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An automatic gearbox for some is a necessity, for others it is a luxury.
The majority of automatic gearboxes are sequential, which means each gear is used in order, similar to a manual car starting in first gear, then second, third and so on.
Did you know that not all automatics are the same. Keep reading and you will soon be an expert.
These types of gearbox have been used in cars for decades and are what we all consider to be a standard automatic gearbox. Simply they use the torque generated by accelerating to activate the gear change. Put your foot down and the car goes up through the gears, slow down and the car goes back down the gears.
All of the mechanical gear changing is controlled by the engine control unit [ECU].
Semi-automatic gearboxes are typical of sports cars and are a rare form of automatic. Sometimes called clutchless systems, a semi-automatic gearbox is an additional option allowing the driver manual control over the gear selection. Cheaper models may not have an automatic transmission and instead require drivers to use gear selectors or paddles behind the steering wheel to select gears also known as flappy paddle gearboxes.
CVT automatic gearboxes mean continuously variable transmission. Continuous, because there are a series of pulleys and belts that controls the varying gear ratio to provide the best drive possible. This system is best for fuel economy and smooth acceleration as gear changes are seamless, offsets for this include engine noise and high-end performance.
The Tiptronic gearbox was first made in the 1990s for road cars, often nicknamed the manumatic. Similar to Semi-auto gearboxes Tiptronic transmission removes the clutch assembly and pedal and uses a torque converter, similar to a traditional auto to shift gears. Unlike most traditional automatics the gear selector is used to go up and down the gears.
The Direct Shift Gearbox is very similar to a dual-clutch system, the DSG has two clutches in the case that engages and disengages alternately when changing gears ensuring that two gears are always spinning so changes are so fast they’re almost unnoticeable to the driver.
DSG transmission in modern vehicles has also become so effective at shifting gears they have become more efficient than manual gearboxes. Where the DSG differs from a Dual-clutch is the use of transmission fluid making it a wet clutch gearbox, this lubrication helps with long term wear and tear.
The dual-clutch transmission has two clutches in the gearbox, one assigned to odd gears while the second manages even number gears. Changes are managed by the individual shifter instead of a torque converter. The double clutch makes changes faster and smoother at first, while the lack of transmission fluid used to reduce friction, also called a dry clutch, wear and tear on the components can cause gear changes to feel rougher as parts wear.