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CVT transmissions, often known as continuously variable transmissions, differ significantly from typical automatic transmissions. Unlike standard automatics with fixed gear ratios, CVTs offer an infinite range of gear ratios. The core component is a pulley system with two cone-shaped halves that move together and apart. A V-belt runs between these halves, changing the effective diameter of the pulleys and adjusting the gear ratio. This system allows the engine to stay in its most efficient RPM range regardless of vehicle speed, leading to better fuel economy, especially in city driving.
Common Issues with CVT Transmissions
- Less engaging driving experience: Some drivers find the lack of gear changes and engine noise makes the driving experience less exciting, especially for sporty cars.
- Potential for higher repair costs: CVTs are relatively new technology and repairs can be more complex than standard automatics, though reliability has improved significantly in recent years.
- Not ideal for towing or heavy loads: CVTs are not designed for heavy use like towing or hauling large trailers.
CVT Transmission Servicing - Additional Factors
- Different types of CVTs exist: Some use metal belts, others use chains, each with slightly different characteristics.
- Simulated gear changes: Some CVTs mimic conventional automatic gear changes for a more familiar driving feel.
- Availability: CVTs are becoming increasingly common in cars, SUVs, and even some motorcycles.
Makes and Models with CVT Transmissions
CVT transmissions are now used in a wide range of automobiles due to its benefits such as smoothness, fuel efficiency, and lightweight design. Here are some top manufacturers:
American and European Automakers Using CVT Transmissions:
- Ford: Growing adoption of CVTs, especially in hybrids like the Escape and Maverick.
- Chevrolet: Utilizes CVTs in some smaller models like the Malibu and Trailblazer.
- Chrysler: Mainly found in the Pacifica Hybrid plug-in hybrid minivan.
- General Motors: Limited use in some hybrid models like the Buick Encore GX.
- European: CVTs are less common, but some examples include the Audi A3 and the Mini Cooper.
Japanese Automakers Using CVT Transmissions:
- Honda: A huge proponent of CVTs, found in popular models like the Accord, Civic, CR-V, HR-V, and Insight.
- Nissan: Another CVT champion, used in many models like the Altima, Kicks, Maxima, Murano, Rogue, and Sentra.
- Subaru: Renowned for their CVTs, utilized in nearly all their offerings, including the Ascent, Crosstrek, Forester, Impreza, Legacy, and Outback.
- Mitsubishi: CVTs are common across their lineup, including the Mirage, Outlander, and Eclipse Cross.
Many hybrid and plug-in hybrid vehicles use a form of CVT known as an eCVT to ensure smooth and economical running. It's worth noting that not all models under a brand will have CVT options, and some may offer both CVT and standard automatic transmissions. Check the manufacturer's specifications or consult with our car experts at Transmission City & Automotive Specialists to determine whether a specific vehicle uses a CVT Transmission and what services are needed.
If you are experiencing any transmission issues with your vehicle that has a CVT Transmission give us a call today!