How To Tell Your Car Transmission Type and Why It’s Important

The transmission information for your specific car is available in the owner’s manual or the car’s VIN. Your vehicle’s parts can also help you figure out your transmission type.

The article will provide a comprehensive overview of the various transmission systems, how to identify yours and why it’s crucial. Keep reading to find out more.

How To Tell Your Car Transmission Type

Why Is Knowing Your Transmission Important?

Knowing what transmission you have is crucial to maintaining your car, reducing service costs, buying the right fuel, and ensuring you don’t overload your vehicle.

Let’s take a look at how each of these factors play a part in your car’s performance.

Optimize Upkeep

Transmission maintenance is essential to your vehicle’s long life. However, because they are unfamiliar with their vehicle’s transmission, car owners frequently have a shallow understanding of the fundamental upkeep necessary to keep a gearbox operating without hiccups.

Reduce Service Costs

Putting off maintenance on your car until you have a major issue is not a good idea. A minor problem has the potential to escalate into a costly one.

Transmissions are similar to engines requiring routine maintenance to function reliably. However, it is not uncommon for owners to perform engine or air conditioner maintenance but neglect the transmission since they don’t know much about them.

Choosing the Right Transmission Fuel

Taking a step to know your car’s transmission equates to extending its lifespan. That’s because you’ll always purchase specific fuel designed for your car’s type transmission.

You can ensure efficient functioning and avoid problems such as:

  • Insufficient lubrication
  • Overheating

To Avoid Overloading Your Vehicle

Overloading might result in a failing transmission. If you are familiar with your transmission, you can double-check the car’s load capacity before setting out on the road.

One of the most frustrating things that can ever happen is having a faulty transmission while hitting the road.

Types of Transmission in Vehicles

Below are different types of transmission in vehicles.

Manual Transmission

Manual transmission requires the driver to shift gears physically. The number of gears in manual cars might differ. Normally, it falls between 3 to 6 gears.

Lower gear ratios result in more horsepower but a lower speed, while higher gear ratios result in less horsepower but a higher speed.

When driving a manual vehicle, the driver can select any gear ratio at any moment, for instance, changing from gear 5 to gear 3. But sequential transmissions typically found in sports give a driver the option of shifting up or down a single gear.

If you want your engine to have a longer lifespan, you ought to shift through the gears to achieve maximum power transfer.

Automatic Transmission

While manual implies using one’s hands, automatic means the vehicle will change gears without the driver’s intervention. It’s the standard shift mechanism for modern cars.

The engine revs higher when you step on the accelerator, causing the transmission to move faster. Consequently, it raises the oil pressure or triggers a sensor making the gearbox change into a higher gear.

That reduces the engine rotation speed, rendering the vehicle more fuel-efficient.

How To Tell Your Car Transmission Type

Where Do I Find What Transmission I Have?

Use the methods below to find out what transmission you have.

Using the VIN Number

To find out your vehicle’s transmission using a vehicle identification number (VIN), you’ll need to look at the base of the windshield found on the driver’s side. You should be able to locate a sequence of 17 characters, both alphabetic and numeric.

You can use this number to check up on details about your car, such as the type of transmission you’re using and the model of your car. You can receive your vehicle’s VIN from its manufacturer.

Reading the Owner’s Manual

It’s a good idea to reference the instructional booklet when searching for extra details about your car. Your car’s transmission is probably described there.

Some cars are made with distinct powertrains and drivetrains so customers can choose. That means that manuals will talk about various kinds of transmissions. For example, it might describe manual and automatic versions of the same car type.

If you can’t seem to locate your owner’s manual, there’s a digital version readily available. You can get this information on the owner’s section of your car’s manufacturer homepage. Additionally, these guides are available for no cost in PDF format.

Looking Under the Car’s Bonnet

If you have some skills in handling an engine, you might consider looking under the bonnet to determine your car’s transmission. You’ll check the codes printed on the different transmission parts.

You can learn more about the transmission system by jotting the codes on paper or photographing them. You’ll then have to present these codes to a dealership or do a search on a service website.

Checking Your Car’s Door Sticker

Alternatively, you can look at the sticker on the driver’s door to determine your car’s transmission. The majority of cars have two stickers on the driver’s door. Nonetheless, there may be some variation in sticker positioning from vehicle to vehicle.

One sticker contains tire guidelines like the optimum pressure for a certain weight. On the other sticker, you’ll find important information regarding your engine, such as the year of make.

You should check the sticker to determine your vehicle’s transmission type.

Oil Pan

Suppose the preceding alternatives do not work or the data is unavailable for whatever reasons. In that case, you can inspect the transmission oil pan by crawling underneath.

You’ll see a tiny card on the side which contains details about your vehicle’s transmission model and type.

Which VIN Number Is the Transmission Code?

Transmission types are often indicated by a number between the fourth and eighth digits of the vehicle identification number.

How To Read Transmission Tags

You can avoid the hassle of manually figuring out what your VIN means. No matter how old your car is, you can enter the VIN into a free online service and immediately get results on what kind of transmission your vehicle has.

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Author: Dave Johnston

Dave is a hands-on automotive technician with experience in performing service, diagnostics, and repairs on domestic and imported vehicles. He enjoys writing and sharing his knowledge far and wide.

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