Time to Pump Things Up

Welcome back! This week we are going to see what role the Oil Pump plays in your automatic transmission. But before we get into that, like always, time for a quick recap & review some definitions.


Previously on Anthony’s Automotive Blog….


Last week, we learned all about the wonderful, complex part called the Hydraulic System. You can do a re-read of it here. Or, keep reading for the quick recap.

The Hydraulic System is what keeps the transmission fluid under pressure and sends it to all parts of the transmission and torque converter. It is essentially the blood system of your car. Even the transmission fluid itself is red in color, just like your blood. And it is most important that it remain under pressure at all times.

We’ve added a couple of words this week: Oil, Soluble, Solvent, Flange, and Regulator. You can find them at the bottom of the list. As always, you can find our entire and current automotive dictionary here. Feel free to save its link so that you can find it again in case we use a word that happens to not be on this week’s list.

Our Growing Automotive Vocabulary

Here are the related words for this week’s topic. Enjoy expanding your vocabulary.

Transmission – The mechanism by which power is transmitted from an engine to the wheels of a motor vehicle.

Torque Converter – A device that transmits or multiplies torque generated by an engine.

Automatic – A device or process that works by itself with little or no direct human control.

Automatic Transmission – An automotive transmission that can automatically change gears as the vehicle moves, freeing the driver from having to shift gears manually.

Clutch – A mechanism for connecting and disconnecting a vehicle engine from its transmission system.

Band – Something that binds, ties together, restrains, etc.; a strip or ring of wood, metal, rubber, etc. fastened around something to bind or tie it together.

Pump – Any of the various machines that force a liquid or gas into or through, or draw it out of, something, as by suction or pressure.

Sprag – A device for preventing a vehicle from rolling backward on a grade.

Radiator – A device of tubes and fins, as in an automobile, through which circulating water passes to radiate superfluous heat and thus cool the engine.

Tube – A hollow cylinder or pipe of metal, glass, rubber, tec., usually long in proportion to its diameter, used for conveying fluids, etc..

Hydraulic – Operated by the movement and force of liquid; specifically, operated by the pressure created when a liquid is forced through an aperture, tube, etc..

Oil – Any of various kinds of greasy, combustible substances obtained from animal, vegetable, and mineral sources; oils are liquid at ordinary temperatures and soluble in certain organic solvents, as ether, but not in water.

Soluble – That can be dissolved; able to pass into solution.

Solvent – A substance, usually liquid, that dissolves or can dissolve another substance.

Flange – A projecting rim or collar on a wheel, pipe, rail, etc,. to hold it in place, give it strength, guide it, or attach it to something else.

Regulator – A mechanism for controlling or governing the movement of machinery, the flow of liquids, gases, electricity, steam, etc..


Black Gold…Texas Tea…

 The Oil Pump in your transmission is what produces all the oil pressure necessary for your car’s transmission to function. Please note that this is a separate pump from the pump that we talked about earlier in the torque converter (please recap here to clear up any confusion you may have). When you talk about getting the oil changed on your car or checking the oil on your car, THIS is the part we are talking. It works hand in hand with your car’s transmission.


Oil Pump

An Actual Oil Pump


Like I mentioned above in the recap and in last week’s post, pressure is one of the most important aspects of your transmission and its ability to operate. Yes, it does need to have transmission fluid to function. BUT that fluid absolutely must be under pressure at all times. It is the Oil Pump that creates this pressure.

The Oil Pump itself is located at the front of the transmission case. It is also connected to a flange that is on the torque converter housing. This makes the pump connected directly to both the transmission and your engine (through the torque converter.)

Because the torque converter is connected to the engine, the Oil Pump will produce pressure automatically while the engine is running and if there is transmission fluid available. This is why it is also important to have your transmission fluids checked regularly for optimum volume. The Oil Pump will not be able to produce pressure without a sufficient amount of transmission fluid located in your transmission system. Just as in the human body, if you don’t have enough blood pumping through your veins, you won’t function as well. And like I mentioned before, the transmission fluid in your car is the blood of your car.


Motor Oil

Car/Motor Oil


The oil is located in the oil pan that is typically located on the bottom side of your transmission. The oil, itself, enters the pump through a filter (yes THAT filter that you need to have checked and changed during regular maintenance.) The filter is at the bottom of the oil pan and has a tube running from it to the oil pump. This is how the oil gets to the pump. From the pump, where it is now under pressure, it is then sent to the Pressure Regulator, the Valve Body (see next week) and other parts beyond.

So the bottom line is (and bringing together what we learned last week and this), you need to have a good level of transmission fluid in your transmission AND you need to have a good level of oil in your oil pan so that it can create pressure which, in turn, allows your transmission fluid to be transmitted to other areas of your car to either keep it cool, shift gears and keep other parts lubricated and moving.


For Next Week


It’s time to crack open the skull and look at the brain of the Automatic Transmission – the Valve Body.


Until Next Time….

 Anthony’s Automotive



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