Explaining the CVT Gearbox

The CVT gearbox is a popular option in modern cars, but many drivers will see it listed as a feature and be left in the dark.

What is a CVT gearbox, is it a good thing, how does it compare to other options?

What is a CVT Gearbox

CVT stands for Continuously Variable Transmission and these gearboxes are a form of single speed automatic gearbox.

Generally these gearboxes are fitted to smaller cars, though their use is not exclusive to this group.

CVT gearboxes have a relatively simple construction which should aid their reliability and they can be more cost effective than a regular automatic gearbox.

CVTs are common in a number of makes, but in particular, Toyota, Nissan and Honda are enthusiastic backers of this form of gearbox.

How do Continuously Variable Transmission gearboxes work?

CVTs are fairly straightforward gearboxes, gearboxes designed for reliability and practicality, if not stunning sports car performance.

We could explain how the gearbox works by talking about how two cone-shaped pillars work with a V-shaped drive belt between them.

However, this is one topic whereby video is far more effective. The video below isn’t ours – we’re experts in gearbox repairs and refurbishment, not video production but it is a superb demonstration.


Advantages of the CVT gearbox

This is what you want to know as a driver isn’t it. You have a choice of cars, maybe you’ve even decided on a make and model but then there are the gearbox options.

Should you consider a CVT?

The answer will vary br driver and how you intend to use the car, the types of journey you undertake. As with all options, there are pros and cons.

The CVT gearbox offers smooth acceleration, it can be smoother than any other automatic – this because of the continuously moving belt.

These gearboxes are also relatively cheap to build – and so keep cost of the car down (though they still usually cost more than a manual gearbox). Good fuel economy is a further benefit.

The combination of good fuel economy and smooth acceleration can make it a superb choice for commuting and city driving, driving with lots of stops and starts and periods of acceleration. In hybrid cars, CVT can be a compelling option, the engine combining with the battery mode to increase range and keep fuel costs down.

CVT gearboxes can also have the feel of a more traditional gearbox, this through relatively recent step technology that mimics the change of gear feel – some manufacturers even have paddle shifts that in effect do nothing!

CVT gearboxes have good reliability, certainly we see them coming in for repair no more frequently than any other option.

One interesting feature of a CVT is that the process is simply reversed for going in reverse and so, theoretically, cars could go the same speed in reverse as forward.

Disadvantages of the CVT gearbox

One issue that annoys some is the accompanying noise with some CVT gearboxes, they can hold the engine at high revs and so create a noise that perhaps sounds as much scooter as it does car.

That though shouldn’t put you off test driving a car with a CVT gearbox as it applies in varying amounts to different makes and models.

The CVT is perhaps less suited to high speed journeys (motorways rather than racing…) – the engines have no issues with motorways but fuel consumption can be high at higher speeds.

These engines can also have acceleration that is lacking in power somewhat – it is smooth but not punchy. Again, perfect for some driving requirements, less so for others.

If your gearbox ever has problems…

A new CVT should give you years of hassle free driving and you won’t need our services for years to come.

However, if you do ever find yourself in need of a gearbox repair or seek a refurbished unit please keep us in mind.

At North West Transmissions we repair gearboxes or source replacement with guaranteed refurbished units.

A family-run business, we have a truly superb reputation, this shown by our 4.9 out of 5 average rating from dozens of reviews on Google.

All reconditioned gearbxes come with guarantees for 12 months or 12,000 miles while reconditioned automatic units come with a re-manufactured torque converter that has a lifetime guarantee.

Our technicians are all highly skilled with vast experience in reconditioning and repairing all units – importantly their efficiency helps cut down the price of repairs and so too the cost.

Gearbox problems are all-too common. If you find yourself in need of a repair or reconditioned unit, that often being the more economical option in the long term, please contact us.

Call us on 0151 933 0257 or use our Contact Form.