How does a CVT Work?
A Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) is a transmission system using pulleys instead of gears to help your vehicle accelerate and ride better than it might with a gear-based transmission. For example, rather than increasing the RPMs to cycle through gears, a CVT will accelerate smoothly and without the ups and downs in RPMs you’re likely accustomed to. The difference in the process the CVT uses for acceleration results in improved fuel economy, smoother ride, faster acceleration, constant access to speed and torque, lighter vehicles, and more straightforward transmission mechanics.
Benefits of Choosing a CVT for Your Vehicle
Ultimately, you’ll find a vehicle with a CVT will render a smoother, quieter ride. You’ll get better gas mileage, too. Without the gearbox and the required RPMs to operate it at different speeds, a CVT gives you constant access to power and more speed. This feature can be very effective when driving up and down hills and inclines. No more deciding which gear to downshift into to get the required torque and horsepower for passing that slow truck on an uphill stretch of road.
CVTs are mechanically simplified when compared to gear shift boxes. Fewer parts mean a lighter transmission and fewer pieces to fail and need transmission repair. The drawback here is that when a transmission repair is necessary, it may be more expensive than traditional transmission repairs.
Differences in Driving a CVT Vehicle
As mentioned before, repairs for a CVT can be more expensive than traditional transmission repairs. CVT vehicles also need more maintenance than traditional transmission vehicles, incurring higher ownership costs for you. You may also find that, more often than not, a CVT will need to be replaced, not repaired, when there is a failure in the system. Currently, CVTs often last only about 100,000 miles before needing replacing. It can be something you’re not used to if you’ve had vehicles with standard transmissions. CVT vehicles may feel as though they’re hesitating before acceleration. This effect results from your familiarity with the sudden change in torque and acceleration associated with standard transmissions. Because you don’t feel the increase in RPMs, it may seem the vehicle isn’t going any faster when you first step on the accelerator. Finally, you won’t be able to tow much with a CVT vehicle. Many CVT vehicles have towing capacities of 1000 pounds or less.
The Choice is Yours
It’s important to consider all these performance differences when considering a vehicle with a CVT. Test driving a CVT vehicle is also important so you can decide if you’re comfortable with the way they drive. There are pros and cons to a CVT vehicle. Still, only you can decide if the tradeoffs are worth the possibilities of the cons. Feel free to contact AC Auto Service Center in Winston-Salem, NC, to discuss transmission repair needs.