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CVT Transmission Problems

by Andrea Stein

CVT, or continuously variable transmission, refers to a vehicle transmission that can switch between an infinite number of effective gear ratios, as opposed to standard transmissions that offer a fixed gear ratio number. CVT offers unique benefits, such as enhanced fuel economy, but also come with a list of common problems.

Acceleration Noise

Man shifting gears of car

CVTs produce noise, similar to the sound associated with a slipping clutch, during engine acceleration. This noise generates via the pulley and belt system that facilitates changing through gear ratios, which may take drivers accustomed to standard, low noise transmissions some adjustment.

Fluid Check

Mechanic checking fluids

In standard transmissions, the transmission fluid reservoir can be easily accessed by the driver, checked for sufficient levels and topped off as needed. CVTs must be checked by the dealer, which results in an added expense and less convenience.

Speed Reduction

Man driving car in high gear

CVTs transition more smoothly into higher gears than standard transmissions and can leave the impression of the engine slowing down as it reaches maximum RPM. This effect can be minimized by adjusting the CVT dynamics as indicated in the manufacturer’s manual.

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