How Different Types of Gearboxes Work

For any car buyer, the choice of gearbox options used to be simple.

You had manual and you had automatic and that was about it. In fact, many would have felt manual was the only option, concerned that automatics offered worse performance and worse fuel efficiency.

Modern automatics have no such drawbacks, in fact the very best automatics offer superb performance and an excellent driving experience. They are a genuine consideration for almost every car buyer nowadays.

However, the choice is also broader than ever. There are manuals, there are automatics, there are different forms of automatics and there are options that lie somewhere in the middle. Are these the perfect compromise, or do they fail to provide the best of either option?

In this post, rather than write thousands of words to explain each type of gearbox, we have instead linked to some of the very best explainer videos.

These are videos that explain in an understandable way how each type of gearbox works, and offer some thoughts on which type of driver they might be suitable for.


An overall guide to transmission types

A great starting point, this video compares and contrasts the common types of transmission in easy to understand terms.

Manual gearboxes

The manual gearbox, the long time favourite for most drivers. How does it work though? This video explains all


Automatic gearboxes – and the many types of

If you now understand manual transmission, it is time to move on to automatic. Maybe make a cup of tea first.

This first video looks at different types of automatic.


And now we look at automatic in more depth with a beautiful animation.




And now here comes electric to complicate things further! Don’t worry, this video does a great job of exploring this option.




And last but not least, the DSG. Three letters, one video. You’ll be an expert in about five minutes’ time.



At North West Transmissions we repair gearboxes or source replacement with guaranteed refurbished units.

A family-run business, we have a truly superb reputation, this shown by our 4.9 out of 5 average rating from dozens of reviews on Google.

All reconditioned gearboxes come with guarantees for 12 months or 12,000 miles while reconditioned automatic units come with a re-manufactured torque converter that has a lifetime guarantee.

Our technicians are all highly skilled with vast experience in reconditioning and repairing all units – importantly their efficiency helps cut down the price of repairs and so too the cost.

Gearbox problems are all-too common. If you find yourself in need of a repair or reconditioned unit, that often being the more economical option in the long term, please contact us.

Call us on 0151 933 0257 or use our Contact Form.