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What is a Transmission Assembly?
Let’s get the basic stuff out of the way first: A transmission assembly is just a longer and fancier way of saying transmission. And a transmission is one of the most vital elements of your car.
So, what exactly does a transmission do? Well, in theory it’s pretty simple. The transmission assembly is responsible for two primary tasks. First, it routes the power created by the engine to the drive wheels. In other words, the transmission is the middle man that allows the car’s power to actually move the car.
Second, the transmission manipulates the engine’s output to make sure that the power is available at the driving range. The engine is only capable of producing the right amount of power at certain speeds, and that’s where the transmission plays a role. Most transmissions use gears of varying sizes. This allows the transmission to alter the torque multiplication and output speed, which keeps the engine running smoothly and efficiently.
There are four major types of transmissions. There are the common ones, that you’re probably familiar with: Automatic and manual. And then there are two modern iterations, the continuously-variable transmission (CVT) and the dual-clutch transmission (DCT).
Let’s take a closer look at each type. Manual transmissions, also known as stickshifts, have parallel shafts with gears of different sizes. The driver manually shifts between gears.
Automatic transmissions utilize planetary gear sets. A computer, called the transmission control module, operates planetary gear controls (such as clutches and bands) that operate the gear sets, so that the driver doesn’t have to do any work (beyond, you know, driving).
Most CVTs use belts and pulleys to control output speeds, rather than gears. And DCTs work similarly to manuals, but with the shifting controlled by a computer, rather than by your right hand and left foot.
Okay, take a deep breath. You made it through. If you’re completely lost, that’s cool too, just take my word for it: the transmission is really important.
Symptoms of a failing Transmission Assembly
Check engine light
It’s just a little light. What could actually go wrong?
Do you actually want me to answer that? Because a lot. A lot can go wrong, and a lot will go wrong if you ignore one of the most important warning lights in your dashboard.
The check engine warning light can signal a lot of different issues in your car, including a problem with the transmission. So, cut out that silly habit of ignoring it.
Do you really need to be told that leaks are bad? They’re not good for your sink, and they’re definitely not good for your car. Now I can’t help you with your sink, but a leak in your car is not a good sign. It can be the result of many different things, since your car uses a lot of fluids. One of those fluids is transmission fluid, which serves as a lubricant and coolant for the transmission assembly.
If you’ve ever learned how to drive a stick shift, the first time was probably a little embarrassing. Well, if it’s starting to feel like that first time again, it’s probably because your transmission is having an issue. An issue with the transmission may result in difficulty getting the car in gear in a manual transmission. In an automatic, CVT, or DCT, a transmission assembly malfunction could result in slipping, which means the engine RPMs will increase, even though the car isn’t accelerating. Not fun.
You know those old roller coasters on wooden tracks? They’re fun, right? But only at an amusement park. If your car feels like one of those roller coasters, and is shuddering and shaking, then you may have a transmission problem. This is a common effect of a malfunctioning CVT or DCT transmission.
Transmissions can make a variety of different noises. Automatics will often make a whining noise while manual transmissions are known for making uncomfortable grinding noises. If you notice either of these noises, or a growling noise, then you may have a transmission issue…or maybe you should eat something.
How urgent is a Transmission Assembly Repair?
Transmissions are vital. Your car can’t function without one. If the transmission assembly is starting to go, your car will not drive as well. If you ignore the failing transmission, the issue will get worse and worse, until the transmission fails altogether. At that point, you’ll have an even more serious issue on your hands, and you’ll start doing damage to your engine.