Anglin, Donald L. Consultant, Automotive and Technical Writing, Charlottesville, Virginia.
Last reviewed:November 2019
- Manual transmission
- Manual transaxle
- Automatic transmission
- Automatic transaxle
- Related Primary Literature
- Additional Reading
The device in the power train of a motor vehicle that provides different gear ratios between the engine and drive wheels, as well as neutral and reverse. An internal combustion engine develops relatively low torque at low speed and maximum torque at only one speed, with the crankshaft always rotating in the same direction. To meet the tractive-power demand of the vehicle, the transmission converts the engine speed and torque into an output speed and torque in the selected direction for the final drive. This arrangement permits a smaller engine to provide acceptable performance and fuel economy while moving the vehicle from standstill to maximum speed. The transmission may be a separate unit as in front-engine rear-drive vehicles or may be combined with the drive axle to form a transaxle as in most front-drive vehicles. See also: Automobile; Automotive drive axle; Differential
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