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Automatic Transmission

Automatic Transmission – Everything You Need to Know About History and Technology

In the middle of the city, the traffic is miserable, and for ten seconds you have to press the clutch pedal, push the manual shifter into first gear and then stop again. Sounds familiar and pretty tedious. It is precisely in such driving conditions that the car with the automatic transmission is the most expensive. In addition to the increase in comfort, driving safety is somewhat increased, as the car is uphill, and moving the car from these few meters in advance is performed only by mild firing and pressing the brake pedal.

Over the last decade, automatic transmissions have experienced a real renaissance. Except for their durability, because theoretically, with proper use, they last at least three times longer than the power of the classic manual transmission, and the price is no longer balk. Even in the case of repairs, the difference was drastically reduced, given that the use of massive flywheels and the cost of replacing the manual clutch set went into the sky.

The second important item is a combination of performance and spending. Until 15-20 years ago, cars with automatic transmissions were in a completely subordinate position. But today, this is not the case anymore. Using dual-clutch automatic transmissions are better than compared to manual transmissions, and at the same time, they consume five to seven percent less fuel. Evidence of how much progress has been made is most noticeable in the case of super sport cars. Ferrari, Porsche, Lamborghini, BMW M models, Mercedes-AMG, Audi in RS racing … all slowly give up from the manual gearboxes. Their demand has long fallen to less than 20 percent, and the more frequent decisions are that some models are not offered with the manual transmission.

But how did everything go? The world’s first car with automatic transmission was the Oldsmobile Custom 8 Cruiser introduced in 1939, using GM Hydra-Matic, with automatic coupling and three hydraulically controlled planetary gear sets. It had a hydrodynamic torque converter, and its original designs made it possible to move forward and backward in two gears. The first ideas about automatic transmissions were set in the early 20th century, and patents with the then conceptual design solutions began to appear in 1923, and water was used as a driving force.

Standard PRND tags have been introduced to reduce the risk of drivers driving the car by being confused with the user system

One of the first regulations relating to automobile transmissions was introduced by the US government. They standardized the schedule of the automatic shifter, which is still valid today. The layout of the letters – PRND – was prescribed by law so that car manufacturers would not voluntarily determine the marks and thus confuse the drivers. Of course, Americans have been the driving force behind the automotive transmission trend since the very beginning, so their share in the market today is almost 99 percent. Europeans and Japanese have been opposed for a long time, but it slowly changes so nowadays it costs almost half of the total car market, while high-class sports and models are already considered standard.

With the classic automatic transmission, the basic part of the mechanism is the torque converter that connects the engine and the transmission. The main advantage of such a design is the reduction of the dynamic, especially the impact load on the engine and the whole power transmission mechanism. This makes less mechanical structural loads for the coupling, the shafts, the homokinetic and the cardan joints. Newer models have a lock in order to neutralize losses when driving at constant speed. The transmission itself includes planetary gears of individual gears, which are operated by a clutch controlled by the centrifugal controller.

CVT Automatic Transmission
CVT Automatic Transmission

The CVT automatic transmission principle

Second version of automatic transmissions is the CVT. Which has continuously variable transmission ratios, and he works theoretically without any shaking. The advantage of CVT’s automatic gearbox compared to the classic automatic gearbox is that it further reduces mechanical transmission power losses, while maintaining the engine at constant speeds during acceleration. This is why it is more efficient, with a further reduction in fuel consumption, and the main drawback is increased noise due to the engine running at a constant speed, which reduces driving comfort.

The DSG dual clutch transmission principle

The so-called semi-automatic transmissions are actually a kind of hybrid that uses the classic gearbox mechanism, but clutch operation and gear shifting control the electromagnetic device. They shift perfectly in time, so now there are two shafts and two couplings on the market. Steam gears are on one, and odd on the other shaft, so gear change is noticeably faster and smoother compared to the first versions.

The shortage of cars equipped with automatic transmissions is still a higher starting price, which is on average about $2000. Although in the theoretical conditions and with proper and regular maintenance it should take as long as the engine to the general repair, parts are still unkindly expensive so in the case of older cars, it is worth paying for a repaired or new automatic transmission.

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