How Does An Automatic Transmission Work?

How Does An Automatic Transmission Work? | Willy's Transmission & Air Conditioning


In the balance between man and machine, the automatic transmission shifts the gears that drive our vehicles forward. Yet, for many, the inner workings of this automotive marvel remain shrouded in mystery.

Understanding the Basics

At the heart of an automatic transmission lies a complex system of gears, torque converters, and hydraulic controls. Unlike manual transmissions, where the driver manually engages, and disengages gears, an automatic transmission takes on this responsibility autonomously, adapting to driving conditions in real-time.

Torque Converters

The key player is the torque converter. Acting as a fluid coupling between the engine and transmission, the torque converter allows the engine to continue running even when the vehicle is stationary. It efficiently transfers power to the transmission, ensuring a seamless transition between gears without the need for manual intervention.

Planetary Gear Sets

Central to the automatic transmission's functionality are planetary gear sets. These intricate gear arrangements provide the necessary gear ratios for different driving conditions. As the vehicle accelerates, decelerates, or cruises at a constant speed, the automatic transmission adjusts the position of these planetary gears to optimize performance.

Hydraulic Controls

Hydraulic pressure plays a pivotal role in the operation of an automatic transmission. Transmission fluid, under varying pressure levels, engages and disengages clutches and brakes within the system. This hydraulic control is the wizard behind the curtain, allowing the transmission to shift gears without any perceptible interruption in power delivery smoothly.

The Elegance of Shifting

As the vehicle accelerates, the transmission seamlessly shifts through gears, allowing the engine to operate at optimal RPM ranges for efficiency and performance. This continuous adjustment of gears ensures that the vehicle delivers power when needed and conserves fuel during cruising, providing a balance between performance and fuel economy.

While we are on the topic of gearboxes, how is yours doing? If you aren't sure or have noticed any signs of problems, come by Willy's Transmission & Air Conditioning, and we will help out!


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