In part one of a three part series on car components, this article will explore the automatic transmission. Part two will cover clutches and part three of our series will explore what a differential is. First off, let’s give you a bit of history here.
Who Made the First Automatic Transmission?
Surprisingly, the first automatic transmission was a compressed air transmission patented in 1921 by a Canadian engineer named Alfred Horner Munro. The first transmission to use hydraulic fluid however, was developed by General Motors in the 1930’s. They were used in World War II and of course, GM billed them later on as being battle-tested.
Automatics slowly starting achieving prominence in the 1950’s, and started slowly displacing manual transmission installations. The modern automatic transmission is even more sophisticated than its predecessors.
Can I Find An Automatic Transmission in Any Vehicle?
Depends on where you are for one thing. The automatic transmission isn’t universal. While automatics are very big in America, in Europe, stick shifts are way more common. In fact only 20% of all cars in Europe have automatics. In Asia and Australia, automatics are slowly starting to achieve prominence, however. If you have an automatic, you’ll need transmission repair sooner or later, owing to the complexity of a modern transmission.
While there are only eight parts in an automatic transmission, these parts in turn are very complicated. The eight parts of a transmission are: the torque converter, the pump, the planetary gear set, clutches and bands, the valve body, plus the hydraulic or lubricating oil. The planetary gear set is called that because the gears within the unit essentially orbit a central gear called a sun gear.
If you are encountering issues such as slipping, or grinding, it usually means one or more of the above components is starting to go bad. And with such things, the longer you wait, the more you increase your risk of your car just locking up. So, make sure that you pay attention to your car’s warning signs, and get your car in for transmission repair as soon as possible.
Trail Transmission is a transmission repair shop servicing the greater Mesa area.
11240 East Apache Trail
Apache Junction, AZ 85120-3529
Car Components Part I: Automatic Transmission
Car Components Part II: Manual Transmissions and Clutches
Car Components Part III: Rear Differentials