How Does the Volvo Auto Transmission System Work?

Whether the transmission in your vehicle is automatic or manual, it is responsible for changing the gears in your car so that you can go from first, to second, to third, etc. As referenced by the name, a Volvo auto transmission system performs this function on its own. Manual transmissions need the assistance of the driver to go from gear to gear.

Let's take a closer look at the workings of a transmission system of the automatic type. Keep in mind that we are going to keep this as simple as possible.

Differences Between a Manual Transmission and an Automatic Transmission

Though they accomplish the same thing, there are two basic differences between a manual transmission and a Volvo auto transmission system. They are as follows:

  • Auto transmission – There is no gearshift here. You simply put your car into drive and the rest is done for you (as far as shifting gears is concerned) automatically.
  • Auto transmission – You will not find a clutch pedal here. There is no clutch to depress because the system is entirely automatic after you shift the car into drive.

In a manual transmission, the clutch helps with shifting. But in an automatic transmission, the torque converter is relied upon. How the auto transmission goes about this is nothing short of incredible.

Bell Housing – Where the Connection Is Made

The bell housing is where your transmission and your engine connect. For  Volvo auto transmission systems, it is composed of a torque converter rather than a clutch. This is basically a fluid coupling that connects your transmission to your engine and, relatedly, to your driven wheel. Providing different gear ratios is the planetary gear set.

Flex Plate

In automatics, this might be called the flywheel. There is a direct connection between your transmission’s torque converter and the flex plate. The torque converter has a basic goal: it provides the means by which to disconnect and connect the power of the engine to a driven load.

The Planetary Gear Set

Several components are contained within this gear set. They are found in a surprisingly small space. The parts are as follows:

  • Ring gear
  • Planet gears and carrier
  • Sun gear

This set of gears, without having to disengage or engage other gears, is responsible for setting all the gear ratios needed by your car. There are also compound planetary gear sets used in some cars with automatic transmissions, which works as two combined planetary gear sets together.

The Automatic Transmission

This is all a highly complicated process and entails far more than was discussed here. There are numerous parts that have not even received mention. And naturally, the failure of one part within this entire set of workings can make a big difference in how the transmission works. If, indeed, it keeps working.

When something goes wrong with your Volvo auto transmission system, unless you are an experienced mechanic, you may want to leave repairs or replacements to the experts. It all depends on your automotive knowledge, of course, and whether or not you have the correct tools and parts for the job.

Here's one good piece of advice: If you drive a Volvo, and you're going to replace a part, use Volvo parts. Don't start sticking generic parts into your Volvo if you want to get the most out of it for the longest time possible.