General Article

The Science Behind Automatic Cars: How They Work and What Makes Them Tick

Automatic cars have been around for decades, but they have become increasingly popular in recent years. Instead of a clutch pedal and gear stick, automatic cars have a gear selector, and the car does the rest. In this article, we’ll investigate what makes automatic cars work, how they differ from manual cars, and why they’re becoming more common.

How Do Automatic Cars Work?

An automatic car’s transmission is responsible for shifting gears so that the engine can operate at optimal RPMs. The transmission works by connecting the engine and the wheels, allowing the car to move. Unlike a manual car that requires the driver to engage and disengage the clutch manually, an automatic car does this process automatically.

Automatic transmissions, like manual transmissions, use gears to transfer the engine’s power to the wheels. However, instead of the driver shifting gears, an automatic transmission uses a torque converter, a hydraulic device that transmits the engine’s power to the wheels while “slipping” or allowing the engine to idle without stalling.

The torque converter connects the engine and the transmission’s input shaft, which, in turn, engages the gears inside the transmission. These gears include planetary gears, which are essentially miniature gear sets housed within larger gears. By locking and unlocking these gears, the transmission can change the car’s gear ratio from low to high, allowing the car to accelerate and decelerate as needed.

What Makes Automatic Cars Different From Manual Cars?

In a manual car, the driver uses a clutch pedal and gear stick to engage and disengage the clutch and change gears. In contrast, an automatic car does this process automatically through a combination of sensors, electronics, and hydraulic fluid.

Automatic cars also tend to have more gears than manual cars, with some models featuring as many as ten gears. This increase in gears allows the car to operate more efficiently, delivering better fuel economy and acceleration.

Why Are Automatic Cars More Popular Than Ever?

In recent years, automatic cars have become more popular than ever. This increase in popularity is due to several factors, including improved fuel efficiency, easier driving, and modern technology.

Automatic cars typically have better fuel efficiency than manual cars because they can better optimize the engine’s RPMs. Additionally, automatic cars are easier to drive, as they require less attention to the clutch and gear stick, allowing drivers to focus on the road ahead.

Finally, modern technology has made automatic cars even smarter and more capable. Many modern automatic cars have features like forward collision warning, lane departure warning, and adaptive cruise control, making them safer and more intuitive than ever.


Automatic cars have come a long way since they first made their appearance. Today, they are more efficient, easier to drive, and more advanced than ever. The automatic transmission is a marvel of engineering, using hydraulics, electronics, and good old-fashioned gears to deliver a smooth, efficient driving experience. As technology continues to advance, it’s likely that automatic cars will only become more capable and versatile, cementing their place as a popular automotive choice for years to come.