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It’s Thanksgiving month again, and time to be eternally grateful for everything life has thrown our way – the good, the bad, the ugly, and we survived them all. But most importantly, being thankful for the things experienced within the automotive universe and celebrate car culture. Therefore, here are the top six automotive things to be grateful for this Thanksgiving and beyond.

1. Automatic Transmissions

Once upon a time, manual transmissions were the “latest and greatest” with their perks. But this is no longer the case as automatic transmissions have taken over. For instance, only four percent of vehicles sold in 2013 came with manual transmissions. Moreover, up to 67 percent of new vehicle models don’t even have manual options.

Driving safely on roads already commands lots of attention or focus. Automatic transmissions eliminate acceleration, proper shifting, and deceleration from the mix. This significantly minimizes the direct involvement of the driver. Automatic transmissions take the additional stress out of the equation, which is why many road users love them.

How Automatic Transmissions Work

This is how vehicles with automatic transmissions operate. When you switch to the ‘Drive’ mode, the system activates. Pressing the accelerator towards the floorboard enables the engine’s crankshaft to rotate more rapidly. As the vehicle moves forward, the automatic transmission’s electronics and hydraulics sense its speed in connection to the engine speed.

As a result, the transmission changes gears automatically in response to the engine’s reaction. The rapid rotation of the engine’s crankshaft results in more pressure in the torque converter. The hydraulics within the classic automatic transmission senses these speed changes and activates other hydraulics to change gears within the planetary set. But today, electronics perfectly supplement the sensing process, and the transmission works together with the vehicle’s other systems.

Components of Automatic Transmissions

In simple words, automatic transmissions change gears without the direct involvement of the driver, aside from the designated options like:

  • Neutral
  • Drive
  • Reverse
  • Park

However, these commands will only be activated with the involvement of several key components that work hand-in-hand within a variety of conditions time and again. The most crucial elements of automatic transmissions are:

  • Planetary gears. Automatic transmissions generally make use of different types of gear sets. The set of planetary gears they use creates multiple gear ratios since the hydraulics of the automatic transmissions control them. The forward speed of your vehicle will be limited severely if your automobile comes with a single forward gear and a torque converter. This is the primary reason gear-changing is crucial.
  • Torque converters. Torque converters are perfect replacements for mechanical clutches in manual transmissions. They perform the same functions as clutches by enabling the engine connection and disconnection from the driveline as required to facilitate gear changing. The development of practical automatic transmissions would have been impossible without the torque converter. Cars with automatic transmissions are set in motion via fluid dynamics that transfer torque from the engine. This capability enables you to have your foot pressed firmly on the brake while your vehicle is still in ‘Drive’ mode when motionless at a stoplight. But fluid dynamics soaks up the torque when moving forward is not desired.
  • Clutches and brake bands. Clutches and brake bands prompt the changing of gears within the planetary gear set. Clutches in automatic transmissions help determine the specific gear ratio the planetary gearset creates. The brake bands tighten to hold a specific gear stationary or loosen up to enable that particular gear to spin. The combination of spinning and stationary gears within the gearset generates individual gear ratios.

2. Modern Safety Tech

Modern automotive crash safety technology and design have helped save countless lives. You may think you don’t need suitable old seat belts and airbags, but you should always be thankful they are there. This is crucial, especially since you share and use the road with other users with varying skill levels. Be thankful for innovative safety technologies, especially the lane-keeping assist and pre-collision braking systems that help prevent unskilled or distracted drivers from running into you.

3. Studded Snow Tires

That time of the year is upon this part of the world where temperature plummets and the lakes freeze out. Ice-racing drivers are chomping at the bits as snow season draws closer, and they need to switch their tires to studded snow options. Snow-studded tires enable you to pitch your vehicle around frozen race courses at double-digit or triple-digit speeds. However, remember that these tires are primarily designed for use on the road. Remember to check out the legality since only a few places allow studded snow tires.

4. V8 Engines

The V-type, 8-cylinder configuration engines are well-known for their power-generating potential, sound quality, and smoothness. In addition, the V8 offers loads of cylinder displacement within a reasonably small package, i.e., it gives you massive power in a tiny automobile. The V8 engine layout is almost 100 percent guaranteed to please its user, even though it appears time is running out for this particular configuration.

5. Automatic Headlights

Automatic headlights are a welcome development. They automatically kick on low beams when the sun gets low in the sky or when driving in a tunnel. They help save you the stress of switching on headlights in situations where you may not ordinarily think even to put them on.

6. Apple CarPlay

Apple CarPlay is another essential automotive feature you should be thankful for as Thanksgiving Day approaches. All you need to do is plug in your iPhone via a USB cable, and a familiar, user-friendly interface optimized for extensive use while driving pops up. In addition, the Apple CarPlay is easy to pick out between different menus or overly distracting. Apple CarPlay’s multimedia UI is easily understood, even by people who are not tech-savvy. Moreover, the experience is the same, irrespective of whether it is installed in a Honda Civic sedan or F-150 pickup truck.

Final Takeaway

These are just a handful of the automotive things you should be grateful for this Thanksgiving and beyond. As automotive technology advances, there will be much more to be thankful for.

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