Continuously Variable Transmissions are Gaining Popularity

By Mister Transmission

Wondering if the next car you buy should be one with a CVT? It depends on if you want to drive a vehicle with gears or not

DAF 600 in 1959

Continuously Variable Transmissions (CVT) are not a new invention, and yet it’s only been in recent years motorists have become more familiar with them.

In 1958, the small Dutch manufacturer van Doorne Automobiel Fabriek (DAF) introduced the DAF 600. It was one of the first mass-produced cars with a CVT, but it was not a success. In 1987 Subaru rolled out the Justy, also built with a CVT. However, it too was a market flop for various reasons including concerns about CVT reliability, as well as the noise they omit.

Despite the bad rap they sometimes get, CVTs do provide advantages including a significant boost to an engine’s fuel efficiency when accelerating, and they reportedly cost less than modern eight- and nine-speed automatic transmissions.

What Is a CVT?

 

Nissan Murano 2003

Most automatic transmissions rely on gears to operate. CVTs, on the other hand, don’t have any gears at all. They operate using a system of variable pulleys connected by a belt, hence the alternative moniker, the pulley transmission.

When Japanese automaker Nissan launched its Murano crossover with a CVT in 2003, motorists started to warm up to them. Nowadays, CVTs are increasingly common on our roads. For instance, Nissan offers the CVT on many of its vehicles including the Murano, Altima, Maxima, Rogue, Sentra, and Versa. CVTs can also be found in some Audi A4 models, Jeep Compass and Patriot, BMW Minis, Mercedes-Benz Class Bs, select Honda Civic Hybrids, Mitsubishi Lancers, and some Toyota models. Chrysler and Ford both offered vehicles with CVTs but switched gears after a while due to consumers’ perception CVT reliability was questionable.

CVT Maintenance and Repair Advantages and Disadvantages

 

In general, CVTs are no more or less reliable than traditional automatic transmissions. But it may be their application are better suited to smaller cars than larger vehicles.

With that said, and when compared to conventional sealed automatic transmissions which can run for up to 100,000 kilometres or more before maintenance is required, proactive preventative maintenance on some CVT models may require frequent transmission fluid changes. Heat is the CVT’s biggest enemy. Thus there are specific oils required for these transmissions.

Do you have questions about CVTs or any other kind of transmission? Visit the Mister Transmission service centre nearest you and talk to our expert technicians to get the information you need.

 

Visit your nearest Mister Transmission location today!

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  • 902-702-7022

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Karen D
Frank Matchett - You fit our vehichle (Toyota Celica) into the Coquitlam Shop so quickly on Monday, June 29th. I am from Kamloops. This was during Canada Day week too. You found a transmission on Vancouver Island and even offered to pick it up yourself if possible. You personally dropped me off and picked me up at the location I was staying at on Port Moody. I so appreciated that kindness. You went above and beyond and kept me, reassured that I would be home on Thursday. My husband was not with me yet you communicated the updates with both him & myself (he was in Kamloops.) You were wonderful with your communication, swiftness in finding the part, I\'m grateful that you fit my car in during this holiday week & your kindness to drop me off & pick me up was so appreciated. So thankful for all that you did Frank Matchett. Sincerely - Mrs. K Devlin
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Steve R
Andrew Ouellette was amazing. Service was booked the next day. dropped the car off at 1pm. Received a call on the work required by 2pm and picked up the car by 4pm. A great service experience!
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Ken is great - knowledgeable skilled friendly and honest and fair. What more could you want?
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Chris & Kurt were Awesome they both
MARC M
Chris & Kurt were Awesome they both went above and beyond ! From Kurt using the Diagnostic tool before they opened as I needed to get to work by 8:50 AM to Chris looking into my options & working on my Transmission They are both incredible ! you have a set of Ambassadors for Mister Transmission that live a vision of caring for the well being of their clients. I will defiantly refer people to them as they are without a doubt the best of the best ! Thank you again Kurt and Chris ! You guys deserve an Award ! Regards Marc
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