It could be said that a vehicles transmission is everything from the back of the engine through to the road wheels or driving wheels of the car. How to get all the power from the engine to the wheels is however not as easy as it sounds, and this has proved to be an enormous challenge for the car makers and their engineers. Here we look at just some of the major components that make up the vehicles transmission system.
Gearbox– The heart of the transmission is the gearbox, and gears are very helpful in machines of all kinds, they are a simple way to generate more speed or power or even to go off in a different direction. It takes a massive amount of force to get a car moving from a standstill and an engine that tries to go at top speed, right from the word go, won’t generate enough force to do it. That’s why cars need gearboxes. Changing gears is about using the engine’s power in different ways to match changing driving conditions. The driver uses the gear change to make the engine generate more force or more speed depending on whether hill-climbing power, acceleration from a standstill, or pure speed is needed.
Clutch – The clutch components are hard working often overlooked parts that enable you to separate or split the drive from the engine to the wheels, this in turn allows you to change gear. The clutch is usually operated by a hydraulic system and usually consists of three main parts, the clutch cover, the clutch plate and the method of actuation, either a release bearing or a concentric slave cylinder. Self adjusting clutches are fitted to many vehicles today, they give excellent and consistent driving comfort throughout the life of the clutch units.
How long should a clutch last? – the answer is usually down to how the vehicle is driven, but many of today’s components can last well in excess of 100,000 miles.
Flywheel – This is bolted directly onto the crankshaft of the car’s engine, traditionally the flywheel has been a solid mass that carries the ring gear which is used to start the vehicle. The flywheel is also the working area that provides the platform for your clutch to function correctly.
Dual Mass Flywheel or DMF – Many modern cars and vans are fitted with DMF’s, especially vehicles fitted with diesel engines. The DMF is a flywheel in 2 parts, containing springs and dampers and this allows the flywheel to act as a shock absorber within the transmission system to reduce engine vibration and improve economy.