Dual-clutch automatic transmission explained


The automotive industry is ahead in adopting modern and advanced technologies. The dual-clutch automatic transmission is one of those innovations that is making waves.

The evolution of transmission systems can seem like a complex subject if you don’t regularly follow the automotive industry. Over the years, different transmission systems have entered the market. Manual transmission has been around the longest. However, it is not easy to drive and this has forced automakers to consider alternatives.

One such alternative is a dual-clutch automatic transmission. Before you jump into buying your next car, learn about the dual-clutch automatic transmission and understand if it’s the one for you. Let us explore more about this transmission system!

What is the Dual Clutch Automatic Transmission (DCT)?

The dual-clutch automatic transmission is also called a direct-shift gearbox. Most car manufacturers have their unique version of DCT. However, they use DCT selectively throughout their lineup. Like so many automotive transmission innovations, the dual-clutch automatic transmission is a concept that has been around for years, but is only new in use.

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The Porsche 956, launched in 1983, was the first vehicle to sport a DCT. Several built-in computers help DCT to operate. These computers avoid the need for manual inputs to change gears. In other words, DCT automates the shifting process.

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How does the Dual Clutch Transmission (DCT) work?

With this introduction, you might have a good idea of ​​DCTs now. But how does a dual-clutch transmission work? One of the main advantages of DCT is that it minimizes the time interval between gear changes.

In this type of transmission, the computerized clutches have a concentric placement. In addition, the crankshaft is connected to the clutch and is always ready to switch to another. The countershafts have two independent cylindrical shafts. One of the countershafts in DCT is for even gear numbers, while the other is for odd numbers.

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The ECU automatically anticipates the next gear ratio when the output shaft rotates at a specific gear ratio. To do this, the computers analyze the acceleration, deceleration, engine speed and current speed.


Benefits of the Dual Clutch Transmission (DCT)

There are several advantages to opting for a vehicle with a dual-clutch automatic transmission. We have discussed a few below:

  • DCTs tend to be more fuel efficient than other automatic transmissions. It also provides a smoother and more transparent performance.
  • Due to their fuel efficiency and high quality performance, many fleet owners prefer DCTs. Because of these benefits, DCTs are also ideal for achieving significant long-term savings.
  • Since they allow shifting gears smoothly and quickly, the dual-clutch automatic transmission has also found its way into performance driving.

Photo credit: mediapool.bmwgroup.com

Disadvantages of Dual Clutch Transmission (DCT)

Each type of transmission has its drawbacks. However, the downsides of DCT are quite easy to navigate through time. In any case, let’s look at the setbacks of the dual-clutch automatic transmission:

  • Most car owners claim that DCT is more complex than other transmission systems.
  • In addition, the DCT takes up more space under the hood than any other transmission system.


If we compare the dual-clutch transmission to the manual, CVT, or any other transmission, the DCT comes out as the winner. By overcoming some of its downfalls, the DCT may become the next big thing in automobiles.

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