If you have a car or have been in buying and selling of car, you might have heard the term CVT transmission like various other technical terms like ABS brake, VTI etc. Well if you don’t know much about what is CVT transmission, keep reading because this article will reveal much about CVT transmission and how CVT works.
Starting from the definition of CVT transmissions which is actually the answer of what does CVT stand for? So CVT stands for Continuously Variable Transmission. As the name shows, it’s a transmission where an endless number of gear proportions are generated through a programmed technology using only a single speed gear. It won’t be wrong if we term CVT transmission as a gearless transmission.
Now you got almost a good idea what is CVT transmission. Now we will go a little in depth to know more about CVT transmission. One of the best CVT transmission advantage is that it gives you an incredibly smooth and jerkless transmission and movement at whichever speed you are driving. There are certain limitations and drawbacks also annexed to this superb technology and we will discuss CVT transmission pros and cons of later in this article. But now it’s time to read a little about the history of CVT.
The History of the CVT
Continuously Variable Transmission seems to be an ultra-modern technology in the automobile industry and becoming more and more popular in every coming day. Here we are going to reveal an amazing fact about CVT transmissions technology. You may be astonished to know that the concept of CVT transmission was given by Leonardo DaVinci in 1490. But Benz and Diamler patented the technology almost after 400 years in 1886.
CVT transmission was so successful that it destroyed the business of the most powerful competitor of Zenit Motorcycles when CVT was used in V5 Bike by Zenit Motorcycles in 1910. But for the first time CVT was used in commercial car by Subaru in late 80’s of twentieth century. Since then it gained popularity and now almost every automobile brand use CVT transmission in at least one of its special model.
How CVT Works
Have you ever drove a snowmobile? CVT transmission works almost like that way. It’s a simple system that includes two pulleys and cones attached to pulleys. These cones are free to move on the axel and these can come closer or can move away as required. As the cones come closer, the belt goes up and the pulley at output move faster. When the cones goes far, the belt comes down at lower diameter and hence the output pulley gets less rotation but high power.
So now you might have a clear idea who a CVT works. Now you can imagine how smooth and efficient this transmission technology is when we compare it with the traditional gearbox transmission technology. And CVT is almost an automatic transmission system and now much improved version of CVT can be seen in modern cars with more efficient technology.
The Pros of CVT Transmission
As discussed earlier, one of the major advantage of having CVT transmission in your car is an automatic yet smooth and jerkless shift of speed. Another plus point in the bag of CVT transmissions is fuel efficiency. Cars with CVT transmission are considered more fuel efficient than the cars with traditional gearbox transmission. And efficiency is the reason that all the hybrid car comes with CVT transmission installed to have more speed with less fuel and battery power consumption.
If you often drive your car in mountain ranges then you must prefer cars with CVT transmission because it adjust automatically within no time to give your car the perfect combination of power and speed. And hence you get a smooth drive even at steeper roads while other automatic cars fail to adjust its load and speed.
The Cons of CVT Transmission
One of the major facts that goes against the continuously variable transmission is its high cost. CVT transmissions are way more expensive than traditional gear system. And if at any time the CVT system of your car stops functioning and mechanic suggests a replacement, be ready to spend at least $3000 to $5000 for this simple replacement.
Another drawback of CVT transmission is that these are not as long lasting as gear system is. The maximum life of CVT transmission is 100k kilometer and after that you will have to replace your CVT transmission. And if it fails before its maximum life, 90% chances are that you will have to buy a new one because spare parts are rare in the market for CVT transmission. And if you will be fortunate enough to find one, its cost will be high enough that you will prefer the replace the whole system rather than CVT transmission repair.
And if you want high performance car in terms of power then CVT transmission shouldn’t be your choice. As already told you that CVT transmission works on a belt and pulley system and this system cannot generate high horse power because friction has its own limitations.
The Bottom Line
As we read in detail about what is CVT transmission, how a CVT works and what are CVT transmission pros and cons, now it’s time to decide whether to go for CVT transmission option or not if you are planning to buy a new vehicle for you. We know that CVT transmissions are fuel efficient but we also know that the life of CVT transmission system is low and cost is very high. When we compare the total saving because of fuel efficiency with the cost of replacement, we find out that this fuel efficiency is just a white elephant. But yes if you want to enjoy smooth drive even if you live in a mountain region, the cars with CVT transmission will be best for you.