If you know anything about cars with manual transmissions, you know the engine gets connected to the transmission via a clutch. Without this connection in place, it would be impossible for the car to stop without killing the engine. But how do cars with automatic transmissions disconnect the transmission from the engine? They use what’s called a “torque converter.”
Let’s take a closer look at the purpose of a torque converter in Gary, IN and the benefits of using one.
How they work
A torque converter is a form of fluid coupling, which serves the purpose of allowing the engine to spin (somewhat) independently of the transmission. If the engine is turning slowly, the amount of torque that goes through the torque converter is small, which means keeping the car from moving only requires a small amount of pressure on the brake pedal.
There are three components housed inside the torque converter:
- Pump: The pump is a centrifugal pump. As it spins, fluid flies to the outside, similar to how the spin cycle works in a washing machine. This creates a vacuum that draws fluid in at the center.
- Turbine: The fluid goes into the blades of the turbine, which is connected to the vehicle’s transmission. The turbine is what causes the transmission to start spinning, which results in your car moving. The turbine has curved blades, which means the fluid must change direction to be able to exit the center of the turbine. The directional change results in the spinning of the turbine.
- Stator: The fluid exits the turbine at the center of the housing, coming out a different direction than how it was flowing when it first came into the system. If the fluid is allowed to hit the pump, though, it slows the engine down, which results in a significant waste of power. The stator prevents the fluid from hitting the pump.
The benefits of a torque converter
The torque converter’s primary benefit is allowing your vehicle to stop completely without resulting in a stalled engine, but that’s certainly not the only benefit it provides. For example, the torque converter results in more torque for your vehicle when you accelerate coming out of a stop. In fact, today’s torque converters can multiply the amount of torque provided by the engine by two or three times.
When the vehicle runs at higher speeds, the transmission catches up to the engine to the point where it moves at almost the same speed. In an ideal state, the transmission would move at precisely the same speed as the engine, because the less difference there is in speed, the less power is wasted. This is one of the biggest reasons why automatic transmission cars tend to get worse gas mileage than cars with manual transmissions.
However, an attachment called a lockup clutch can help to counter this effect. Once both halves of the torque converter reach the correct speed, the clutch binds them together to improve efficiency.
For more information about torque converters, or if you need to schedule transmission repair in Gary, IN, contact Miller Brakes and Mufflers, Inc. today.
This post was written by Writer