An Introduction To Manual Transmissions

Cars that are equipped with a manual transmission require the driver to maneuver a knob that controls gear switches. If you’ve never driven a stick shift, you may have a number of questions. For example, how exactly does moving the knob cause gears to change? And what makes the grinding noise when the driver doesn’t move it correctly? In this article, I’ll describe how manual transmissions work, answering those questions and others along the way.
Transmission Basics
First, let’s talk about why your transmission needs to switch gears while you’re driving. Car engines are limited by something called a “redline.” The redline is the highest number of RPMs that the engine can endure without failing (or bursting from the stress). When your car accelerates, it requires horsepower. That horsepower has a maximum efficiency at any given range of RPMs. By shifting gears, your transmission keeps the RPMs below your engine’s redline while leveraging the existing horsepower. Your transmission and engine are bridged by a clutch. In essence, the clutch is the connection between you, the transmission, and the engine. Also, keep in mind that the gear ratios shared by your engine and the drive wheels can vary in different gears. A 5-speed transmission changes the gear ratios as the driver shifts from first through fifth. Doing so allows the engine to make the best use of the available RPM range as vauxhall spares .
How To Shift Gears
If you’ve been driving a stick shift (or manual transmission) for awhile, you’ll be able to imagine the stick positions easily. From a top view, they looks like 2 capital “E’s” placed back-to-back. When the stick rests in the center, the transmission is in neutral. Shifting from neutral to first gear requires moving the stick to the top right. Second gear is located in the top left. Shifting through subsequent gears involves moving the stick to the middle right, middle left, and finally, lower right to shift into fifth.
As a point of interest (to some people, at least), it’s interesting to note that shifting the stick through the gears – specifically from left to right and back to left – uses different rods and forks, which engages different collars.
Learning To Love Manual
One of the reasons why many drivers enjoy manual transmissions is because they can better control the car’s power. They’re able to maximize the horsepower and torque available from the engine in a given range of RPMs, shifting to the next gear when it’s most efficient to do so. That said, driving stick shift isn’t for everyone. But, understanding how manual transmissions work in order to power a car can be valuable for any driver.