What is a Continuously Variable Transmission?

What is a CVT, and How Does it Work?

A continuously variable transmission (CVT) is replacing the traditional automatic transmission in an increasing number of cars and sport utility vehicles, but few know what it is. In this article, we’ll give you a quick rundown of what a CVT is, how it may be different from the transmission in your vehicle, and what it means for the transmission repair process.

If your vehicle is in need of professional transmission repair in Spanaway, Washington, come see us at Austin's Pro Max today for all of your auto maintenance service needs.

How Does a Continuously Variable Transmission Work?

A continuously variable transmission (CVT) is a transmission that uses a pulley system to automatically change the transmission ratio, allowing infinite variation between the highest and lowest gears with no shifting necessary. Traditional transmissions, however, use gearboxes with fixed numbers of gear sets, provide more power, fuel economy, and a smoother driving experience than CVTs.

The main difference between CVTs and standard automatic transmissions is that they lack gears that provide transitions between low and high speeds. Instead, they use a pair of cone-shaped pulleys with variable diameters that are connected by a steel or composite belt.

While the CVT concept has many variations, in most vehicles, each half of the pulley is aligned with the pointed end of the cones touching. Where the belt runs, it forms a V-shaped groove. The pulley has one fixed end and one movable end, both of which are stimulated by a hydraulic cylinder. The cylinder works by adjusting the distance between the two sides of the pulley, allowing the belt to ride lower or higher along the pulley's walls.

Advantages of a CVT

When it comes to automotive engineering, the CVT's design is what gives it the biggest advantage. Because of this benefit, the CVT keeps the engine in its ideal power range, improving fuel mileage and efficiency by providing an infinite number of smooth transitions from low to high. It results in fewer transmission repairs. According to the EPA, it also helps boost the vehicle's fuel economy by about 6% because of its infinite variability.

Schedule Your Transmission Repair with Austin's Pro Max Today

Ignoring major signs that your transmission needs repair could result in more costly repairs further along down the road. Is your transmission giving you trouble? Stop by and see us at Austin's Pro Max in Spanaway, Washington and let one of our certified transmission repair mechanics take a look at your vehicle.

Written by Austin's Pro Max

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