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What Transmission Do I Have?

Simply put, ‘what transmission does my car have’ can’t be answered without first determining what a transmission is. A transmission takes care of your wheels. It distributes the right dosage of power to each wheel depending on your acceleration.

Hence, it is through the transmission that the car goes slower or faster. It is an integral part of your vehicle’s functioning. You need to keep up regular maintenance. Otherwise, you’re likely to run into big problems with your car.      

Transmission System.
Credit: youtube.com

What Transmission Does My Car Have? (The Kinds Of Vehicle Transmission)

Most people think that there are only two types of transmissions, i.e., manual and automatic. However, manufacturers tend to alter transmission designs every year. Hence, you will find more than 200 kinds of transmissions these days.

Moreover, if your car’s transmission has been completely redesigned since it’s manufacturing, you should know the kind of transmission in your vehicle. It is beneficial when you’re looking to fix car problems.  

What Transmission is in My Car?

It doesn’t matter if you have an SUV or a light truck. There are five main types of transmissions in cars.


A classic system used in old models, but still popular due to its multiple benefits. Simply put, manual transmissions are a more sophisticated version of a bicycle’s gear shift. You might know them as stick shifts.

In manuals, you use your foot to operate the clutch and shift gears. Hence, manuals have a lot of advantages. Some drivers feel more secure and in control of the car, which is why you will still see many around the road.

Manuals are harder to learn. However, the system is far less complicated than its counterparts. Repairs are not as hard to diagnose or costly to fix. Furthermore, manual transmissions have better fuel economy than an automatic transmission.  


Today, this is the most common transmission you will find on roads. An automatic transmission will change gears electronically as it doesn’t involve shifting gears manually. All you have to do is speed up or slow down.

Furthermore, it has a torque converter, which will sense your change of speed. Your cars inbuilt computer system will then control a planetary gear set with a set of clutches. A large number of gears makes for smoother acceleration. Hence, driving is a much simpler experience. 


The hybrid of the first two, a semi-automatic transmission has a similar design to automatics. However, it works under the mechanical set up of manual transmissions. Hence, it has a set of inbuilt actuators that will adjust the gears for you.

You will find them to be cheaper than fully automatic systems. Additionally, they have a higher fuel economy and lower net weight. These benefits come from the manual aspects of the transmission.

Dual Clutch:

Additionally, dual clutch systems are more manual than automatic. It has an electronic component that operates the manual gear system. Hence, the speed and power ratios are set automatically.

Unlike semi-automatics, it has a hydraulic control unit that makes changing gears easier.

Moreover, it has two separate clutches, i.e., one for even gears and one for odd. The dual clutch allows you to control the gears manually. Furthermore, you even have the option to stick to the fully automatic mode.

Additionally, dual clutch systems can be a bit tricky to drive. However, it becomes much more comfortable as you get used to it. The only con to dual clutch systems is that the components are susceptible to electronic failures. Furthermore, repairs are expensive and time-consuming. 

Continuously Variable Transmissions (CVT):

As a driver, you’ll probably won’t find any difference between automatic and CVT transmissions. A CVT operates through a belt and pulley system. Consequently, your car’s computer controls the systems instead of manual gears.

Moreover, CVT systems give you the best fuel economy out of all others. Although, manual transmissions are more efficient in terms of time and money. However, CVTs don’t break down as much as automatic systems nor are they as expensive.  

What Transmission is in My Truck?

Both heavy and light trucks generally require more power than cars. Hence, transmissions found in trucks usually are tweaked versions of the ones found in cars. With this need for enhanced performance, automakers have to make sure the transmissions and engines work in perfect harmony.

Heavy trucks generally have automated manual (semi-automatic or dual clutch) and automatic transmissions. These are ideal because they are safe and have a higher fuel economy. Moreover, truckers prefer these systems because of their two pedal designs. This makes it easier to learn for younger drivers. Hence, drivers are more comfortable to recruit and retain.  

What Transmission Do I Have?

We have established the types of transmissions. Now, let’s move to how to identify the transmission in your vehicle?

Find Your Transmission on your vehicle’s manual

Firstly, check your owner’s manual. It should contain all sorts of details on your transmission.

The manual will tell you:

●   The kind of transmission you have.

●   The transmission fluid is being used.

●   How frequently you need to change the fluid and filter.

However, don’t worry if you don’t have your owner’s manual. There are still ways you can look up this information.

Find Transmission by Vehicles’ Make and Model

The process is pretty simple. You need the necessary information about your car. The information includes the year, make, and model. If you have these, you can use the ATRA transmission lookup tool. Simply input the data, and the device will then give you a transmission code.

Afterward, you can look up the code online. Alternatively, take the code to the nearest mechanic or dealership. They will know what it means. 

How to Identify Transmission by VIN Number?

Furthermore, each car has a Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) located either on the driver’s side or the car’s dashboard. It has 17 digits in total, each detailing different types of information.

For clarity, the table below shows what each digit in the VIN represents.

VIN Meaning Table

The first digitWhere the car was built
The second and third digitsThe vehicle’s manufacturer
The fourth to eighth digitsBrand, engine size, and type of transmission
The ninth digitSecurity Code
The tenth digitModel year
The eleventh digitWhich car plant manufactured the vehicle
The last six digitsSerial number

If you have your VIN, decode it using this website. Or simply call your mechanic. They’ll tell you what transmission is in your car.

You can also check under your hood. There might be numbers on your transmission pan. 

Additionally, look for a white tag on the driver’s side. If you find it, the tag will tell you the car’s year of manufacture, country of origin, and the kind of transmission.


Simply put, ‘what transmission does my car have’ is not a difficult question to answer. We hope you found this informative. With these easy methods, it’s not at all difficult to check what transmission is in your car.

Manual Transmission.
Credit: youtube.com

Read more: What Does the SRS Light Mean?

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