The transmission is a vital component of any vehicle. If you need to perform service or repair, you are probably asking, "What transmission do I have?" In this guide, we will cover what type of transmission you might have and help you answer “how many speeds is my transmission?”
If you are asking “how to tell what transmission I have,” you want to first understand what this piece of equipment does. The transmission operates as the vehicle’s gearbox. It converts the power coming from the engine and turns it into the movement that drives the wheels.
Where is the transmission in a car and what does a car transmission look like? It is typically bolted to the engine and looks rounded on the end where it is bolted to the motor and is flat on the bottom.
5 Main Types of Transmission
What are the different types of transmissions? We review the top five different types of transmissions. If you are asking, “how to identify my transmission,” this transmission guide might help.
1. Manual Transmission
As you evaluate the different types of manual transmissions, you see that these are mainly used in older vehicles. If you want to know how to tell transmission type, this option comes with a gear shifter and automotive clutch that must be operated to change gears.
Today, these transmissions are typically only in lower-dollar models and sports cars.
2. Automatic Transmission
The automatic transmission is now the most common on the market. This type does all the shifting for you so that you can enjoy the ride. If you are wondering, “what automatic transmission do I have,” you should know that they are available in a variety of speeds.
The semi-automatic transmission combines the designs of the first two together. You will still be responsible to shift, but won’t need the use of a clutch. This system often refers to a paddle-shifter design, such as what is found in race cars and some older models. This style of transmission is not used often today.
4. Dual-Clutch Transmission (DCT)
The dual-clutch transmission is an automatic variety that contains an electronic aspect that simulates the manual gear system. One clutch is used for the even gears, while another operates the odd, allowing a smoother transition while driving. This type of transmission is often used with luxury cars and does cost more to repair.
5. Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT)
The continuously variable transmission (CVT) operates much like an automatic transmission. It is a newer type that contains no physical gears. Instead, it relies upon pulleys of various widths, which are connected to a belt. The width of the pulleys changes based on what level of power is needed.
How Do I Find Out What Transmission I Have?
If you're left asking “how to identify my transmission?”, our transmission guide will share some tips with you. Short of removing this vital part with a transmission jack, here are some more ways you can figure out what kind it is.
Checking your car owner’s manual
If you want to know how to tell transmission type, start by looking in the owner’s manual. This handy guide offers a variety of information about your car.
Looking under the hood
You can also look under the hood for a sticker that might contain the information. If you can see the transmission, there might even be information listed on it that you can cross-reference.
Checking the white card on the driver's door
The card found in the door jamb also contains a lot of information. You might be able to find the engine and transmission specs here or look for a TR number code that can be given to the dealership to get the appropriate specifications.
Identifying by VIN
With the VIN, you can call the dealership and find out exactly what equipment is in your car. More on that right now.
Identifying Transmission Type By VIN Number
VIN stands for the vehicle identification number. With this valuable information, you can quickly find out everything you want to know about your car. If you want to find the transmission by VIN number, you will find the identifying marker on your vehicle.
The VIN is found on a metal plate located on the dash or on your driver’s side door jamb. To learn how to identify a transmission by VIN, take the number and call your local dealership. They will be able to supply you with all of the relevant specifications.
Transmission Identification of Different Car Brands
Ford Transmission Identification
Ford vehicles include a variety of transmissions, such as these from the most popular models.
3.5L or 3.7L
2.0L, 2.3L or 3.0L
3.5L, 3.7L, 4.6L, 5.0L, 5.4L or 6.2L
6.2L or 6.7L
3.7L or 5.0L
2.3L or 3.0L
Chevy Transmission Identification
GM transmission identification is simple with our handy guide. Use your GM transmission identification numbers to find out what’s in your vehicle.
5.3L or 6.0L
2.2L, 2.3L, 3.0L, 4.3L or 5.3L
2.4L, 2.8L or 3.0L
6.0L or 6.2L
4.2L or 5.3L
Dodge Transmission Identification
To classify the Dodge transmission identification by VIN, consider this chart.
2.4L or 2.7L
2.8L, 3.3L, 3.6L, 3.8L or 4.0L
4.7L or 5.7L
2.0L or 2.2L
3.7L, 4.7L or 5.7L
Honda Transmission Identification
If you want to know what kind of transmission is in your Honda, consider these popular models.
5 SP FWD
5 SP FWD
5 SP FWD
3.0 or 3.5L V6
9 SP FWD/AWD
5 SP AWD
People Also Ask (FAQs)
How many speeds is my transmission?
Transmissions come with a variety of speeds. The only way to know for sure is to look up the type of transmission you have. Not all transmissions have speeds, such as a CVT.
What is the difference between gearbox and transmission?
Both terms are used to describe the same part of a car. However, the gearbox technically means an enclosed gear train, while the transmission is the action of transmitting power.
What do the numbers on an automatic transmission mean?
While you aren't technically shifting with an automatic transmission, you can choose the highest gear that the gearbox will go into. For example, if you set your shifter to 2, that means the transmission will not shift above the second gear.
It isn’t difficult to figure out what transmission you have once you know where to find the information. By understanding your vehicle’s transmission better, you become more equipped to handle maintenance and repairs. We recommend learning as much as you can about your car’s transmission so you can better take care of it.