Continuously Variable Transmissions

A Look At Continuously Variable Transmissions (CVTs)

The Goal:

With the goal of better fuel mileage, auto manufacturers are introducing more autos with “continuously variable transmissions” (CVTs).

How they Work:

In contrast to an automatic transmission, which has a set number of gear ratios, CVTs generally utilize a pair of variable-diameter pulleys (shaped like a pair of opposing cones) with a chain or metal belt running between them. With one pulley connected to the engine and the other connected to the drive wheels, the changing diameters of the movable pulleys seamlessly vary the transmission’s ratio.

Noticeable Difference:

Cars utilizing CVTs make no discernible sounds, as the CVT raises and lowers engine speed as needed. However, it is important to note that CVTs require special transmission fluids, and nothing else should ever be used.

TIP: While the belts used on some continuously variable transmissions have a well-established record for durability, chains provide more torque.

Does your vehicle have a (VT) continuously variable transmission in it?

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Written by Maryann Croce

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