Facts About Automatic Transmissions

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Automatic transmission repair is sometimes necessary.  Your car’s automatic transmission is one of the most complex pieces of your car.  This article excerpt from Wikipedia gives a brief rundown of automatic transmissions.

Automatic Transmissions and Your Car


An automatic (also called automatic gearbox, or auto transmission) is one type of motor vehicle transmission that can automatically change gear ratios as the vehicle moves, freeing the driver from having to shift gears manually. Most automatic transmissions have a defined set of gear ranges, often with a parking pawl feature that locks the output shaft of the transmission.

Similar but larger devices are also used for heavy-duty commercial and industrial vehicles and equipment. Some machines with limited speed ranges or fixed engine speeds, such as some forklifts and lawn mowers, only use a torque converter to provide a variable gearing of the engine to the wheels.

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Battle Tested Automatic Transmissions

In their earliest form, in the 1940 Oldsmobile, they were known as ‘hydra-matic transmissions.’  They were even used in tanks during World War II.  General motors used that in a marketing campaign, where their transmissions were tested in battle.  In the US, automatic transmissions rule.  Most cars are equipped with them.  Ironically in Europe, manual is more preferred, with only about twenty percent of cars having automatic transmissions. As to how you can tell, look at the gear shift.

A manual transmission is numeric, with only a R for Reverse and a L for low gear.  An automatic transmission is almost all alpha, except for a 3.  If you’re like most people, you use only three of the gear settings on an automatic transmission:  D, R, and OD, or Drive, Reverse, and Overdrive.  The other gears remain unused and mysterious, except for more advanced drivers. Whether you have an automatic transmission or a manual, sooner or later you may need to get transmission service.

Trail Transmission specializes in transmissions, clutches, and other power train related repairs.  Give us a call at (480) 986-7367 or fill out our contact form.

Trail Transmission
11240 East Apache Trail
Apache Junction, AZ 85120-3529
(480) 986-7367

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