Statistics recently came out saying that about 90% of cars produced for America now have automatic transmissions.  Just a matter of convenience for the American buying public evidently, because still, after all these years, the manual transmission is more fuel efficient and yes, more fun to drive.

So this article is for the 10% out there who still understand the beauty of a manual transmission but don’t know exactly how they work.  For all of you we will answer the question: how do manual transmissions work?

First of all, the transmission “transmits” power from the engine to the wheels.  A manual transmission has a clutch which is activated by the driver by pressing down on the clutch with the left foot.  The clutch is a round disc which grips the flywheel.  When the clutch is activated, it sticks to the flywheel, which causes the transmission to spin, which in turn spins the drive shaft and the wheels.

Inside the transmission are several gear sets, each using a different ratio.  The job of the driver is to select the gear that matches the speed of the vehicle. This first gear is used for starting from a standstill, and higher gears used as the speed increases.  The standard manual transmission of yesteryear only had three speeds. Today there are cars with ten.  Theoretically the more gears you have the more fuel efficient your engine will be.

For those of you who have never driven a vehicle with a manual transmission, remember that you cannot shift into another gear without first depressing the clutch pedal. Similarly, you cannot brake your vehicle without depressing the clutch pedal.  In an emergency situation where your brakes will not work, using the clutch and lower gears will help slow your car down until you can find a safe place to pull over as it drifts to a stop.

For those interested in doing car repairs, a manual transmission is an expensive purchase.  Buying a new transmission will run you between one and two thousand dollars, depending on the make and model of your passenger vehicle.  Then the cost of labor can easily be over a thousand dollars. Obviously, taking care of your transmission is a smart move.  Always check your transmission fluid levels so that those gears do not burn up.

If you should decide to replace your transmission yourself, always shop at your local salvage yard for the best deals on used transmissions. You can save up to 50% on used auto parts and in this economy, saving money is definitely a good thing, right?

All Import Auto Parts is the place to shop for quality salvage parts at great prices.