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What Are The Symptoms Of A Bad CVT Transmission? – Here’s What You Need To Know

What are the symptoms of a bad cvt transmission

The cvt transmission, also known as the continuously variable transmission, is a mechanism that seamlessly 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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Since the CVT, or the continuously variable transmission, offers a much higher range of flexibility and maintains a constant angular velocity 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. 

History of the CVT transmission 


Although the CVT transmission only gained popularity in recent years, with new innovations offering greater fuel efficiency and performance, the design has existed for a very long time, with the official CVT transmission not officially being patented until the mid 19th century by Benz. 


The first time that the CVT gained fame and prevalence in today's society was in the early 20th century, when Zenit motorcycles built a CVT model. 70 y years later, almost every manufacturer had at least one model with a continuously variable transmission. It is important to know the history of the CVT in order to figure out the symptoms of a bad CVT transmission. 

How does a CVT work?


You might know that a traditional transmission uses a wide variety of parts that allow the car to shift smoothly between the preset gears, while the CVT transmission works through a pulley system in order to switch gears effectively. This CVT transmission consists of 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 do this, it shows clear symptoms of a bad cvt transmission. 


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 changes based on the required 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. 


In addition, there is a second type of CVT that uses discs and rollers, operating in a similar way to the original CVT transmission. Although we know there are no gears in CVT, some mechanisms have a more mechanical and traditional way of changing through gears. In these types of transmissions, the belt and pulley system is designed to move in order to use a traditional lever or paddle shifters on the steering wheel to prevent symptoms of a bad cvt transmission. 

CVT Transmission Pros 


The CVT transmission offers a wide range of benefits to the average driver that you might not find in the normal transmission. The first pro of the cvt transmission is that there is an enhanced fuel economy. 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. 


In addition, another pro form of CVT transmission that prevents any symptoms of a bad CVT transmission is that driving uphill is much easier with this type of transmission. A typical transmission usually has to work harder to find the right gear at the right time, whereas the CVT transmission finds the correct ratio that you need almost immediately for the performance required. This allows the engine to smoothly provide ample power without any hard or jerking while shifting. 


Since there aren’t any hard gear shifting or jerking while accelerating, the CVT Transmission allows you to enjoy smooth driving and acceleration at various 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. 

CVT Transmission Cons 


Although there are definitely certain pros to having a CVT transmission, there are also some cons of this type of transmission that can lend itself to what are the symptoms of a bad CVT transmission. 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, which are likely costing the owner around several thousand dollars, since the CVT systems are not as long lasting as traditional systems and require more repairs. The CVT transmission can fail at around 100,000 miles, while the traditional transmission will last twice as long, causing more reasons for symptoms of a bad CVT transmission. 


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 on the performance and horsepower of their car. Continuously variable transmission can't handle a higher horsepower, which is why they are not preferable for sports cars.


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 what are the symptoms of a bad CVT transmission. 

Symptoms of a bad CVT Transmission


In order to know what you might have to look out for in your car or keep it long lasting and working properly, you need to keep an eye and ear out for potential CVT transmission problems and the symptoms of a bad CVT transmission. 


First, there might be noise coming from the CVT transmission. The gears of the transmission will slowly wear themselves down over time, causing strange noises to occur when shifting gears or moving out of the idle position. 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. 


Second, muddy fluid or debris filled fluid could be a symptom of bad CVT transmission. If it 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, do what you can to get it changed immediately. 


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.


Fourth, any leakage in your car could be a symptom of a bad CVT transmission. The bad smell can also point to a kind of leakage in your car, whether it is oil or transmission fluid. Make sure that you check for leaks as a regular part of your car maintenance schedule to avoid further issues. 


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 experience this issue common for a variety of reasons, serving as evidence for gearbox malfunction or transmission fluid issues. 


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,


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 huge symptoms of a bad CVT transmission is that you have worn clutch discs. Much like brake pads, the clutch disc in a CVT transmission is coated in various friction materials. As you disengage the clutch, this material allows the clutch to grab and transmit engine power to the drive shaft. However, over time, this material will wear down 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. 


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 to watch out for when buying a car with a cvt transmission


You will need to do some extra research when you buy a car with a CVT transmission and make sure you know the symptoms of a bad CVT transmission. Because of the expansive nature of replacing a CVT And that you need to replace it more often, be sure you take a test drive, conduct an inspection of the transmission, and check the warranty on the transmission. 


While you are test driving your new car, make sure you look out for the following symptoms of bad CVT transmission.


First, look out for slow shifting 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. 


Second, 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 humming and whining sounds are normal and commonplace for drivers. If you hear too much noise ro excessive sounds when accelerating your car, or jerking while accelerating, these are symptoms of a bad CVT Transmission. 


Third, if your transmission is slipping, this is a problem. When you accelerate your vehicle, you should experience a smooth, seamless, and constant acceleration for your car. If the transmission or acceleration slips and you lose power during driving, is is a symptom of a bad or faulty CVT transmission. 


Fourth, jerking while shifting or uneven shifting during acceleration could occur when you are shifting or accelerating in your car. Shifting should never jerk the vehicle, so if it is, these are symptoms of a bad CVT transmission. 


Fifth, an inconsistent RPM are symptoms of a bad CVT transmission. A CVT transmission should remain consistent and smooth, so if there is a fluctuation and discrepancy in the engine RPM while you are driving at a consistent speed, this is a sign there is a problem with your car.


Furthermore, dirty transmission fluid could indicate an issue with the CVT and cause bad transmission CVT symptoms. Overall, a CVT transmission can enhance the experience for an average driver, but can have more costly repairs and replacements in your vehicle. 

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