The rear-wheel drive automatic (RWD), and the front-wheel (FWD) (or "all-wheel" AWD) drive automatic which is often referred to as a transaxle.
The rear-wheel drive automatic uses a torque-converter and planetary gears to pass engine rotation to the rear wheel drive differential via a driveshaft.
The front-wheel drive automatic also uses a torque-converter to transmit engine rotation to a set of planetary gears contained in the same housing as the differential requiring no driveshaft.
In either type of automatic transmission, power is transferred to the driving wheels by a combination of electronically controlled hydraulic valves which apply pressure to clutch-plates immersed in automatic transmission fluid. The clutch-plates are connected to various planetary gears (depending on which drive speed is required) engaging that set of gears and transmitting the power to the drive wheels.
Whichever automatic transmission type your vehicle uses, when properly maintained, they will provide years of trouble free service. Unfortunately, over long periods of use (or misuse), parts do wear out and the transmission's performance begins to suffer. That's why at Value Transmission of Tampa, we recommend periodic transmission service and inspections to prevent more costly failures. We invite you to take advantage of our money-off coupon for a transmission service procedure (replace fluids and change pick-up filter where applicable).