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What Transmission Do I Have

What Transmission Do I Have

If it’s time to get some transmission maintenance or replace your transmission, the first step is learning how to tell what transmission you have.

Thankfully, identifying your transmission is relatively straightforward, with some basic information about your vehicle.

The first step is to check your owner’s manual, which will typically state the transmission type. If you don’t have the manual, you can often find the information online by searching for your vehicle’s year, make, and model combined with the words “transmission type”.

Beyond the manual or online search, there are a few other easy ways to identify the transmission type yourself, and I will list those below the table of contents:

Related Articles to Read:

How to Identify Your Vehicle’s Transmission Type

Check Under the Hood

Pop open the hood and locate the transmission. Automatic transmissions will have a dipstick to check the transmission fluid level. Manual transmissions do not have a dipstick. If you see a dipstick, you have an automatic. If there is no dipstick, it is likely a manual transmission.

Count the Pedals

Manual transmissions require use of a clutch pedal to shift gears. There will be three pedals – clutch, brake, and gas. Automatic vehicles have just two pedals as no clutch is necessary.

Move the Gear Selector

Inside the vehicle, use the gear selector. If you see P-R-N-D and maybe some lower gears like 3, 2, 1, you have an automatic. A manual gearshift will move into each gear without any designated letters/numbers.

Check VIN Number

Your vehicle identification number (VIN) contains codes that identify the transmission. You’ll need to decode the VIN to determine the transmission type. There are free VIN decoders available online to help with this.

Identifying your transmission is useful when discussing issues with your mechanic, shopping for a new vehicle, or determining necessary maintenance.

Knowing for certain if your car has a manual or automatic transmission provides valuable information about how your vehicle operates.

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Picture of Steve Momot - Author

Steve Momot - Author

Steve, a seasoned expert in the automotive industry, formerly held a car dealer license in Florida. With extensive experience spanning across car trading and mechanical work, he founded Autohitch. His mission? To guide both buyers and sellers through the intricate maze of car purchasing, ensuring a seamless and informed experience. Outside of the automotive world, Steve has a passion for fishing and capturing the beauty of nature through photography.


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