In this series of articles, John, an expert mechanic at one of our Denver-area AAMCO car repair centers, will explain how your car works and give advice on a variety of do-it-yourself car maintenance topics. Today, John explains the basics your of your automatic transmission.

transmission repair denverHowdy folks, today I’m going to talk about one of the most important systems in your car, truck, or SUV: your automatic transmission. Just like a manual transmission, your automatic transmission’s main job is to allow your vehicle to change gears, and take advantage of your engine’s torque, which keeps your vehicle operating at the right speed. As you accelerate and decelerate, you need different gear ratios.

The difference between a manual transmission and an automatic transmission is that the manual transmission locks and unlocks different sets of gears to get to the various gear ratios, while in an automatic transmission, the same set of gears produces all of the different gear ratios. The planetary gearset is the device that makes this possible.

The planetary gearset creates all of the different gear ratios that your transmission can produce. It’s made up of the sun gear, the planet gears, and the ring gear. In an automatic transmission, there are two complete planetary gearsets folded together into one, called the compound planetary gearset. The compound planetary gearset has a double-set of sun gears and planet gears, but just one ring gear. This allows for a large number of possible gear ratios.

Colorado AAMCO Transmission Repair

The planetary gearset works with the clutches and bands, which hold the gears in place when necessary to create the different gear ratios, the valve body, which receives input from vehicle speed and brake functions and controls the planetary gearset to select the best possible gear ratio for the current driving conditions, and the automatic transmission fluid, which provides lubrication and operation of hydraulic functions.

As you may have already realized, your automatic transmission is kind of a complicated system, and one which needs to be finely tuned and running properly for your vehicle to run. If you’re having trouble shifting gears, or hear a grinding sound, take your car to an experienced Colorado transmission repair expert. Unfortunately, your transmission may occasionally need to be repaired or rebuilt, and ignoring the problem will only make it worse: until your car literally won’t go. However, you can check the automatic transmission fluid or transmission fluid filter before going to the mechanic. Sometimes your transmission may simply need new fluid, or a new filter.

For more information on expert transmission repair in Denver, Colorado Springs, Aurora, Greeley, Fort Collins, or other Colorado Front Range locations, visit or come in to your neighborhood Colorado AAMCO center today!