In very simple terms for people, an automatic transmission car means a clutch less and gearless car. It has been trending in the car market for quite some time now because of its advantages. It is preferred over the manual transmission so much that the manual transmission now accounts for only about 14% of new car sales in the USA.
Automatic transmission vs manual transmission
Why is automatic transmission preferred over the traditional manual transmission cars? The automatic cars can shift gears and apply clutch according to the driving conditions via an electronically controlled unit. It is like a computer with sensors. The benefit is that there is no more stalling in neck-to-neck traffic. In today’s world of ever-increasing traffic, it is hard for new drivers to control manual cars.
Combined with this, the busy lifestyle of people has led to people trying to learn to drive ASAP. But learning to drive a manual transmission car takes time as you need to practice holding the clutch properly in traffic and also shift gears according to need. So, new drivers always lean towards automatic cars.
In recent times, automatic transmission cars have also nullified the gap of mileage from their manual transmission siblings. Now, automatic transmission cars provide the same mileage if not more. So, no solid reason is there to buy a manual car over the automatic.
India is a big market for cars. There is always heavy demand and competition for cars here. Let us discuss in short what led to this increased popularity of automatic transmission cars in India.
As India is a huge base for car sales so all the manufacturers make an effort to gain popularity here and this has led to competition. Competition is always good for consumers as they get better products at the same price and also get more variety. In India, the same thing has happened. Maruti Suzuki, Renault, Hyundai and Tata have started producing automatic cars at cheaper rates than before so customers can buy automatic cars easily without burning a hole in their pockets.
How does an automatic transmission work?
Today’s automatic transmission is composed of a torque converter, multi-plate clutches, multi brakes, and brake bands. It has a revenue gear set which is a double planetary gear set. It has a small sun gear that mashes within three small gears which surround like planets. Over this are large sun and outer planet gears which are coupled with small planetary gears. There is an outer ring gear over this. Basically, an automatic transmission shifts gears through the locking of various components in this arrangement.
Lots of technical stuff! But lemme make it simple for you. In simple terms, the automatic transmission doesn’t have a clutch pedal and the clutch works automatically along with the gears. The setup can vary the speed by keeping the RPM same. If you rev the engine it will go to an RPM level and engage the next gear. Simple!
There are various types of automatic transmissions namely AMT, DCT, and CVT.
This can be said as the cheapest automatic transmission in cars. This is given in most entry-level automatic cars. It is almost 50% cheaper than fully automatic ones.
Cars that have an AMT gearbox cost a meagre 50-60k more than the manual variants.
The downside of this is it is not very smooth. It takes time to shift gears and sometimes gives a jerk. This gearbox doesn’t have a Parking mode that engages parking brakes automatically.
All the automatic gearboxes contain D, R and N modes which stand for Driving which makes the car move forward, Reverse which makes the car move backward and Neutral which doesn’t engage any gear. Other gearboxes also have Parking mode except AMT. Also most automatic gearboxes also contain a mode for manually shifting gears through paddle shifters which are present at the two sides of the steering.
DCT means a dual clutch transmission. One clutch controls odd gears like 1,3 and 5 and the other clutch will control 2, 4 and 6 in case of 6 speed gearboxes. A dual clutch reduces the time taken to shift a gear. Sometimes, you may feel it is faster than even the manual cars.
This transmission is now ready for use and is quite reliable now. Also, the mileage is great and not much less than manual transmission cars. This has Parking mode too
CVT stands for continuous variable transmission. The function of this gearbox is completely different from any other gearbox that we’ve mentioned. This gearbox comes with parking mode.
The defining feature of this type of automatic transmission is the smoothness in gear shifting. It is the smoothest of all in terms of gear shifting. In city usage, CVTs will give better mileage than even manual transmission cars. Cool, isn’t it?
Let’s sum it up. In this blog we’ve seen how the automatic transmission doesn’t need manual engaging of clutch and shifting gears and also how it works. Also, we have seen the benefits of automatic cars over the manual ones.
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