What Is the Function of the Transmission Control Solenoid?

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What Is the Function of the Transmission Control Solenoid?
Many automobiles have a computer-controlled transmission. (automobiles on the west side highway image by Jorge Moro from Fotolia.com)

Your vehicle's transmission transfers power generated by the engine to the drive wheels. The transmission uses a hydraulic system controlled by a group of solenoids to shift gears automatically as you drive. Units of this type are called automatic, or computer-controlled, transmissions.

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Solenoid Function

The solenoid receives electronic signals from sensors placed at various points on the engine. These signals, generated from vehicle and engine speed, cause the solenoid to open and close hydraulic valves inside the transmission to shift the gears.

Hydraulic System

The transmission hydraulic system consists of pressurised liquid flowing through a series of passages and tubes. This liquid, known as transmission fluid, is sent by the solenoids to various parts of the transmission as needed.

Valve Body

Solenoids control the direction of fluid flow in the hydraulic system by manipulating valves within the valve body. From this point, fluid is sent to specific gears, such as first gear, depending on the current driving situation. Part of the valve body, known as the manual valve, is directly connected to your vehicle's gearshift handle.

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