Tag Archives: CVT Transmissions

What Are CVT Transmissions and How Do You Repair Them?

transmission technicians

Pretty much everybody has heard of manual and automatic transmissions. And most of us understand the basic differences between the two. But have you heard of CVT transmissions? Do you know what they are? Do you know how to repair a CVT transmission? Or, more to the point, do you know how transmission technicians repair CVT transmissions?

CVT Transmissions

“CVT” stands for “Continuously Variable Transmission”. So, before we go any further, let us admit that “CVT transmission” is redundant; just like “ATM machine”. But it is how people often refer to CVTs. CVTs are a newer type of transmission, though the concept is old. In the name of fuel efficiency, CVTs are becoming ever more popular, so if you own or are looking at purchasing a newer vehicle, you have a higher chance of getting a CVT.

A CVT is a type of automatic transmission, but it’s different than traditional automatic transmissions. CVTs provide a smoother driving experience because they have optimized the shifting process. When driving a CVT, you might well notice that the transition between gears becomes near seamless. But there are other advantages to CVTs, too. CVTs can provide better fuel economy and more efficient power usage because they permit the engine to operate at optimum power, regardless of how fast the vehicle is traveling. This all boils down to CVTs being “continuously variable”. It means that instead of actual gear “stages”, the CVT allows for a continuous variation within the engine so that you can’t even notice the transition between gears.

Different Types Of Cvt Transmissions

There are several types of CVTs, many of which are now available from major auto manufacturers. These different types include:

  • Pulley-Based – The most common type of CVT. Pulley-based CVTs use a complex pulley system, as opposed to gears, in order to provide seamless gear transitions.
  • Toroidal CVT – This type of CVT system utilizes rotating discs and power rollers to achieve the function of the pulley system from a pulley-based CVT.

Cvt Transmission Repair

CVTs represent a general improvement on the traditional automatic transmission. CVTs generally feel smoother than other transmissions. However, CVTs will idle in any gear and, because the sounds of regulation are often similar to that of a slipping or clunking transmission, people can get confused. Sometimes CVT transmission repair consists of simply reassuring new drivers of CVT vehicles that their transmission doesn’t need to be repaired at all. Though, at Mister Transmission, we always conduct our Multi-Check Inspection, just to make sure.

At Mister Transmission, we expect to see more and more CVTs in the future, both near and far. The benefits are simply too great to prevent wider adoption of CVTs. And we are prepared for all the increasing CVT transmission repairs with which we will be tasked. CVT repair can be tricky because of the pulleys, but it’s nothing the technicians at Mister Transmission can’t handle.

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Whether you need an automatic, manual, or CVT transmission repaired, please contact Mister Transmission to get the job done right.

 

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Transmission Types and History of Development

From starting with manual transmissions, to the introduction of automatic transmissions in 1939 – learn about the evolution of the modern transmission.

The transmission in automobiles is a system of parts usually contained within a housing, connecting the engine to the wheels. Suitable torque, or turning force, is generated by the engine only within a narrow range of engine speeds, i.e., rates at which the crankshaft is turning. However, the wheels must turn with suitable torque over a wide range of speeds. While its speed is held roughly constant, the engine turns an input shaft on the transmission whose output shaft can be adjusted to turn the wheels at an appropriate speed.

Manual Transmission

The manual transmission is the simplest (and earliest) of transmissions, and consist of a system of interlocking gearwheels. These wheels are arranged so that by operating a lever the driver can choose one of several ratios of speed between the input shaft and the output shaft. These ratios are called gears, first gear being the arrangement that gives the lowest output speed, second gear the next lowest, and so forth. To allow smooth shifting from one gear to another, a clutch is provided to disengage the engine from the transmission. The commonly used dry single disk clutch has a steel disk with a friction lining that is sandwiched between a flywheel on the engine shaft and a pressure plate on the transmission input shaft. When the driver takes his foot off the clutch pedal, springs squeeze the friction disk into the space between the flywheel and the pressure plate, enabling the engine shaft to turn the transmission.

For many cars and for normal driving conditions a transmission with three forward gears and one reverse gear is sufficient. In cars having small engines transmissions with four or five forward speeds are used; racing cars often have as many as six forward speeds.

Synchromesh Transmission

A synchromesh transmission is a manual transmission in which all forward gear wheels are held in mesh at all times. Used on most American cars with a manual transmission, it allows the driver to shift gears more smoothly and makes the car run more quietly.

Automatic Transmission

The automatic transmission, introduced in 1939, switches to the optimum gear without driver intervention except for starting and going into reverse. The type of automatic transmission used on current American cars usually consists of a fluid device called a torque converter and a set of planetary gears. The torque converter transmits the engine’s power to the transmission using hydraulic fluid to make the connection. For more efficient operation at high speeds, a clutch plate is applied to create a direct mechanical connection between the transmission and the engine.

The introduction of microprocessor-controlled electronic sensors has enhanced the performance of automatic transmissions still more. Data about engine speed, exhaust pressure, and other performance characteristics are sent to a processor that controls the changing of gears and the clutch plate in the torque converter via electrical switches, or solenoids. New approaches to transmission design combine the best features of manual and automatic transmissions to provide more efficient ways of channeling engine power to the wheels.

Manumatic Transmission

A manumatic transmission is an automatic transmission with an added manual-shift mode; typically, a floor-mounted shifter offers an alternative selector path supplemented by buttons mounted on the steering wheel.

Continuously Variable Transmission

A continuously variable transmission (CVT) uses a belt that connects two variable-diameter pulleys to provide an unlimited number of ratio changes and uninterrupted power to the wheels; CVT transmissions offer better fuel efficiency than conventional automatic transmissions, which change the transmission ratio by shifting gears.

Sequential Manual Gearbox

A sequential manual gearbox (SMG), developed for Formula One cars, uses computer-controlled actuators to operate the clutch and change gears when prompted by the driver; both manual and automatic modes are possible, and there is no clutch pedal.

Dual Clutch Transmission

The dual clutch transmission (DCT), also called the direct shift gearbox (DSG), substitutes dual clutches for the conventional single-sided clutch to transfer power from the engine through two parallel paths; the gearbox features two sets of gears, identical to those in conventional manual transmissions—one set being the odd gears (1st, 3rd, 5th) and the other the even gears (2nd, 4th, 6th)—the gears must be shifted in sequence, and power to the wheels is never interrupted.

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CVT (Continuously Variable Transmissions): The Next Generation

You may have already heard of CVT, or Continuously Variable Transmission systems being used in newer vehicles with automatic transmission.

The concept of the continuously variable transmission has actually been around for over 500 years, but it has been getting a lot more attention recently given the huge push towards more fuel-efficient solutions for vehicles.

A CVT is an automatic transmission system that provides a smoother driving experience by way of optimizing the shifting process. By nature of the CVT, the transition between gears becomes almost seamless, and the effect of  “shift-shock” is lessened considerably.

CVTs also provide better fuel economy and power usage because it allows the engine to operate at optimum power, no matter how fast the vehicle is traveling.

The term “continuously variable” means that instead of actual gear “stages”, the CVT allows for a continuous variation within the engine so that there are no perceived transitions between gears.

Different Types of CVTs

There are several types of continuously variable transmissions, many of which are now available from major auto manufacturers.

Pulley-Based

The most common CVT uses an intricate pulley system instead of gears in order to provide seamless gear transitions.

Toroidal CVT

This transmission system uses rotating discs and power rollers to accomplish the function of the pulley system from a pulley-based CVT.

Hydrostatic

A Hydrostatic CVT uses pumps to regulate fluid flow and create rotational motion.

Why Haven’t CVTs Replaced All Transmission systems?

Because of the way a CVT handles the management of power and torque, the feeling of a CVT is far different than a manual transmission.

A CVT will also idle in any gear, and because the sounds of regulation are often similar to that of a slipping or clunking transmission, people have customarily shied away from using them.

Of course, once there is a wider adoption, and people become familiar with the inherent benefits to using a CVT, as in, better fuel economy, more power, potential faster acceleration (over time), then we may just see CVTs taking on the role of the future of transmission systems in the vehicles of the future.

Mister Transmission technicians are well-versed in servicing manual, traditional automatic, as well as CVT systems for most any modern vehicle. Visit your local Mister Transmission shop today to ask about CVTs and how they are changing the face of the automotive industry.

Also see this article on CVTs.

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Continuously Variable Transmissions are Gaining Popularity

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.

 

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