Upkeep of your transmission may save you money in the long run. Learn manual and automatic transmission basics, then move on to clutches, differentials and torque converters.
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Why do some dump trucks have extra moveable axles?

I see many dump trucks with wheels on two rear axles on the ground and a third axle with elevated wheels that can be lowered. These seem to be used when the truck is full -- but why include what must be expensive hardware to raise and lower the wheels? Why not just keep them down at all times?

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  • Car Smarts: Clutches

    Car Smarts: Clutches

    Clutches are in many things that you see or use everyday. The car you drive is just one example. If you drive a manual transmission car, you may be surprised to find out that it has more than one clutch. If you drive an automatic transmission car, well, you have clutches, too. How much do you know about clutches? See more »

  • Car Smarts: CVTs

    Car Smarts: CVTs

    The continuously variable transmission (CVT), which was conceptualized more than 500 years ago, is just now beginning to replace traditional automatic transmissions in some automobiles. Test your knowledge of how CVTs work in this quiz. See more »

  • Car Smarts: Differentials

    Car Smarts: Differentials

    Usually, differentials are where a car's power makes its last stop before spinning the wheels. They also enable those wheels to rotate at different speeds. Find out how well your wheels are spinning with the differential quiz. See more »

  • Car Smarts: Transmissions

    Car Smarts: Transmissions

    A car's transmission enables the engine to provide a wide range of output speeds. Without it, you'd be limited to just one gear. Test your knowledge of both automatic and manual transmissions in this quiz. See more »

  • How Automatic Transmissions Work

    How Automatic Transmissions Work

    Both automatic and manual transmissions accomplish exactly the same thing, but they do it in totally different ways. And it turns out that the way an automatic transmission does it is pretty amazing! See more »

  • How Clutches Work

    How Clutches Work

    You probably know that any car with a manual transmission has a clutch -- it connects and disconnects the engine and transmission. But did you know that automatics have clutches, too? See more »

  • How CVTs Work

    How CVTs Work

    In a regular transmission the gears are literal gears -- interlocking toothed wheels. Continuously variable transmissions, on the other hand, don't have interlocking gears. The most common type operates on a pulley system. Learn all about the smooth-operating ultra-efficient CVT. See more »

  • How Differentials Work

    How Differentials Work

    Car wheels spin at different speeds, especially when turning. The differential is what lets a car make turns with ease. Find out how this key component allows the wheels to rotate at different speeds. See more »

  • How Dual-clutch Transmissions Work

    How Dual-clutch Transmissions Work

    Most people know that cars come with two basic transmission types: manuals and automatics. But there's also something in between that offers the best of both worlds -- the dual-clutch transmission. Check it out. See more »

  • How Gear Ratios Work

    How Gear Ratios Work

    Gear ratios are what allow a car to reach a high rate of speed or climb a steep hill. Learn about gear ratios, gear trains and planetary gear systems. See more »

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