When it comes to purchasing a new automobile, we are now spoiled with choice. The quest for a car generally starts when you view a new automobile advertisement and realise its something you could be interested in. Then the hunt for more exciting options begins. However, every automobile has a unique set of characteristics, and it’s difficult to discern what’s what and what isn’t. It is even said that NASA’s Apollo 1 has fewer features than a current vehicle. Consider the decision to select the automatic transmission.
Don’t be concerned! I’ll attempt to assist you in your car-buying adventure by discussing which automatic gearbox is most suited to you. But first things first!
How exactly does an automatic transmission in a car work?
To have a better knowledge of the various automatic transmissions, we must first grasp how an automatic gearbox works. Everyone understands that an automatic gearbox changes gears automatically and does not require the driver to use a gear shift or clutch.
Allow me to describe an automatic transmission in a nutshell. The engine is linked to a torque converter, which is then linked to a gear system and finally to the gearbox. The gear system is known as a Planetary Gear system, and it comprises a Sun Gear in the centre and three planetary gears around it, all covered by a ring gear (thus the name). These components work together to form an automatic transmission.
What exactly is a torque converter?
Torque Converters are an important part of an automatic gearbox. Its operation is a little technical, but I’ll explain it as simply as possible. There are sections inside the Torque Convertor that function in cooperation with one another.
The flywheel, which is connected to the engine, is on the Torque Converter’s outermost side. The entire structure is rotated by this flywheel. The rotation causes the pump to expel fluid at a rapid rate. This fluid causes the turbine to spin. The fluid continues to rotate in a counterclockwise direction, divided into two pieces, and is kept spinning by a stator in the centre. The turbine is linked to the shaft, which is linked to the rest of the system.
The pump and turbine have grates, or holes if you will, in them that aid in movement. In the pump, the fluid enters one hole and is expelled at the speed at which the engine rotates, whereas in the turbine, the fluid enters the hole and pushes the turbine at the speed at which the fluid was ejected. The turbine turns in the opposite direction, absorbing the torque carried by the liquid. After the fluid has nearly little energy of its own, it travels to the stator, which pushes it towards the pump. After then, the energy is transmitted to the gear system.
Looks easy! Right? I’ve got something greater for you, fellas. The operation of the planetary gear system.
What is the Planetary Gear system and how does it work?
Personally, I consider this to be one of the finest inventions in the vehicle industry because it enabled automatic transmission. So, how does it work? Be I previously stated, it is referred to as planetary, since it is like what occurs in the cosmos. Planet’s orbit a star and revolve around it at different speeds. A planetary gear system comprises a sun gear, three planet gears, one ring gear that covers and connects the three planet gears, and one carrier that receives the output.
There are a few examples of how the gear system works. A basic grasp of equipment is beneficial here, but I’ll go over it. When two gears are connected, they must have the same speed; otherwise, the gear system will be destroyed because the teeth will cross over. If two gears must have the same contact velocity, this means that if their sizes are unequal, the smaller one will travel faster. This is a critical stage in the gear’s operation system.
Planetary gears are lower than solar gears. The pace at which the sun gear revolves will be slower than the speed at which the planet gear rotates, causing the ring gear to rotate faster than the sun gear. This enables for different velocities with just one available input.
The second possibility is that the ring gear remains fixed while the sun gear moves. Because the ring gear cannot be shifted, this forces the planet gear to move and turn.
There are a few more situations, but these two should be plenty to help you grasp how the system works. We still need to discuss the differences between Automatic Transmission subtypes.
What are the many types of automatic transmissions?
There are now two kinds of transmission systems. Both manual and automatic. And there are many sorts of automatic transmission, which I’ll go over.
Automatic transmissions are classified into three types:
- Dual Clutch Transmission (DCT)
- Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT)
- Automatic Manual Transmission (AMT)
DCT (Dual Clutch Transmission)
DCT, or dual-clutch gearbox, is a fascinating piece of technology. It is rather heavy due to the many moving components and gears. I’ll describe how it works in more detail below:
Consider the DCT with six gears. It contains two clutches that handle the even and odd gear ratios, with the first clutch controlling the odd gear set. It also contains two transmission shafts that regulate the gear ratios, which are already separated, with the odd one within the even one and being longer. It also features a component known as dog clutches, which are near the gear and engage when the gear ratio corresponding to them is required.
When the automobile begins, the engine starts, and the mode is switched to drive, the ECU engages gear one. This implies that the first clutch will engage and the dog clutch on first gear will function. The dog clutch the following second gear is likewise engaged, but it will not rotate its own shaft since the clutch for it the second gear is not engaged (there are two clutches, the main and the dog). This procedure continues, and this is how the dual-clutch transmission operates.
The benefits include increased driving comfort and efficiency. The gear switch is so smooth that there is no jolt while changing gears. And because there are no interruptions in this automatic transmission, it is more efficient. People who like manual transmissions for fuel efficiency may pick this up and go. DCT is also the quickest and is seen in high-end vehicles and racing vehicles.
CVT (Continuous Variable Transmission)
CVT lacks spirit. It’s not my words, but most motor heads think it’s a negative thing. Why? Because it produces no output. What exactly do you mean by output? Have you ever revved a car and felt the speed increase, or that moment when you swap gears when the RPM is exactly right and heard the sound it makes? If you enjoy those things but have never driven a CVT, you’ll despise it.
A pulley system is used in CVT. This pulley arrangement gives it an infinite gear ratio, allowing it to be more efficient than DCT in automatic transmission systems. The pulley length changes as the crankshaft speed changes, changing the gear at the same time. Even a millimetre movement in the pulley implies a new gear ratio is in play, thereby giving it an unlimited ratio.
AMT (Automated Manual Transmission)
AMT is India’s most successful automatic gearbox system. Maruti Suzuki sold over 6 lakh AMT-equipped vehicles. Does this imply that it is the best of the three? Actually, it is one of the weakest systems, and its sole benefit over others is that it is less expensive. So, what distinguishes it from the competition that allows it to be less expensive?
When you press a clutch, the engine is disengaged from the gearbox, allowing you to change gears, and this procedure is repeated every time you change speed. The clutch disengages automatically thanks to hydraulic actuators. Different gear ratios are adjusted as needed.
Which automatic transmission is the best?
Choose DCT. It is more expensive, and only high-end vehicles have it, but it is definitely worth it if you seek speed and smooth rides with a dash of fuel economy. It may nearly be termed a jack of all trades, but because of its higher price tag, it is not. Is it worth the price? Absolutely!
What should you do?
If you want to save money, opt for a CVT transmission. It has more efficiency than the other two systems and is a good choice since it has nearly no delay in gear shift and less moving components with almost no downtime. However, some individuals may not like it because they expect the car to give an output while driving to entirely enjoy the experience. However, if you drive from point A to point B, consider CVT.
DCT is superior to the others if you desire the experience of gears shifting and getting an output from the automobile, as well as rapid acceleration. It has a fair efficiency on its own, but when compared to CVT, it falls short.
AMT is a decent option since it is more common in entry-level vehicles and is less expensive than DCT and CVT. Although it is not as smooth as CVT or as quick as DCT, it has its applications.
Every mode of transmission has benefits and downsides. I hope I could assist you in understanding how all of this works so that you can make a more educated decision.