CVTs are still relatively new so people often have a lot of questions about them. Most popular are questions about CVT repairs. Are CVT transmission repairs more common than other types of transmission repair?
It will be handy to first describe CVT transmissions before we go into the specifics of their repairs. You’re probably familiar with automatic and manual transmissions, but here’s a brief overview: automatic transmissions automatically change the gear ratio as your automobile moves. This means that the driver does not have to shift gears manually. Manual transmissions require the driver to change gears by using a gear shift and clutch. Manual transmissions are more work for drivers, but some enjoy this because they have more control over their vehicle. Automatic transmissions are heavier and less fuel-efficient, but not to a major degree.
Automatic transmissions permit the engine to provide a range of speed and torque outputs while it itself retains a relatively high rotational speed. CVT transmissions do the same and are, technically, just another kind of automatic transmission. CVT stands for “continuously variable transmission”, so we should state that “CVT transmission” is actually redundant, but you’ll still see it referred to in this way, much like people say “ATM” machine”.
While most automatic transmissions provide a limited number of gear ratios in fixed steps, CVTs can shift faultlessly through an uninterrupted range of ratios. CVTs can operate at a constant RPM even while the vehicle moves at different speeds. Essentially, CVTs run more smoothly than previous automatic transmissions. Ultimately, these changes aren’t seismic, but you can think of CVTs as an improvement on the traditional automatic transmission and, as such, we’ll see more new vehicles made with CVT transmissions.
We don’t have decades of data on CVTs yet, but they appear to be more resistant to a lot of problems that manifest in other automatic transmissions. Given this, we can say with reasonable confidence that not only do CVTs not require more repairs than other transmissions, over the course of their life they’ll probably require fewer. Worn-out friction surfaces and overheating problems caused by a lack of transmission fluid are still probably the most common problems. Many drivers who are new to CVTs will bring them in thinking they need a transmission repair because it’s making different sounds compared to other automatic transmission vehicles they have owned.
To learn more about CVT transmission repair, please contact us.