How do I Choose the Best Transmission Dynamometer?

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  • Written By: Justin Cupler
  • Edited By: Angela B.
  • Last Modified Date: 09 November 2019
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A transmission dynamometer, commonly called a transmission dyno, is a piece of automotive testing equipment. The machine measures the torque a freshly rebuilt or brand-new transmission can handle without failure. Selecting the best transmission dynamometer depends on what it is used for and the space available to hold it. A transmission dynamometer is available in various duty levels. The heavier the duty, the more torque and load it places on the transmission and the more space it typically takes up.

When using a transmission dynamometer, the load applied to the transmission is adjusted through a user interface and the interface alerts the user to any failures occurring. The transmission dyno also applies hydraulic pressure to the transmission so it may be checked for leaks prior to installation. Detecting any such leaks before installation can save time, energy and money.

A heavy-duty transmission dynamometer would be ideal in a shop that handles large truck transmissions. These versions can apply heavy loads to transmissions used in large trucks designed to haul heavy loads. This capability is imperative, because failure of these transmissions can be costly; the transmissions are expensive to replace, and such failures would mean shipments made with the trucks are late.


A medium-duty transmission dynamometer is a great option for a shop that performs work on large passenger trucks and cars. This transmission dyno can handle the large transmission used in 1-ton pickups, as well as smaller front-wheel drive transmissions used in passenger cars. They are also ideal because their small size means space for them can usually be found in a medium-size shop.

A light-duty transmission dynamometer is ideal for small to medium transmission repair shops. These machines allow for quick testing of all light truck and passenger vehicle transmissions prior to installation. This prevents vehicles from coming back and also saves the labor of having to uninstall a transmission if there is a problem.

Another thing to take into consideration is manual transmissions. A manual transmission requires a slightly different testing procedure that some transmission dynos may not perform. Picking the best transmission dyno means making sure it is capable of testing what you need tested, including manual transmissions.

Without a transmission dynamometer, a transmission must be installed in the vehicle and test driven. This is an unreliable way to properly dyno-test a transmission and, if failure occurs, the transmission must be completely removed. The transmission dyno eliminates that and allows the user to locate problem areas easily, because the entire transmission is visible while it is operating.


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