What is a Manual Transmission?

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Manual Transmission:

Manual transmissions are available in two basic types:


  1. A simple but rugged sliding-mesh or unsynchronized/non-synchronous system, where straight-cut gear wheelsets spin freely and must be synchronized by the operator matching engine revs to road speed, to avoid noisy and damaging clashing of the gears
  2. The now-ubiquitous constant-mesh gearboxes, which may include non-synchronized, or synchronized/synchromesh systems, where typically diagonal cut helical (or sometimes either straight-cut, or double-helical) gear sets are constantly “meshed” together, and a dog clutch is employed for changing gears. On synchromesh boxes, friction cones or “synchro-rings” are employed in addition to the dog clutch to closely match the rotational speeds of the 2 sides of the (declutched) transmission before making a full mechanical engagement.


The former type was standard in many vintage cars (alongside e.g. epicyclic and multi-clutch systems) before the event of constant-mesh manuals and hydraulic-epicyclic automatics, older heavy-duty trucks, and might still be found in use in some agricultural equipment. The latter is that the modern standard for on- and off-road transport manual and automatic manual transmission, although it’s going to be found in many forms; e.g., non-synchronized straight-cut in an exceeding racetrack or super-heavy-duty applications, non-synchro helical within the majority of heavy trucks and motorcycles, and certain classic cars (e.g. the Fiat 500), and partly- or fully-synchronized helical in most modern manual-shift passenger cars and light-weight trucks.



Manual transmissions are the foremost common. They’re cheaper, lighter, usually give better performance, but the most recent automatic transmissions and CVTs give better fuel economy. It’s customary for brand new drivers to be told, and be tested, on a car with a manual gear change. In Japan and many countries, a test pass using an automatic car doesn’t entitle the driving force to use a manual car on the general public road; a test with a manual car is required.[citation needed] Manual transmissions are way more common than automatic transmissions.

Manual transmissions can include both synchronized and unsynchronized gearing. For instance, reverse gear is sometimes unsynchronised, because the driver is just expected to interact with it when the vehicle is at a standstill. Much older (up to 1970s) cars also lacked synchronization on low gear (for various reasons—cost, typically “shorter” overall gearing, engines typically having more low-end torque, the intense decline a frequently used gear synchronizer…), meaning it also could only be used for moving removed from a stop unless the motive force became adept at double-declutching and had a specific have to regularly downshift into very cheap gear.


Low Ratio:

Some manual transmissions have an especially low ratio for first, called a creeper gear or granny gear. Such gears are usually not synchronized. This feature is common on pick-up trucks tailored to trailer-towing, farming, or construction-site work. During normal on-road use, the truck is sometimes driven without using the creeper gear the least bit, and gear is employed from a standing start. Some off-road vehicles, most particularly the Willys Jeep and its descendants, also had transmissions with “granny first’s” either as standard or an option, but this function is now more often provided for by a low-range transfer gearbox attached to a traditional fully synchronized transmission.

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