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Understanding How Automatic Transmissions Work

Until recent years, most passenger vehicles were equipped with manual transmissions. With the rise of the automatic transmission, driving has become more convenient than ever before. Over time, the many parts in your car’s transmission may require transmission maintenance. In extreme cases, an automatic transmission rebuild may also be used to restore your car to driving shape. By working with a transmission shop offering highly rated transmission repair in San Jose, you can ensure that the many parts of your transmission remain in peak working shape. Here is a closer look at the basics of how an automatic transmission works.

Torque Converter

The torque converter is among the most crucial components of an automatic transmission. Since an automatic transmission does not have a clutch system, the torque converter is used to allow the transmission to seamlessly cycle between gears. The torque converter transfers power from the engine to the transmission through a process that is known as hydraulic coupling. As the engine turns, its rotation sets the torque converter in motion.

Planetary Gearset

Along with the torque converter, the planetary gearset is another important feature of every automatic transmission. The planetary gearset contains all of the gears that are used to set the vehicle in motion. Since smaller planet gears rotate around a central gear, known as a sun gear, this type of gearset derives the basics of its design from our solar system. As the automatic transmission shifts, the planetary gears will move into different placements around the sun gear.

Transmission Bands and Servo Pistons

In order to keep the planetary gearset in place as it shifts between gears, each automatic transmission is equipped with either transmission bands or servo pistons. In a transmission band style transmission, metal bands are installed around the gear housing. As the band tightens or loosens, it will encourage the transmission to cycle between its various gears. Your transmission expert can provide you with more information about how your automatic transmission works.

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