How Long Do A CVT Transmission Last?

Wondering what to do to maintain and last my CVT transmission last longer

Vehicle manufacturers are always working on technological enhancements that are meant to provide car owners with unique driving experience.

One such type of technological advancement is the Continuously Variable Transmission that is an alternative transmission system apart from the most common ones-manual and the automatic systems.

This is a transmission system that comes along with significant differences that are seen in the variety of features that you get from its components.

How long will a CVT transmission last? Probably 5 years if well maintained. The Continuous Variable Transmission system of your vehicle might last for up to 100,000 miles.

It may only last this long or even more provided it is well taken care of and maintained properly.

To get a significant life from the Continuous Variable Transmission of your vehicle, you will need to follow a series of steps, for one, you could have intelligent design features like a launch gear installed.

Unlike the manual transmission that works to shift gears while you are driving, the Continuously Variable Transmission system does not have gears.

Instead, it is an automatic shifter that is designed with a single-speed transmission system.

What Is A Continuously Variable Transmission?

The Continuously Variable Transmission system is a whole new kind of transmission when compared to the manual and the automatic systems.

Vehicles that run using this type of transmission system are not as common as either the manual and the automatic transmission system.

The only similarity between the Continuously Variable Transmission and the automatic transmission might just be the P and D options on the gear shifter.

Where D is all the forward driving gears, and P is for parking.

Conventional transmission systems have specific gears that the vehicle moves through, and each of these covers a specific speed range that the vehicle can be driven in.

For instance, when you place the gear shifter at D, it will start from gear 1 and proceed top 2 and even up to 4 as you continue stepping on the accelerator pedal.

However, with the Continuously Variable Transmission system, there are no gears to work with.

You can think of it as just a single gear transmission that covers all the speeds that the vehicle can move through.

When driving a vehicle with this transmission system, you wouldn’t even hear as the transmission shifts from one gear to another, but it is instead a smoother experience as the vehicle accelerates on the road.

As indicated above, you won’t hear sounds as you hear with other transmissions as the gears change.

Instead, you might just realize that the vehicle is moving at a greater speed every time and changes with the RPM.

This should provide you with a unique experience considering the difference in the way it works compared to other alternatives.

When driving a vehicle fitted with the Continuously Variable Transmission, you need to be quite careful and focused.

This is because control is needed as the vehicle has no limits on the speed at which it can run through-hence.

There is no telling how the speeds are achieved when you are on the road. If you are not keen, you might have a difficult time slowing down and even making a turn when you need to.

What Can You Do To Ensure That Your Vehicle Continuously Variable Transmission is Long-Lasting?

If you have the Continuously Variable Transmission system installed for your vehicle, then you are probably concerned about its longevity-just like any other transmission.

This is because, with the first vehicle models that were fitted with this transmission, they started experiencing some issues that cast a shadow over the reliability of using the Continuously Variable Transmission type.

While this transmission may be in use reliably for up to 5 years, you could always take some actions that may not only guarantee their reliability until this point but also beyond this time range.

Some of the proper maintenance practices that will ensure you get the best time out of yours include:

  1. Replacement of the vehicle’s transmission fluid regularly, like after the vehicle has covered close to 18,641miles (30,000km). How frequently you change the transmission fluid will also be determined by what the manufacturers recommend. This will ensure that the components are well cleaned and that the temperature is regulated and hence ensure longevity.
  2. The Continuous Variable Transmission system will have better longevity when used for fairly small cars and small engine types. Such types of transmission may not have the capacity to work with large engine types that may be described as either having a rather strong chain and which need to be handled with high powered engine types.
  3. Taking the vehicle to an expert regularly so that the transmission is checked, verified and corrected early enough whenever an issue occurs.

Issues That Will Affect The Longevity Of Your Vehicle’s CVT

The longevity of your CVT transmission? A well taken care of CVT might last even more than 5 years and still be highly reliable for use.

There are a bunch of complications that will prevent you from realizing your vehicle’s CVT full potential, some of them are discussed below-through the various vehicle models that exist:

1. CVT Issues With The Honda Vehicles

For the CVT installed in the Honda vehicles, they will need regular maintenance work so that their lifespan is extended.

They are not the most reliable and durable CVT option that you can get out there that might just be in place for a couple of years.

The repair and maintenance will need to be performed by highly competent personnel.

2. CVT Issues With The Nissan Vehicles

The Nissan vehicles that are fitted with the CVT are affected by issues such as low-speed accelerations.

You might notice this through some signs such as the vehicle appearing to shutter and shake irregularly when you accelerate it.

You might also realize that after driving for a period of time, the vehicle overheats, and this is because of the transmission system used by the vehicle.

The overheating is because the cooling system is not the most efficient for use.

It is also quite boring to use as it takes rather long periods of time to speed up, and this is worse because you can’t intervene and switch to a greater gear with greater speeds.

The sluggishness might leave you frustrated about the CVT system in Nissan vehicles.

The Advantages Of Your Vehicle CVT Being In Perfect Condition

If your vehicle’s Continuous Variable Transmissions are in perfect condition, you will enjoy the following benefits:

A Better Fuel Economy

The Continuous Variable Transmissions of vehicles are designed to change the gear ratios in an instant manner and through a specific range.

This makes them guarantee fuel efficiency when in use in the vehicle.

Quality Take-Offs Guaranteed

Since they lack ordinary gearing, vehicles with the Continuous Variable Transmissions are able to achieve and maintain a specific torque ratio that is ideal for them.

This provides them with a simple experience when they are taking off from the spotlight and also when they want to navigate a sloped terrain.

You will realize that for such vehicle types, they have an easy experience going up a climbing terrain.

This is because the system of the Continuous Variable Transmission gives them the ability to get the best gear to work with.

This also enables them to maintain the vehicle to move through that gear for a significant period.

You will notice this if you can spot the difference with the way you experience driving uphill using a vehicle with a Continuous Variable Transmission system and that without-it is much simpler on greater attitudes with the one with the CVT.

Smooth Riding Experience

If you have tried the different transmission systems, then you will realize the difference that you get from the Continuous Variable Transmission system.

There are no gear shifts with this particular system, and this provides you with a smooth driving experience-smoother than what you get from other alternative transmissions.

Since there is no shift in gears, the vehicle progresses smoothly, and there are no pauses, nor are there drops in the power at which the vehicle is moving in.

The acceleration is a unique one, and this makes it the best to use for a stop and go traffic.

You will realize that alternative transmission systems will have a challenge when you have to stop at a red light and then start the vehicle once again.

However, for the Continuous Variable Transmission systems, they are quite efficient in starting, especially when it is sudden, and the acceleration is also significantly improved.

Downsides Of Using The Continuous Variable Transmission System

There are a few cons of opting for the CVT system, and they are highlighted below:

The Experience is Much Different

If you are a traditional type of driver, then you probably enjoy the vehicles that have a manual transmission system.

With such, you have complete control over the vehicle, and you are able to change gears on your own.

This might also be the case with the automatic transmissions, but you have less control over the transmission on a vehicle with a Continuous Variable Transmission system.

Droning Sound Produced

There is a droning sound produced with the Continuous Variable Transmission system that is fitted on a vehicle.

It may not be the best sound and be quite unpleasant and uncomfortable to you as the driver.

Are Quite Expensive

Continuous Variable Transmissions are quite costly to manufacture, and that is why purchasing a vehicle that is fitted with them is quite expensive.

This also applies to the repair cost when any of its components gets damaged.

Difficult To Work With

If you think that the automatic transmissions are difficult to work with, then you should try the Continuously Variable Transmission.

They are complicated, and they require a lot of effort and focus when you are driving such vehicles.

The maintenance will also require a series of work to be done, and this can only be performed at a dealership that is both qualified and appropriately equipped with the machines to get this done.

Is The Continuous Variable Transmission Ideal For You?

If you spend most of your driving time in city traffic that entails a lot of stopping and starting the vehicle again, then this might be the best option for the transmission system to go for.

This is because of its simple and effective start that will progress to higher speeds quite comfortable in an automated manner.

You also don’t have to worry about starting from square one whenever you are back on the road.

You should not go for the Continuously Variable Transmission system if you are not a fan of the droning.

The droning can be rather unpleasant as it continues all through when the vehicle is moving, and this can be quite boring for you as the driver.

Similarly, for some types of vehicles, the CVT may not respond perfectly as the acceleration might take too much time, and this might make your driving experience to be rather frustrating.

If you are a traditional type of driver, then this type of transmission is not for you. You probably enjoy stepping on the clutch and switching the gears by yourself-but with this type, there are no gears.

The vehicle has an automated control, whereas you are the type that wants a sense of control when you are driving the vehicle, and you want to hear as the gear changes from one to another.

You might also find the automatic transmission a favorite as there is a sense of control, and there are gears too!

Conclusion

As you probably know, there are a variety of transmissions systems that can be fitted in a vehicle.

The main ones are the manual and the automatic transmission systems, but there is also the continuously variable transmission that provides you with a whole new experience when you try it out.

Its main properties are discussed above, and you should enjoy the unique experience that this transmission system provides you with.

Sources:

1. CAR FROM JAPAN – https://carfromjapan.com/article/car-maintenance/how-long-do-cvt-transmissions-last/
2. CJ Pony Parts – https://www.cjponyparts.com/resources/cvt-vs-automatic-transmission

Written by Yusuke Kohara

Hi there! My name is Yusuke. I write about automotive topics for Car Proper. I love cars and have a passion for writing helpful articles on tools, car accessories, and how-to to help my readers solve their problems. In my spare time, I'm either working out, reading the book, or spending time with my family. I also work for a digital consulting agency.

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