Car Transmission and Drivetrain Systems
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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You've proudly driven a stick shift all your life, so you already know that manual transmissions accelerate faster than automatics. End of story. Well, that was once true, but things have changed.
Manual, automatic, sequential, dual-clutch -- these are just a sample of what you'll see in this image gallery. Check out pictures of all types of transmissions right here.
Traction control helps limit tire slip in acceleration on slippery surfaces. Many of today's vehicles employ electronic controls to limit power delivery for the driver, eliminating wheel slip and helping the driver accelerate under control.
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.
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!
By Karim Nice
Manual transmissions use mostly helical gears, but reverse is a special situation that requires a different type of gear -- a spur gear. Learn why a spur gear makes a loud whirring noise when the car's in reverse.
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?