For very good reasons, nearly every car in the world has some type of gearbox (also known as a transmission because it transmits power from the engine to the wheels, though technically this term includes other pieces of equipment which are not part of the gearbox itself).

As far as most drivers are concerned, there are only two types of gearbox: manual, which you have to operate yourself, or automatic, which can largely be left to its own devices.

For car manufacturers, it’s a bit more complicated than that. There are many varieties of gearbox, and the choice of which one to use depends on many factors including performance, fuel economy, customer preference and cost.

What follows is a quick run-through of the different types of gearbox you might encounter, and how they work.

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