Clutch & automatic transmission

No matter what kind of transmission you have, both manual and automatic vehicles require regular servicing to ensure maximum performance, economy and service life. Servicing a manual transmission usually includes less complicated tasks, such as replacing fluids or making minor adjustments.

How do the clutch and manual transmission systems work?

Clutch: In a car, the engine is spinning all the time but the car's wheels don't. For a car to stop without stalling we need the wheels to disconnect from the engine somehow. The clutch is the mechanism that allows us to smoothly engage a spinning engine to a non-spinning transmission by controlling the slippage between them. The friction between a clutch plate and the fly wheel is what allows the clutch to work.

Automatic transmission: Automatic and manual transmission have two big differences between them:

  • A car with an automatic transmission has no clutch pedal.
  • An automatic vehicle also does not have a a gear stick. Once you put the transmission into drive, everything else is automatic.
  • The main difference between the two transmissions is that the manual transmission locks and unlocks different sets of gears to the output shaft to achieve the various gear ratios, an automatic transmission has the same set of gears producing all the different gear ratios.

Clutch and automatic transmission components

Clutch: A clutch consists of a cover, a clutch plate, a flywheel, a pressure plate, a diaphragm spring and a throw-out bearing.

Automatic Transmission: An automatic transmission consists of a complex assortment of parts confined in a fairly small space. There are a planetary gear set, a set of locking bands, clutches, a hydraulic system, and a large pump to move transmission fluid around.

The warning signs

Some of the signs that there are problems with your clutch and automatic transmission include:


  • Clutch slips and does not transfer engine power to the wheels.
  • Clutch won't release properly.
  • It's important to note that it's only when the clutch disc is slipping against the flywheel that wearing occurs. So, if you are the type of driver who slips the clutch a lot, you'll wear out your clutch a lot faster.

Automatic transmission:

  • Fluid is leaking.
  • 'Check Engine' light is on.
  • Jarring transition into next gear.
  • Car 'hesitates' or 'refuses' to go into gear.
  • A whining, humming or even a slight buzzing sound.

Does your clutch or transmission need checking?

Contact the friendly team at Burwood Automotive & Exhaust on (03) 9888 7000 or send us an email and talk to us about how we can help you.

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