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 a 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!
Both the automatic transmission (plus its torque converter) and a manual transmission (with its clutch) accomplish exactly the same thing, but they do it in totally different ways. It turns out that the way an automatic transmission does it is absolutely amazing!


Location of the automatic transmission

In this article, we'll work our way through an automatic transmission. We'll start with the key to the whole system: planetary gearsets. Then we'll see how the transmission is put together, learn how the controls work and discuss some of the intricacies involved in controlling a transmission.