Dual Clutch Automatic

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The dual clutch transmission (DCT), also referred to as a double- or twin-clutch transmission, combines the best of both manual and automatic transmissions into a hybrid that requires no input from the driver to shift gears, provides smooth and fast shifting, and operates more efficiently than either a manual or an automatic transmission. Dual-clutch transmissions work like a manual but are electronically controlled. The term “dual-clutch” refers to the fact that these vehicles have two gear shafts and two clutches. The gears are staggered so the first shaft may have 1, 3, 5 and 7 while the second shaft would have 2, 4 and 6.

Whether you’re an avid driver or just dipping your toes in the world of cars, you likely may have heard about dual-clutch transmissions. Most automatic transmissions rely on a torque converter or pulleys, while a dual-clutch transmission uses clutch plates similar to a manual transmission. That’s why vehicles with dual-clutch transmissions cannot be driven like an automatic transmission vehicle because this can cause long-term damage to the transmission.

That’s why it is imperative to understand the dual-clutch transmissions, why it is different and other important details about it before you hit the road.

What Is A Dual-Clutch Transmission?

Although dual-clutch transmissions use clutch plates like a manual transmission, a dual-clutch transmission is still an automatic transmission. It uses two clutch discs, one is for the even-numbered gears and the other is for odd-numbered gears. The gears operate in order, yet instead of relying on the driver to dictate gear switching, a dual-clutch transmission switches on its own automatically. Some consider a dual-clutch transmission an automatic transmission because of the fact that the gears shift are automatic. The clutches and manual transmissions are in the same compartment and the components work together in unison to slow the vehicle or propel it faster.

Is A Dual-Clutch Automatic or Manual?

Many dual-clutch transmissions function in an automatic mode, however, some dual-clutch transmissions can allow the driver to manually shift a vehicle from one gear to the next. This is often referred to as “semi-automatic mode.” Dual-clutch transmissions are rising in popularity among new and veteran drivers. This is because of the number of benefits for dual-clutch transmissions, including:

  • Increased fuel economy
  • Faster gear shifting
  • Fast upshift at rapid speeds
  • Reduction in shift delay

Dual-clutch transmissions enhance a driver’s experience and allow for a much more responsive feel than conventional automatic transmissions. In addition, dual-clutch transmissions rapid shifting make it far easier for drivers to accelerate into much higher gears in a short amount of time. Many car aficionados prefer dual-clutch transmissions to traditional gearbox mainly because of its ability to hit rapid speeds without consuming a lot of fuel and with minimal delay.

ClutchCarsDual clutch automatic vs manual

Dual Clutch Automatic Meaning

How To Drive A Dual-Clutch Transmission Vehicle

Dual-clutch transmissions are an exciting ride, but it’s important to apply the following techniques for a smooth, enjoyable ride. To drive a dual-clutch transmission vehicle, apply the following:

  • Stop Inching Forward: Avoid inching up when traffic is at a standstill as keeping your foot hovered over the break can damage the vehicle. Treat it similar to a manual vehicle, allow enough space to throw your vehicle into the next gear.
  • Avoid Neutral: You do not need to put a dual-clutch transmission vehicle into neutral when stopped at the light. The dual-clutch transmission will force the clutch to then disengage if it feels the brake pedal has been applied.
  • Brake on inclines: A dual-clutch transmission can succumb to wear and tear when they are stopped on an incline. Use the brakes to take the strain off of the clutch.

Seven Speed Dual Clutch Automatic

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Dual clutch automatic cars

Dual Clutch Automatic Transmission Fluid

The dual clutch transmission (DCT), also referred to as a double- or twin-clutch transmission, combines the best of both manual and automatic transmissions into a hybrid that requires no input from the driver to shift gears, provides smooth and fast shifting, and operates more efficiently than either a manual or an automatic transmission. Its unique configuration is known as a semi-automatic transmission. It uses two separate clutches, one which engages even numbered gears in the transmission while the other engages the odd numbered gears. While one gear, third gear for example, is engaged, the clutch has the next gear, possibly fourth gear if the driver is speeding up, ready to go so it can instantly switch from third to fourth without losing any of the engine's power and without requiring the driver to press down the clutch pedal as he would need to in a manual transmission car.

Since the car's driver isn't required to press a clutch pedal to shift gears, it would seem the dual clutch transmission is automatic. Yet it is actually semi-automatic. Electro-hydraulic fluid is used to engage and disengage the clutches. This fluid forces the clutch disk against the flywheel of the engine and the power spins the car's wheels. When the car slows, sensors send less fluid to the clutch and it disengages because the fluid's force is not strong enough to hold it against the flywheel.

Two clutches make the dual clutch transmission possible. While one gear is engaged, the clutch prepares to switch to the gear on the opposite clutch. Since one clutch holds the odd numbered gears and the other the even numbers, the clutches constantly switch back and forth and the transition from one to another happens so quickly the driver never feels the car change gears.

Advantages of the dual clutch transmission include more efficient performance and faster shifting speeds. Since the next gear is already ready to switch into, the change occurs almost instantly and the shift is smooth. No engine power is lost, as it is in automatic transmissions using torque converters to engage and disengage the engine. The torque converter is similar in principle to the electro-hydraulic fluid, but loses some of the power from the engine when engaging and disengaging.

Disadvantages of the dual clutch transmission include its high cost and the complexity of its parts. Cars utilizing this type of transmission cost more and repairs take more effort due to the extra parts and how they are aligned with one another. With more parts, there are more problems that can arise.