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How Do I Know If My CVT Transmission Is Bad? – Here’s What You Need To Know

How Do I Know If My CVT Transmission Is Bad

The cvt transmission, which is often called the continuously variable transmission, is a mechanism that effortlessly changes through an unending range of gear ratios while you drive down the road, whereas other kinds of transmissions, like mechanical ones, offer a fixed number of gear ratios and have hard shifts between each gear. 

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The top function of your car’s transmission is to make sure the correct amount of power goes to your wheels in order to operate your car at a given speed and allow the driver to remain in control. The transmission works by shifting gears at the right time, giving the right amount of power to the given moment in your vehicle. If your transmission cannot do this, then this is a clear way to tell how I know if my CVT transmission is bad. 


A manual transmission means the driver needs to change the gear shifter, and has the same effect as pushing the clutch and disconnecting the engine and the transmission. An automatic transmission uses an automatic gear shifter by utilizing the torque converter to determine these changes as you accelerate and change the car to a higher gear.


The CVT differs from these two choices, as it offers a greater range of choices and flexibility to the driver and maintains a constant angular velocity, without depending on how fast the car is moving.  regardless of how fast you are driving, this changes it from other similar transmissions. Additionally, a continuously variable transmission makes it easy to smoothly accelerate and shift, and offers better fuel economy and miles per gallon in your car. If your CVT can’t shift gears correctly, then this can answer the question of how I know if my CVT transmission is bad. 

How does a CVT transmission operate in my vehicle?


You might know that a traditional transmission uses various parts that let the car to shift smoothly between the preset gears, while the CVT transmission uses a pulley system in order to switch gears effectively, smoothly, and quickly. This CVT transmission uses cows at each pulley that are connected to one another via a chain belt. The cones can either move to increase or decrease the belt diameter to change the gear ratios, allowing for quick shifting into the required ratio for added power and a boost in fuel economy. If your CVT cannot use the cows to change gears and quickly do this, then this can answer the question of how do I know if my CVT transmission is bad. 


One pulley in the cvt transmission is connected to the car’s engine and the other pulley is directly connected to power the wheels of the car. The width of these pulleys will differ based on the amount of power that is needed in your car. As one pulley gets larger, the other gets smaller. This allows a CVT to deliver strong and seamless acceleration, and can prevent any symptoms of a bad cvt transmission. If your pulleys do not work together and the combination of usage to determine the gears is not working, then this can answer the question of how do I know if my CVT transmission is bad. 

Benefits of Using CVT Transmission 


The CVT transmission offers a huge range of benefits to the everyday driver that you might not find in the normal transmission, whether you are choosing between the automatic or manual car. The first pro of the cvt transmission is that there is an enhanced fuel economy and the ability to earn more miles per gallon for the same amount of fuel. Modern hybrids utilize CVTs for their miles per gallon ratio, and many gas models with a CVT offer almost around 40 miles per gallon on an average car or sedan. If you have a CVT transmission and your gas mileage is plummeting,  then this can answer the question of how do I know if my CVT transmission is bad. 


In addition, another benefit that you will gain from using a CVT transmission that prevents any symptoms of a bad transmission is that driving uphill is much easier with this type of mechanism. A typical transmission, whether manual or automatic, usually has to work harder and puts more stress on the engine to find the right gear at the right time, whereas the CVT transmission finds the correct ratio that you need almost right away for the desired performance or task required. This allows the engine to smoothly provide ample power without any hard or jerking while shifting. If your car is frequently shifting erratically or jerking while you try to accelerate, then this can answer the question of how do I know if my CVT transmission is bad. 


Since there aren’t any hard gear shifting or jerking while accelerating, the CVT Transmission allows you to enjoy smooth driving and acceleration at different driving occurrences and speeds, which can prevent symptoms of a bad CVT transmission. This eliminates any sharp or abrupt downshifting when you need extra power for passing cars on the highway or for getting up steep hills. If your car is having issues downshifting or passing vehicles, requiring extra stress and acceleration, then this can answer the question of how do I know if my CVT transmission is bad. 

Negatives of CVT Transmission 


Despite there being many positives and benefits to using this type of transmission and can indicate why you might want a CVT transmission in your car, like anything else, there are also some cons of this type of transmission that can lend itself to answering the question of “how do I know if my CVT transmission is bad?” Firstly, these types of transmission are more costly than other counterparts that might have harder shifting. 


Secondly, the repair and replacement costs of CVT transmissions can be more expensive than traditional options, whether manual or automatic, which are typically costing the owner of the car around several thousand dollars, one of the most expensive fixes in the entire vehicle system. This is also due to the fact that these CVT systems are not as long lasting as traditional systems and require more repairs, more frequently, and more pricey. The CVT transmission can fail at around 100,000 miles, while the traditional transmission will last twice as long, giving an answer to the question of how do I know if my CVT transmission is bad.


Thirdly, although the CVT is great for the average driver on the road, it is not designed for high-performance situations or those who want to focus solely on the acceleration, power, sport capabilities, horsepower of their car. Continuously variable transmission can't handle a higher horsepower, which is why they are not the top choice for sports cars or sport drivers.


Lastly, the driver's nose perception is much different than another type of transmission, like an automatic or mechanical transmission, which has made drivers not like the type of mechanism as much. This can cause users to wonder how I know if my CVT transmission is bad. 

Symptoms of a bad CVT Transmission 


First, there might be audible loud noises coming from the CVT transmission that the driver and passengers can easily hear. The gears of the CVT transmission slowly wear down and break down over time, causing strange noises to occur when shifting gears, moving out of the idle position, or when you are shifting, causing rough shifting or rough idling. If you hear any loud sounds, like clanging, banging, or screeching, these could be clear symptoms of a bad CVT Transmission. The solution ranges in price and severity, going from replacing transmission fluid to replacing the transmission completely. If you hear any strange noises while shifting that does not seem to be going away during certain instances, then this can answer the question of how do I know if my CVT transmission is bad. 


Second, muddy fluid or debris filled fluid could be a symptom of bad CVT transmission. If your transmission fluid has a slightly sweet smell and is bright red in color, then that is working correctly. If the fluid in the transmission starts to look murky, dark colored, and has contaminants in the liquid, then this can answer the question of how do I know if my CVT transmission is bad. In this case, change your fluid as soon as possible. 


Third, if you notice a burning smell in your car, then the smell of burning something can be evidence of an overheating CVT Transmission and can be a symptom of a bad CVT Transmission. This smell is similar to rot and is a potential fire hazard, so make sure you bring your vehicle in for a fluid change before you increase the risk of a fire in your vehicle. If you do not change this right away, the risk of fire significantly increases, posing a threat to not only you, but other drivers on the road. 


Fourth, any leakage in your car could be a symptom of a bad CVT transmission. The bad smell can also be the sign of  transmission fluid leakage in your car, whether it is oil from the engine, coolant, or transmission fluid. Make sure that you check for leaks as a regular part of your car maintenance schedule to avoid further issues, and prevent you asking yourself the question of how do I know if my CVT transmission is bad? 


In addition, a very common symptom of a bad CVT transmission is that the transmission is slipping gears. This is a common problem that is a result of structural problems or not enough transmission fluid, which causes the potential of gears to pop out of gear while you are driving. 


Furthermore, other key symptoms of a bad CVT transmission is that there are delays in movement. If your vehicle stalls for a second or two before shifting gears smoothly, this should be a cause for concern and can be the direct result of any issue. Car owners usually  experience this issue for a wide variety of reasons, serving as clear evidence that there is current gearbox malfunction or transmission fluid issues, causing a bad CVT transmission 


Along with the other common symptoms of a bad CVT transmission, surging can be a sign of contaminated transmission fluid. When your transmission becomes too polluted or filled with debris over time, your vehicle might begin to accelerate, jerk, lurch. Jump forward, or fall back for no apparent reason. Sometimes, a transmission fluid flush could be all you need to solve the problem, and save you the danger of asking how I know if my CVT transmission is bad. 


Also, a refusal to reverse is a symptom of bad CVT transmission, with cold weather making the problem to reverse much more prevalent, and making it a key and obvious sign that your transmission is in trouble and you have a bad transmission. 


One of the most obvious and most severe symptoms of a bad CVT transmission is that you have worn clutch discs. Much like brake pads, the clutch discs in a CVT transmission are coated in various friction materials to prevent overheating and burning. As you disengage the clutch, this material allows the clutch to grab and transmit engine power to the drive shaft to properly shift a car into the right gear. However, over time, this material will wear down after prolonged use and won’t provide enough friction to allow the clutch disc to do its job. Replacing a clutch disc every 50k-100k miles is considered routine maintenance. If your clutch discs are not working correctly, then this can answer the question of how do I know if my CVT transmission is bad. 


Lastly, the final two symptoms of a bad CVT transmission is that the engine light can turn on or the car is having trouble starting or slow starting. Another straightforward symptom of transmission trouble is that your vehicle won't start or will take several attempts to start, becoming more frequent in the cold. 

What else do I need to know to keep my car working correctly?


While you are test driving your new car, make sure you look out for the following symptoms of bad CVT transmission. If you notice any of the symptoms and signs of a not working transmission, then this can answer the question of how do I know if my CVT transmission is bad. 


Most importantly, look out for shifting being sluggish and slow while you don ‘t have to shift a CVT transmission from first to second gear, you do have to shift between park, drive, and reverse to use your car correctly. If it takes more than just a second or so for the transmission to shift, it can show a faulty CVT Transmission and be signs of a bad CVT transmission that might break down soon and require more replacements. 


In addition, you might hear strange sounds coming from your transmission. CVT transmissions are usually louder and make more sounds than their traditional manual or automatic counterparts, but they should n’t be too loud that these humming and whining sounds are normal and common occurrences for drivers entering the cabin of the car. If you hear too much noise ro excessive sounds when accelerating your car, or jerking while accelerating, then this can answer the question of how do I know if my CVT transmission is bad. 

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