One of the biggest things that has always separated drivers is whether they prefer an automatic transmission (sometimes known as a "slushbox", because of the characteristic "slushy" feel it creates when shifting between gears) or a standard transmission (often called, for more obvious reasons, a "stick shift").
There are a number of benefits to the standard transmission, but the prevailing reason that most people get them is because they prefer them. Car enthusiasts enjoy the feel of being able to control what gear they're in; it makes them feel closer to the vehicle. People who just want to drive and don't care much about how the car works usually prefer the automatic trannie.
If you have ever driven a car with an automatic transmission, then you know that there are two big differences between an automatic transmission and manual transmission:
- There is no clutch pedal in an automatic transmission car
- There is no gear shift in an automatic transmission car. Once you put the transmission into Drive, everything else is automatic!
The need to shift from manual to automatic transmission
The key difference between a manual and an automatic transmission is that the manual transmission locks and unlocks different sets of gears to the output shaft to achieve the various gear ratios, while in an automatic transmission the same set of gears produces all of the different gear ratios. The planetary gear set is the device that makes this possible in an automatic transmission. Driving a manual transmission is especially painful in stop-and-go traffic, where you constantly have to change your gear state. You might also make the case that having to concentrate on shifting your transmission takes some of your attention away from the actual driving, which is dangerous, because you might be concentrating on your tachometer or your gearshift when you really should be focusing on the traffic. An automatic transmission bypasses these problems entirely.
Advantages of automatic transmission
- It's a lot less work because you don't have to worry about juggling the gearshift with the clutch.
- You don't need to worry about stripping your gears.
- Car will never stall during gear shifting.
Limitations of automatic transmission
- Indirect contact of the torque converter causes the power loss during transmission.
- The ‘killer’ of automatic transmissions is heat. Excessive heat causes the fluid to lose its ability to lubricate, which leads to higher internal-component friction, all resulting in rapid wear-and-tear and premature transmission failure.
- Complicated planetary structure makes the transmission heavy and easily broken.
Being able to drive a stick-shift means more than just understanding your gears, however. That's because to shift gears, you usually don't just move the shift lever and be done with it. (You can do this sometimes, but it's not recommended in day-to-day driving, and we'll get to it later.) Instead, you have to press the clutch pedal while you shift. . Keeping the transmission and its fluid cool, and in the correct operating-temperature range is crucial for long life.