Almost 20 years ago, Volkswagen revolutionised automatic transmission with the introduction of the DSG gearbox. But in fact, VW were not the first to come up with this groundbreaking technology. As early as in the 1980s, Porsche had developed what they called the PDK (Porsche Doppelkupplung), while Audi also used roughly the same type of transmission in their Audi S1 Quattro rally car. At the time, the technology was not fully developed and therefore not ready for mass production for ordinary cars.
This did not happen until 2003, when Volkswagen introduced the groundbreaking six-speed DSG gearbox, which, with its lightning-fast gear changes, offered far better driving comfort than had been seen so far.
The DSG gearboxes entered actual mass-production from around 2007. In the following years, the six-speed DSG gearbox (dual clutch) was introduced in a number of the Volkswagen Group's brands (Golf, Passat, Touran and others).
Today, the DSG gear system is found in a large number of Skoda, Seat and Audi models, and the gearbox is so widespread that more than 50 per cent of all Volkswagen customers choose a model with a DSG gearbox over a manual one.
The DSG gearbox (Direkt Schalt Getriebe) is a mixture of manual and automatic gears.
There is no clutch pedal in the car, but the gearbox has what is called a dual clutch. This offers extra driving comfort and a smoother gear change, making gear changes almost unnoticeable.
The clutch works by clutch 1 handling the odd gears while clutch 2 handles the even gears and the reverse gear.
The system is extremely refined, and with two clutches, the gearbox is constantly ready to make the next gear change before disengaging from the current gear.
If, for example, the car is in fifth gear, sixth gear is already in the waiting position. It is not active yet, but as soon as the optimal time for a gear shift occurs, the clutch automatically opens on the fifth gear, while the second clutch closes and pre-activates the sixth gear.
An optimised DSG gearbox thus delivers a smooth, super fast and almost imperceptible gear shift.
A control unit that monitors the engine revs and identifies whether the driver is accelerating or braking determines which gear is to be activated next.
The gear shift takes place in 1/100 of a second and the traction is constant. Therefore, it is almost not noticeable when the gearbox switches smoothly between two gears in a gliding operation.
The durability of a DSG dual clutch gearbox is long. However, technical faults can occur, or the gearbox bearings can become worn.
Symptoms of the bearings being worn are typically detected through a jarring sound from the gearbox.
Faults in the gearbox mechanics can cause noise when changing gears, and you may experience that the car jumps out of gear or does not go into first gear. Finally, there may be a sign that something is wrong if the car switches from 6th or 7th gear (for example) very abruptly.
The gear change must always feel easy and smooth – up and down.
A worn clutch can cause the engine speed to increase without a gear shift happening. At the same time, a worn clutch can also be experienced as the gear shift not happening smoothly; more as a jump between the gears.
Several specialist garages offer to replace the worn bearings, so you do not need a brand new expensive gearbox if the bearings have become worn.
At the same time, it is possible to update the software of the mechatronic unit so that any teething troubles are eliminated, or the gearbox can be reset to the gearshift’s original factory setting.
In the most severe cases, a replacement of the dual clutch, mechatronics (control unit) or the entire gearbox may be required. This can quickly end up being an expensive garage bill.
|Make||Avg. price||Min - max|
|Audi||£710||£533 - £912||Get quotes|
|Citroën||£569||£400 - £774||Get quotes|
|Fiat||£421||£343 - £523||Get quotes|
|Ford||£520||£389 - £683||Get quotes|
|Nissan||£512||£408 - £627||Get quotes|
|Peugeot||£564||£396 - £787||Get quotes|
|Renault||£699||£532 - £900||Get quotes|
|Toyota||£527||£388 - £711||Get quotes|
|Vauxhall||£610||£450 - £820||Get quotes|
|Volkswagen||£575||£420 - £769||Get quotes|
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