In a few of the latest cars in the marketplace, you can change gears simply by pressing a button, turning a knob or toggling a small joystick. Yet at the same time, plenty of different vehicles still require motorists to use one foot for the clutch pedal and another for the gas, all when using one hand to manipulate the gear-shift lever through a definite pattern of positions. And many other current cars don’t possess any traditional gears at all in their transmissions.

But whether or not a vehicle has a fancy automatic, an old-college manual or a modern-day continuously Variable Speed Drive Motor variable transmitting (CVT), each unit has to do the same work: help transmit the engine’s result to the traveling wheels. It’s a complex task that we’ll make an effort to make a bit simpler today, starting with the fundamentals about why a transmission is needed in the first place.
Let’s actually begin with the typical internal combustion engine. As the fuel-air mix ignites in the cylinders, the pistons start moving up and down, and that movement can be used to spin the car’s crankshaft. When the driver presses on the gas pedal, there’s more fuel to burn in the cylinders and the complete process moves faster and faster.

What the transmission does is change the ratio between how fast the engine is spinning and how fast the driving wheels are moving. A lesser gear means optimum efficiency with the wheels moving slower compared to the engine, while with an increased gear, optimum performance includes the wheels moving quicker.
With a manual transmission, gear shifting is handled by the driver with a gear selector. A lot of today’s cars possess five or six ahead gears, but you’ll find older models with from three to six forwards gears offered.

A clutch can be used to transmit torque from a car’s engine to its manual transmitting. The various gears in a manual transmitting allow the car to travel at different speeds. Larger gears offer plenty of torque but lower speeds, while smaller sized gears deliver less torque and allow the car travel more quickly.