Should You Buy a CVT Transmission Car (How It Works)

Should You Buy a CVT Transmission Car (How It Works)


rev up your engines,
believe it or not, it’s snowing in Houston,
since I can’t work outside now, I’m just going
to talk about CVT transmissions,
now many modern cars come with CVT transmissions,
it stands for, continuously variable transmissions,
they don’t have gears like a normal transmission,
they don’t shift from first gear, second gear,
third gear,
now to understand CVT transmissions,
here’s a little history on transmissions in
general,
now the first widely accepted transmissions
in vehicles were standard transmissions,
with a standard shifter, and a clutch that
you push down with your foot,
they were extremely reliable, you shifted
it when you need to with your hand,
but they have one drawback, they are a pain
to drive in traffic,
and then came automatic transmissions that
were still geared transmissions,
but they shifted themselves automatically,
which of course people in the city love,
because then they don’t have to think about
shifting,
they just step on the gas or the brake,
it makes driving a lot easier,
now for a long time, the standard transmissions
had more power, and got better gas mileage
than the automatics,
but as time went on, the automatic transmissions
got more sophisticated and more complex, and
more computer controlled, so that they would
get just about the same gas mileage as a standard
transmission,
but that wasn’t enough, with pressure from
the EPA to get better and better gas mileage
from manufacturers, especially in the United
States, they started making these CVT transmissions,
because they get about 6 percent or so better
gas mileage than the normal automatic geared
transmissions,
as you can see in this diagram, there’s a
gear shift that allows you to manually change
it from first, to second, to third, to fourth
gear,
and there’s actual gears that you shift into
by yourself,
while in this diagram of an automatic transmission,
although it’s a very basic one, the transmission
automatically shifts itself using various
types of devices to send power to the wheels,
while in this CVT diagram, you can see that
there are no real gears, it uses metal belts
and various shaped drums,
in order to make the car run most efficiently,
they have a lot less moving parts than any
modern automatic transmission and they get
the best gas mileage for whatever speed your
going that you can possibly get,
and decades and decades ago,
my grandfather who was also a mechanic, worked
on CVT transmissions, but they didn’t work
all that well back then,
the garage was down at the bottom of a big
hill,
and when he worked on these CVT transmissions,
a lot of times they just would not go up the
hill,
they would slip so badly that they had to
go around to flatter ground to get up, they
wouldn’t make it up the hill,
now metallurgy has gone a long way since then,
so the modern CVT transmissions, they’ll go
up the hills and stuff, but a lot of them
have a lot of lag,
which many people refer to as a rubber band
effect,
you step on the gas and it’s like winding
up a rubber band,
it doesn’t go, it doesn’t go, and then it
starts going,
but your going to find with many modern cars
like this Nissan, they come only with CVT
transmissions,
so what is there for you to do?
because the CVT transmissions are cheaper
to manufacture, and get better gas mileage,
your going to be seeing more and more of them
as time goes on,
so if your going to get a CVT transmission,
listen to this warning,
do some serious research on the models your
thinking about buying, for example,
I have never yet seen a Toyota Corolla CVT
transmission go bad, not a single one yet,
but I personally have seen dozens of Nissan
CVT transmissions go bad, especially in the
Altimas, and when the Altimas went bad, it
was either spend $3,500 to $4,500 having them
rebuild,
or buying a factory re-manufactured unit and
spending $5,000 to $6,000 to have it replaced,
so in this case, if you don’t mind the way
the CVT’s drive,
you would definitely get a Toyota Corolla
and you would pass on a Nissan Altima, now
since CVT transmissions are being mass produced
now, more than they ever have been,
I’m assuming in the future they will probably
perfect all the problems like they did with
automatic transmissions,
but me, I’m going to stick with my four speed
automatic transmission that’s in this Toyota,
it’s got 240,000 miles on it, and it’s never
been touched and it still shifts like a dream,
more quick fixes on the Scotty Kilmer Channel,
so if you never want to miss another one of
my new car repair videos, remember to ring
that bell!

100 comments

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  2. CVT’s are for mopeds, minibikes and garden tractors. Hope I die before I’m forced into one. Damn EPA and DOE need to stay the hell away from cars. Everything they touch turns out costing consumers out the A$$.

  3. we all know that we have conventional-manual genuine gearing box systems running on the roads for probably 80+ years (without fixing, only with oil changes).
    can CVT do so?? I dont think so!!!
    it is normally said that CVTs are better to conventionals for fuel economy, my question is this, if the car is running on highway (conventional gears) in top gear, with exactly same rpm and gear ratio as that of a CVT, how CVT would have a better fuel economy? while considering that a CVT always have frictional loses (driver to driven ratio is never constant due to slippage). on the other hand in conventional spurr gear there is no slippage (constant driver to driven ratio)
    and if you are used to roast your tyres, forget about CVT.
    to the beat of knowledge no one has ever made non-slip CVT yet. is't it??
    I named it a "disposable gearing sytem"

  4. a friend of mine going with his family (honda air-wave) suffered a road blockage on a hill ascend for 2+ hours, including lots of intermittent starts/stops. the CVT failed badly. their recreational tour became a headache.

  5. CVT SUCKS!!!! Can't tow Nothing.. Says 900 LBS passenger capacity and no TOWNING!! Like 5 200 lbs people put you over the limit of weight.
    Go back to just having 4 gears with over drive… 84 000 KM Tranny went in Nissan Ultima 60% highway and 40 in city driving. Plus it's harder on gas then My Older Corolla.. Grrr

  6. People hate change, CVT has been arounf a long time, they go bad probably as much as standard automatic transmission. Get use to it.

  7. I got a 2004 Nissan Murano FWD with 267k miles and original CVT transmission. It has been in the family since new. I have kept up with CVT fluids, and I haven't had a single issue. It drives very well. However, Scotty is right. They are not as strong when it comes to towing or going up to a steep hill. My 2011/Civic/1.8/4DR/auto tows better than Murano. If the transmission fluid is little less than what it should be, it has a late response on acceleration. If it is very low, Murano won't even move. SO If you are planning to do lots of towing, I wouldn't go with CVTs. That's my intake.

  8. I have got a year old Qashqai I think in us you guys calling them rouge , anyway it is CVT transmission since a couple months ago when i put the car to drive or when i stop at the stop or traffic sign and need to move off again car kicking like on manual transmission when you don't release the clutch probably , i always drive carefully never doing any harsh to the engine always be careful with breaking and even on the motorway never done morden 65 miles an hour i am planning to sell it and never get another Nissan

  9. The Nissan CVT is junk. I purchased a 2016 Nissan Altima SR last September with 46K and at 57k the Continuous Variable Transmission died. Luckily, the CVT was under warranty until 60k so it was repaired under warranty. This would be good except that the warranty on the replacement CVT is only 12 months 12k. You would think that given all the repeated failures of their CVTs that they would at least provide a legitimate warranty to stand behind their product. I have been a loyal customer of Nissan having previously purchased 3 other Nissans, but this is it. Beware of the CVT. DO NOT PURCHASE AS IT WILL ONLY COST YOU MONEY.

  10. I recently drove a Toyota corolla cvt and was very impressed by it. It powered the car very well, it was very capable and I experienced no cvt lag. The fuel economy was insanely high. If I ever buy a Toyota corolla I will make sure I get the cvt. I was also impressed at how quickly the cvt accelerated the car.

  11. Issue is that now every major manufacturer has moved or is gradually moving towards CVT. The latest Corolla, Camry and Rav4 from Toyota, the 2019 Accord, City, Civic from Honda, all use CVT. 🙁 Forget the problematic Nissans.

    It's like a trap. I'm out in the market to pick a new car, but this is all that is on offer. Or else I need to go manual. But then there's the stop-start traffic that doesn't entertain rest for the clutch leg.
    Oh well.

  12. I bought a 2011 Nissan Altima without researching the cvt transmission. At 100k miles it had the trans replaced under warranty. At 140k I tried selling it and nobody would bite. I ended up selling it to a young girl but way under what the car was worth just to get rid of it. Yes the trans went to limp mode a couple of times. On long road trips during the summer the grand would get too hot and go into limp mode. Its disappointing to see that Nissan is producing such garbage. They have always been known for reliability in the past.

  13. snow in texas? I cant believe how cold you looked with that little bit of snow… I work on my car in the middle of a new england blizzard every year.

  14. I hate CVTs. I had a 2010 N.Altima & my car didn't go forward after pulling out of the Parking space I was in after a long hard day of work.Nissans will always be at the bottom of my list of cars to buy from now on.Never Again.

  15. I have a CVT in my CanAM Maverick. Has a kevlar belt, takes 10 minutes to replace. Like changing a tire. Too bad Nissan didn't copy that.

  16. My daughter's 2012 Altima with 170,000 miles had the cvt go out.And I'm pretty sure it's not the original transmission. Had it been a manual transmission I could find one at a reasonable price.But even though they are junk,people still want a fortune for them,makes no sense.

  17. Thank you for this.. My corolla is an 08..and it's awesome..I can't stand the SUV craze and I was looking to buy the least obnoxious /most reliable sedan I could. the Obama administration has destroyed cars for the entire nation. I don't blame the manufacturers.. I blame government. Looks like I'll get a Toyota again…can't afford not to!

  18. Really wish i would have seen and research on my 2012 altama with ctv transmissions… Only 135k miles and what do you know.. Its sitting outside with tranmission problems.. Brought it 125k… Smh

  19. I have a 2015 Nissan Versa. Yeah it has a cvt but I do a fair amount of highway driving and it gets amazing mpg. I have super low milage and no problems yet. I'm just gonna keep up on maintenance and hopefully it lasts a long time if it's well taken care off

  20. i own a 2012 asia pacific market toyota previa with the superCVT. 110,000km/69,000miles and 5 years with it, still feels like new. 2.4l, 160hp minivan hauling 1700kg (probably close to 2300kg fully loaded) so it doesnt really go. loaded with cargo, It will reach 160kmh… eventually, hahah.

    no problems at all with the cvt, n its due for a scheduled balance shaft replacement and CVT fluid change anyways. very smooth ride, acceleration is unnoticeable – no jerking whatsover when "upshifting" (its got 7pseudogears – programmed gear ratios to so the driver wont freak out why the engine is holding on to a single rev).

    The cvt fluid needs replacing after 160,000km/100,000miles but the balance shaft need replacing every 100,000km so i thought, heck: two birds with one stone.

    and thats all there is with some toyotas. they might be as a fancy as they want to be on the inside or the outside, but as long as the moving bits are reliable and easy to maintain, owners will be happy.

  21. Scotty, first off you are the man. I need your advice/opinion. I bought an 2007 Nissan murano AWD v6 3.5 automatic. The guy I bought it from stated it just wouldn't drive one day he got home and had to run back out of the house. So the vehicle cranks fine just wont drive foward or in reverse at all, but revs up when the gas is hit. I've read tha alternator maybe the correct. Also there is corrosion buildup on the battery terminal as well.

  22. can i ask i drive chevy sonic no issues but was thinking of getting newer chevy sparks that do have the cvt so what do you think of them

  23. I was checking my CVT fluid in my 05 murano and when I pulled the dipstick up fluid came rushing out almost like a small geyser. I had to put the dip stick back in quickly before all the fluid came out. Lol scared the hell out of me.

  24. Had very good luck with Nissan CVT's. 2008 Rogue, 310,000 miles, never any issues. 2008 Nissan Altima, 195,000 miles, no issues. Yet, I do hear folks that have had problems. Not sure how they drive them. We drive very easy on all of our cars, perhaps that is why they seem to last. Oh, Scotty, don't forget to mention that the Toyota Prius has a Jatco CVT.

  25. So bmw has a trans model in there commercial. Not buying a bmw now because trans people are notorious about killing there selves

  26. i bought a 2019 car with 5 speed manual. it was hard to find. i guess only 1 in 20 of this car were made
    with the manual, 19 of 20 were cvt. if you want manuals to continue to exist, the only thing you can do
    is buy one.

  27. My toyota corolla year 2003 cvt transmission died around 250k miles. It happen after we changed the transmission oil. Is that the reason why it went down? Do we often change the transmission oil?

  28. My Nissan Juke (2015 in UK) has only 15,000 miles, I bought it 10 months ago and insisted (and got) an extra years warranty, just as well as the CVT failed and the garage has ordered a replacement. The service reception said "Nissan will probably help you with the cost as a goodwill gesture", quite amusing when I pointed out I didn't need goodwill, just a new box under warranty thanks!!! I'll keep it till 3 months before the warranty expires then it's gone for the best price I can get!!

  29. Subaru CVTs have been pretty reliable, plus come with a 10 year or 100,000 miles warranty so if it did fail, you're covered.
    It makes sense for manufacturers to figure out how to make them reliable if they're cheaper to make. Less moving parts means they could be more reliable than standard geared trans in the future.They're getting better and better but time will tell.

  30. Dont plan on doing any performance upgrades on the car if it has a CVT. It will just slip quicker and eventually wear out the CVT. Get a manual.

  31. I bought a Subaru Ascent on December. After 6k miles, I noticing CVT Transmission problem. I took it back to the dealer, and they replaced the entire transmission. My question is? How can a brand new car with transmission problem? Guys, stay away this kind of transmission unless you have the money. Any one can suggest me a good car without this damn cvt transmission?

  32. The new 2020 kia soul lx comes with cvt or 6 speed manual.. I've never had either.. should I get the cvt or learn to drive manual?

  33. Only people with bad experiences tend to comment on these things. My car (Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV) and my wife's car (Lexus CT200H) are CVT and are brilliant to drive and renowned for their reliability: coming second and first respectively in one poll I read. Coming from UK I only ever drove manual until I was about 45. Having driven auto, I'd never go back. We're not cavemen! ;o)

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