. As the title implies, this gearbox does almost everything autonomously: all you want to do is hold your arms on the wheel. But what about handbook transmission, although?

They’ve been all around for a whole lot lengthier and are still somewhat much more common than their computerized counterparts. A guide gearbox is constructed about a clutch. You decide on which equipment you want to shift to and disengage the clutch to make that take place. This does take some acquiring employed to.

Learning About the Different Types of Transmissions

With the principles out of the way, let’s talk about the various transmission kinds. Here are the choices accessible with a manual transmission:

  • Dual-clutch (DCT). As the name suggests, you get two clutches instead of one. Clutch #1 handles the odd gears, while the other one controls the even gears. These transmissions are generally found in older vehicles. In modern-day cars, most of the “heavy lifting” is done by the onboard computer, making the dual-clutch mechanism partially automated. Single-clutch systems are also available, but they’re not at all popular.
  • In many ways, this unit is similar to the previous one. Only this time around, the clutch (manual at its core) is operated by built-in sensors. AMT gearboxes are very common among heavy-duty SUVs and trucks, as they’ve proven to be both reliable and efficient.
  • Also known as the constant mesh transmission, the synchronized system is very easy to use. It’s all about the constant movement of the main shaft, drive, and cluster gears.
  • Back in the day, these were called the “non-synchro” transmissions. Much like the dual-clutch mechanism, they are not in great demand these days.

automatic transmission

Next, we have got automatic gearboxes. Here’s a complete checklist of the obtainable configurations:

  • Standard Automatic (AT). Designed back in 1921, automatic transmissions with torque converters are the new normal. As mentioned, they don’t require any effort on the driver’s side and handle everything autonomously. They can be a bit rough, though (depending on the vehicle), and lag behind manual units in terms of fuel economy.
  • Continuously variable transmissions deliver their best performance when combined with small-car engines. Originally introduced for ATVs, CVTs have a very strong presence on the market today (including the market of hybrid cars). Compared to a traditional automatic transmission, a CVT is smoother and more fuel-efficient.
  • Have you ever heard of the intelligent manual transmission? Technically, it’s considered an automatic gearbox, but while it doesn’t have a clutch, you will still have to switch between the gears manually. Manufactured by Hyundai, the iMT is a worthy alternative to AMT and CVT.

Do Automatic Transmissions Last Longer?

No, it is in fact the other way all around. Though automated transmissions are much less difficult to work, they have a shorter lifespan in contrast to guide transmissions. Dependent on the motor vehicle, the engine, your driving design, and other variables, the big difference in the lifespan can be as huge as 2–3 a long time. Manual gearboxes are also safer, a lot more reliable, cheaper, and have a tendency to be a little bit more gas-effective.

How Much for a New Gearbox?

The price tag range is very massive here, but on average, you can anticipate to pay out between $one.2K and $5K. A fluid alter will only set you again $100–250. Leaks, in change, can be fixed for even considerably less: $150–200. Now, if you are on a relatively restricted price range but nonetheless need to have the faulty factory gearbox changed, think about heading for a used or rebuilt unit. That will cost you a great deal less, around $two.5K.

While it won’t previous as prolonged as a brand-new transmission, it is still an excellent substitute. Or you can inquire the mechanic to repair the defective unit. If it’s not outside of repairs, that will expense $250–1.4K. But ahead of you pay for everything, get estimates from 3–5 vehicle retailers. This way, you will be in a position to get the ideal offer.

How Much Do They Charge for Labor?

This relies upon on the complexity of the occupation, the area that you live in, and your automobile, between other things. With that explained, the average automobile store will demand $750–1K to have the transmission changed. Generally, it will take a licensed mechanic 2–3 several hours to get this carried out.

disassembled car automatic transmission

How Often Should the Fluid be Changed?

If you’re the very pleased proprietor of a big, bulky SUV or truck and it is equipped with a guide transmission, you will have to adjust the fluid every 25–30K miles. In distinction, automatic transmissions set up in a tiny or medium-sized vehicle will only require a “refill” as soon as you go above the 60–100K mark. To be 100% certain that it is, certainly, time to acquire new gearbox oil, here’s what you can do.

The primary job of any fluid is to lubricate the mechanical areas and avert overheating. Nevertheless, more than time, it gets confused by sludge and metallic shavings. When that takes place, the coloration goes from vibrant pink to one thing else. So, how do you check out this? It’s genuinely easy: open the hood, discover the dipstick, and pull it out. If the fluid is brown or black, that indicates it is time to flush it.

car and road dividerConclusion

You really don't want to be caught off-guard when it is time to modify the fluid, correct the transmission, or purchase a new gearbox, right? Then you need to have to know what transmission you have put in in the auto. This does not need any high-priced resources or difficult operate. Just adhere to our guide, have some endurance, and you’ll uncover the solution! Transmissions occur in all styles and measurements.

So, initial, see if it’s a handbook or an automated gearbox. That ought to give a fundamental comprehension. Then, using all the understanding that we realized right now, you can figure out no matter whether it is an iMT, DCT, synchronized, or any other variety of transmission. Push safely, don’t overlook about normal maintenance checks, and we’ll see you next time!


Showcased Picture Credit: Oteera, Shutterstock