Transmission Quiz


About This Quiz

"Varoom! Varoom!" Without your transmission, that's about all your car would do while you sit idle in your driveway. Your transmission is made up of the parts within your vehicle that help connect the engine to the wheels. It allows for your engine and wheels to move safely under torque and with variable speeds. In short, that number you love to read about with sporty new cars, the 0-60 m.p.h. - well, thank your transmission for speeding up the process.

Just over ten years ago, nearly half the cars on the market were available in both manual and automatic transmission; now, that number is around 20%. And for those manual lovers, you only account for about 3% of the drivers out on the road. To understand your transmission, how it works and that it even exists is something of specialists now. If you can answer questions such as, "what connects the gears to the drive shaft?" or what a "CVT" or "clutch pedal" is, it means you are among the elites when it comes to transmission knowledge.

So, let's rev up your transmission knowledge and get your wheels in motion. The questions on this quiz will get your gears moving you from 0-60 in three seconds flat.

A manual transmission is connected to the engine through the:

The clutch connects the transmission to the engine. The input shaft of the transmission therefore turns at the same rpm as the engine.

What connects the gears to the drive shaft in a manual transmission?

The collar can slide left or right along the shaft to engage one of the gears.

In a manual transmission, how does the collar engage a gear?

Dog teeth on the collar fit into holes on the sides of the gears to engage them.

What do manual transmissions in modern passenger cars use to eliminate the need for double-clutching?

A synchronizer's purpose is to allow the collar and the gear to make frictional contact before the dog teeth make contact. This lets the collar and the gear synchronize their speeds before the teeth need to engage.

What two things do automatic transmissions lack that manual transmissions have?

An automatic transmission lacks a clutch pedal and gear shift. Once you put the transmission into drive, the car does everything else for you.

What creates the different gear ratios in an automatic transmission?

As opposed to a manual transmission that has many different sets of gears, an automatic transmission's planetary gearset enables the same set of gears to produce all the different ratios.

In most automatic transmissions, which gear produces a 1-1 ratio?

Most automatic transmissions have a 1-1 ratio in third gear.

What feeds the transmission cooler and torque converter in an automatic transmission?

Located in the cover of the transmission, the gear pump feeds the transmission cooler and the torque converter. It also draws fluid from a sump in the bottom of the transmission and feeds it to the hydraulic system.

What tells the automatic transmission how fast the car is going?

The governor is connected to the output, so the faster the car moves, the faster the governor spins.

In an automatic transmission, the shift lever hooks up to the:

The manual valve is what the shift lever hooks up to. Depending on which gear is selected, the manual valve feeds hydraulic circuits that inhibit certain gears.

CVT stands for:

A continuously variable transmission is a type of transmission with nearly infinite gear ratios.

A continuously variable transmission is a type of:

The continuously variable transmission is based on the automatic transmission.

What does a tachometer do?

The tachometer tells the driver how fast the engine is moving, measured in rpms.

What is the redline?

The redline, which is usually illustrated on the tachometer, tells the driver when the engine is moving so fast it is at risk of damage.

How does the redline relate to the transmission?

If the tachometer’s needle approaches the redline, the driver should change to the next gear to reduce the engine’s speed.

What type of modern transmission is generally best for fuel economy?

Though manual transmissions were traditionally the most efficient, the latest CVTs are helping auto manufacturers boost their fuel economy numbers.

What is the “H” that’s on top of many manual shift knobs?

The “H” (or a similar shape) is a diagram that shows the driver where to move the lever for each gear.

Why is the CVT so common in hybrid cars?

The CVT is designed to help the engine run as efficiently as possible, which maximizes fuel economy better than a manual or a regular automatic.

If you shift a manual transmission into reverse while the car’s going forward, what happens?

Since the reverse gear moves in a different direction than the other gears, the dog teeth won’t engage and the car can’t go into reverse.

What happens if a four-wheel drive vehicle is towed?

If a four-wheel drive car or truck is towed with wheels on the ground, it will damage the transmission.

What kind of car usually needs a transmission cooler?

In most vehicles, the transmission fluid is enough to keep the transmission from overheating. The transmissions in tow vehicles work extra hard, and a transmission cooler helps it perform at its best.

Should a transmission cooler be installed by a mechanic?

Transmission coolers usually come in kits with everything a do-it-yourselfer needs to perform the installation.

How do you know if your transmission fluid is leaking?

A leak from the transmission will leave a slick puddle underneath the front middle section of the car.

What color is a transmission fluid leak?

Fresh transmission fluid is red, but older fluid often has a brown tinge.

When was the CVT first thought up?

The CVT was first conceptualized more than 500 years ago, but it took a long time for engineers to actually make it cost-effective and efficient.

What’s the recommended interval to change transmission fluid?

Transmission fluid should be kept fresh for best performance, which means changing it every two years or 30,000 miles, whichever comes first.

Do CVTs actually have a gearbox?

Even though the term “gearbox” is sometimes used interchangeably with “transmission,” continuously variable transmissions actually use a pulley system instead.

Why do automatic transmissions sometimes feel slow or sluggish?

When a car is accelerating hard or under heavy throttle, the automatic transmission can have a hard time keeping up.

We already established that cars with automatic transmissions do not have a clutch pedal. But do they have a clutch?

Even though the driver doesn’t need an extra pedal to operate the clutch, it’s still an important part of an automatic transmission car.

Why do some people believe that manual transmissions are faster or provide better performance?

Manual transmissions tend to be preferred by people who drive sports cars, so a higher percentage of sports cars offer manuals, which in turn makes some people believe they’re better.

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