Switching Gears: How Your Manual Transmission Works

When Minneapolis metropolitan area drivers ask about transmissions (specifically, manual transmissions), the conversation usually involves these two questions: how do they work, and why do they cost so much to repair? Kennedy Transmission has the answers you need.

This complex engine component consists of three main parts: a clutch, a gear selector, and various shafts. They all work together to help the car change gears and reach a certain speed. If the system fails, your car won’t be going anywhere anytime soon.

Getting in Gear

When the car is idling and the gearshift is in neutral, it can’t go anywhere until you press down on the clutch and apply the gas. Pressing the clutch pedal and putting the gear shift into first gear forces a shifting rod to move the selector toward first gear. The gear is mounted to the crankshaft in your engine, which ultimately sets your wheels in motion using the driveshaft.

The car doesn’t go into gear until the synchronizer meshes with the gear, making sure the two shafts spin at the same speed. When you press down on the gas and lift your foot off the clutch, the engine receives more power and the car moves.

Each gear has a specific size and only allows so much output before you must shift to the next gear up. Thus, the reason why driving a stick is so difficult: You have to manually adjust the gears. In automatic cars, this whole process is automated internally, meaning less work for the driver.

Changing Gears

As you accelerate, you’ll upshift into higher gears. When slowing down, you’ll downshift to get your desired output. Your output needs to change based on where you are on the road and whether you’re going uphill or downhill.

You can also double clutch by moving the stick to neutral, then moving it into gear. The pause allows the two shafts to sync without relying on the internal synchronizer. It’s a handy shortcut, but—like the stick shift itself—it takes practice to master.

Manual Transmission Repair at Kennedy Transmission

If your transmission is slipping or failing to shift properly, the automotive repair and maintenance experts at Kennedy Transmission can help. Let us inspect your vehicle and find out the root cause of the problem.

If the gears grind while shifting or strange whining sounds occur while driving, it’s time to take it into the shop. Our trained technicians in Apple Valley, MN, and the surrounding Minneapolis metropolitan area will identify the problem, make the repairs quickly, and get you back on the road.

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