CVT or Continuously Variable Transmission is the newest type of transmission, among the other two types which are manual and automatic transmission. When compared to a typical automatic, a CVT can deliver a smoother driving experience depending on the car and the driver. One of the most major benefits of a CVT, according to Carfax, is that it is often more fuel-efficient than a normal automatic transmission. This is one of the reasons why automakers are increasingly using them in a variety of automobiles. But because CVTs are more likely to fail catastrophically than standard automatic transmissions, they are also more expensive to repair. A CVT transmission rebuilds costs between $3500 and $8000 on average. The cost varies depending on the vehicle's manufacturer and model. If rebuilding the CVT isn't an option, the machine must be replaced with a new one.
So, despite all the benefits of owning a vehicle with a CVT, such as superior fuel economy, CVTs come at a price that must be critically evaluated. The most significant downside of CVT Transmissions is not only the high cost. But the CVT transmission will also not survive as long as a traditional automatic transmission. In fact, the majority of these vehicles only survive 150000 kilometers or less, meaning you might need to think about CVT transmission rebuild cost sooner than desired.
Even more crucial to note is the fact that they must be replaced 9 out of 10 times when they fail. The reason behind this is that parts are extremely expensive, can be difficult if not impossible to locate, and are sometimes damaged to the point that they are not worth attempting to repair. Another downside of the CVT is that it cannot handle the same amount of horsepower as an automatic or manual transmission. As a result, the CVT isn't used in any high-performance applications.
CVT Transmission Rebuild Cost: The Basics
So you could understand better how the CVT transmission rebuild cost can be justified, let us first get to know all about CVT transmissions. A CVT is a type of automatic transmission that differs from regular automatic transmissions in several ways. Because the shifting process has been refined, CVTs deliver a smoother driving experience. When you drive a CVT, you'll notice that the shift between ratios is almost effortless. CVTs, on the other hand, provide a number of other advantages.
Because CVTs let the engine function at maximum power regardless of how quickly the vehicle is driving, they can deliver improved fuel economy and more efficient power consumption. It all comes down to the fact that CVTs are “continuously variable.” Instead of true gear “stages,” the CVT allows for constant fluctuation within the engine, thus the change between ratios is barely noticeable.
The Different CVT Transmission Types
CVTs come in a variety of configurations, and many of them are currently available from major automakers. The following are examples of the various types:
Pulley-based CVTs – are the most popular. Pulley-based CVTs, rather than using gears, use a complicated pulley system to enable seamless gear transitions.
Toroidal CVT – A pulley-based CVT that uses rotating discs and power rollers to provide the same function as a pulley-based CVT.
The majority of us are familiar with the operation of traditional manual and automatic transmissions. A manual transmission has a fixed number of gears, and the driver selects the gear ratio they require. An automatic transmission has the same number of gears as a manual transmission, but it uses a hydraulic system that responds to pressure caused by the conditions to calculate the gear required without the driver's input.
A CVT is comparable to an automatic transmission in that it does not require driver input, but that is where the similarities end. There are no gears in a CVT. Two pulleys are used in the most common CVT construction. The engine is connected to one pulley, while the wheels are connected to the other. The two pulleys are connected by a flexible belt.
The diameter of the pulleys varies based on the amount of power required by the vehicle. When one pulley grows larger, the other shrinks. Unlike the automatic, which has a fixed number of gears, they can produce an endless number of gear ratios because neither the pulleys nor the belt are fixed.
CVT Transmission Rebuild Cost: Symptoms of a bad CVT Transmission
CVTs are an advance over traditional automatic transmissions in general. CVTs have a smoother feel than traditional transmissions. CVTs, on the other hand, will idle in any gear, and people may be confused because the sounds of regulating are often similar to those of a slipping or clunking transmission.
To know if you already need to start thinking about transmission rebuild cost you will have to maintain an eye and ear out for potential CVT transmission problems and the symptoms of a malfunctioning CVT transmission. Catching these symptoms early might even save you from the very expensive CVT transmission rebuild cost.
- Strange Noises
It's possible that noise is coming from the CVT transmission when it’s failing. The transmission's gears gradually wear down over time, resulting in unusual noises when shifting gears or moving out of the idle position.
If you hear any loud noises, such as clanging, banging, or shrieking, you may have a faulty CVT Transmission. The cost and severity of the remedy vary, ranging from replenishing transmission fluid to totally rebuilding the transmission.
So keep an ear out for unusual noises coming from your transmission. CVT transmissions are typically louder and produce more noise than traditional manual or automatic transmissions, but they should not be so loud that humming and whining sounds become normal and expected. When you accelerate your automobile and hear too much noise or excessive sounds, or if it jerks when accelerating, you have a defective CVT Transmission.
- Burnt Smell
If you discover a burning odor in your automobile, it could be a sign of an overheating CVT Transmission or a symptom of a faulty CVT Transmission.
- Leakage or Muddy or Contaminated Fluid
Any leak in your vehicle could indicate a faulty CVT transmission. The foul odor could indicate a leak in your car, whether it's oil or transmission fluid. A muddy or debris-filled fluid could indicate a failing CVT transmission. The CVT is working well if the transmission fluid has a little pleasant smell and is brilliant red in color. If the transmission fluid begins to seem murky, do everything you can to get it changed as soon as possible.
- Slipping Gears
The transmission slipping gears is a classic indication of a malfunctioning CVT transmission. This is a typical problem that occurs as a result of structural issues or a lack of transmission fluid, causing the gears to jump out of gear while driving. When you accelerate your vehicle, you should feel a smooth, seamless, and consistent acceleration. It's a sign of a poor or malfunctioning CVT transmission if the transmission or acceleration slips and you lose power while driving.
- Surging, Jumping, or Lurching
Surging might be a sign of polluted transmission fluid, along with the other frequent signs of a malfunctioning CVT transmission. Your vehicle may accelerate, jerk, or lurch if your transmission becomes overly filthy or loaded with junk over time. For no apparent reason, leap forward or fall back. A transmission fluid flush may be all that is required to resolve the issue.
When changing or accelerating in your car, you may experience jerking while shifting or uneven shifting during acceleration. Shifting should never cause the vehicle to jerk, but if it does, it's a sign of a faulty CVT transmission.
- Delayed Movement
Delays in the movement are a common indicator of a malfunctioning CVT transmission. If your car stalls for a second or two before smoothly shifting gears, this is cause for concern and could be the consequence of any problem. This problem is frequent among car owners for a variety of reasons, and it can be used to diagnose gearbox or transmission fluid problems.
While a CVT transmission does not require you to shift from first to second gear, you must shift between park, drive, and reverse to properly operate your vehicle. If the transmission shifts for more than a second or two, it could be a sign of a defective CVT transmission.
Refusal to reverse is also a symptom of a defective CVT transmission, and cold weather exacerbates the problem, making it a key and clear sign that your transmission is in difficulty and you have a bad transmission.
- Engine Light On
If the all-encompassing engine light is illuminated, along with some or all of the symptoms listed above, it could indicate that the CVT is malfunctioning.
- Trouble Getting the Vehicle to Start
Trouble starting in isolation could be related to a variety of factors. It could be your CVT if your vehicle won't start or takes numerous attempts to start, especially in the cold, AND you're experiencing other symptoms like surging or slipping.
- Inconsistent RPM
RPM inconsistency is a sign of a faulty CVT transmission. A CVT transmission should remain steady and smooth, therefore if the engine RPM fluctuates and varies while driving at a constant pace, it's a clue that something is wrong with your car.
How much does it cost to replace CVT transmission?
Despite the hefty price of CVT transmission rebuild cost, that is not enough reason not to buy a car with a CVT. Do not be worried if you already own one. What you should do is properly maintain the CVT.
Many car manufacturers include a CVT in their vehicles, yet neglect to instruct their customers on how to maintain the CVT. You'll notice that a transmission fluid change or service isn't included in many manufacturers' service recommendations. Some producers claim that the fluid will last a lifetime. They're correct. When the transmission fluid fails, the transmission fails at as short as 70,000 to 80,000 miles if not properly maintained. This type of failure, however, is easily avoidable.
The CVT is a high-precision machine with a sophisticated electronic valve body. Replacement costs between $4,000 and $7,000, however if the fluid is replaced every 40,000 to 50,000 miles, the CVT's life can be significantly extended. The transmission oil for a CVT is pricey, costing between $15 and $30 per quart. The capacity of the transmission is 4 to 5 quarts. The cost of changing the fluid might range between $70 and $110. If you put it all up, you can avoid a severe catastrophe for between $120 and $260. And $260 is a lot better than $4000.
Is it better to buy a used or rebuilt transmission?
Despite the CVT transmission rebuild cost there are more benefits to rebuilding vs replacing your CVT transmission. It is undeniably the most reliable option you can make when your CVT transmission goes bad.
When you have your transmission rebuilt, it is completely disassembled and each component is inspected for wear. The worn-out pieces are then replaced, and the transmission is restored to its original condition. That way the quality of the rebuilt CVT transmission becomes very reliable.
Also when you opt for a used transmission, there will be no guarantee of the used CVT quality. It may have already run many many miles and it would be hard for you to know.
Also put into account if you have a rare or older model vehicle then finding a used transmission that will match will become very difficult. You'll have to look for one in junkyards and internet auctions. Even if you find one immediately, delivery takes roughly a week. A transmission, on the other hand, takes 2 to 3 days to rebuild. Transmission rebuilds not only ensure that the repair is done correctly, but they also get your automobile back on the road quickly.
The service center that will be doing the rebuild will also most likely offer you a good warranty. So if anything goes wrong during the warranty period then you wouldn’t have to worry.
CVT transmissions have a distinct advantage over automatic transmissions. It's a more effective means to manage an engine's fuel economy while maximizing output. It can become more expensive to rebuild but overall you just need to know the early signs of trouble and have it properly maintained. Then all the extra cost will be well worth it in the end.