Variable: for and against

The pros and cons of continuously variable transmission

Variable: for and against

Box with continuously variable gear is a phrase guaranteed today causes fear among many motorists who previously thought that the classic is better manual or automatic transmission does not exist. But the world is changing. Also changes the auto industry. As a result, the world has spread, and other types of transmissions, which scare a lot of motorists. The greatest distribution was received today by the continuously variable transmission – variator. Unfortunately, many do not want to buy cars with these boxes, believing that they are unreliable and very cranky. But in most cases these fears are based on myths. Although, of course, as with any kind of drivetrain, continuously variable transmissions have their pluses and minuses. Why is it then that many are afraid to buy cars with CVTs? That scares them, and as such the transmission function? To these and other questions, read answers in our review.

Recall that the device of the variator based on the principle of belt drive (or chain) torque transmission to the drive. In fact, the CVT uses the same principle of torque transmission, and that on bikes with multiple speeds.

If conventional boxes used planetary gear, the CVT has no physical gears at all. Instead, a CVT uses a belt (or chain) and the cone pulleys between which rotates the belt drive (chain).

Variable: for and against

As a result, the CVT provides an infinite number of coefficients of transmission of the torque from the engine to the wheels.


Unfortunately, an early continuously variable transmission was very unreliable. That is why these transmissions have established a bad reputation which scares many motorists today. More often owners of cars equipped with the first generations of CVTs, complained about the malfunction of the gearbox on the slip gear, and strange noise transmission. In particular, many were unhappy that due to the fact that the CVT is configured for optimum operation only at maximum engine speeds, even at low speeds the car engine roars to high speeds.


Modern CVTs have almost got rid of many of the problems faced by car owners of automobiles with continuously variable boxes. In the end, new cars with CVTs have become quieter, and work boxes more effective. Nevertheless, even today the CVT is not perfect. But there are advantages. Here is a brief overview of the main advantages and disadvantages of continuously variable transmissions in modern cars.


The pros and cons of boxes CVT (CVTs)


The advantages of CVTs

Variable: for and against

Optimum transmission of torque and power. If your machine is equipped with a CVT, this type of transmission allows the vehicle to more effectively use the fuel. The thing is that the car is equipped with CVT, always moves on a perfect transmission (right) in contrast to cars with automatic or manual transmission. Did you know that the continuously variable transmission is programmed so that the torque to the wheels is transmitted in the optimal power band, instead of when you need the acceleration to raise the engine speed from zero to the red line? As a result, the use of the CVT not only helps to save fuel, but also gives the car better performance in certain situations. Especially when overtaking other vehicles.


Fuel economy. As box-CVT allows you to more efficiently transmit power and torque to the wheels, this saves fuel while driving. In the end, the CVT compared to a traditional transmission more efficient. Even when driving at speed on highway vehicles with a continuously variable transmission consume less fuel than an automatic or manual transmission.


The simple design of the CVT. The total number of mechanical parts of the CVT boxes are less compared to boxes equipped with planetary gears. After all, inside the variator uses a conventional toothed gears, cone pulleys, which are connected to each other by a chain or belt depending on the make and model of the car.

Variable: for and against

During movement of the vehicle depending on the vehicle speed, the pulleys are moved relative to each other. Thus, changing the gear ratio. This mechanical simplicity of the device of the CVT allowed the car for optimal acceleration. In fact, there is no gear changing during acceleration and, accordingly, no loss of speed when shifting.


The lighter weight of the box. Due to its design of the box CVT (variator), often lighter and more compact than their traditional competitors (a particular advantage of the CVT is noticeable when comparing the weight of the transmission with a classical automatic transmission).

The reduction of powertrain weight has several advantages. But the main advantage is of course fuel economy is achieved through a simple formula: the less the weight of the car, the less fuel consumption.


Smooth shifting and dynamic acceleration. Anyone who has driven behind the wheel of a car with a manual transmission knows that when you squeeze the clutch pedal to shift gears, the car briefly loses momentum and acceleration, as well as as if squatting or even twitches. As a result, the acceleration of a car with manual transmission does not seem smooth and comfortable. CVT with no gear easily propels the car without the various losses which are inevitable in physical shifting gears in a conventional transmission.


The disadvantages of CVTs

Variable: for and against

Not very good sound. Variable speed from the start have a natural disadvantage. This terrible sound box itself from moving inside of the belt or chain. Including the box works perfectly at high speeds of the engine. So many drivers, hearing a similar sound, you start to think that their box is faulty. But it’s not. This feature works on any CVT. It just takes getting used to.


When accelerating the engine runs at maximum speed. Many complain about the high hanging revs of the engine even when driving at low speed. For example, it often happens that after the dissolution of the high engine revs remain even at lower speeds. It is also a feature of all CVTs. But this is normal and is not, as suggested by many drivers, some defect and imperfection of the structure.

Variable: for and against

The CVT is boring. Many drivers, despite the lack of gear, don’t like CVTs because of their boring nature. Still more, the CVT is ideal for those who value fuel economy, but not power, acceleration and speed. That is why sports cars automakers are trying not to put the CVTs. Many drivers compare the CVT with the toasters that we use to fry the bread. Because this process does not cause us any emotion. Also cars with CVTs often boring compared to those machines that are equipped with other types of transmission.


Reliability. Have you noticed that the variator, as a rule, set on a small modern car? Often it’s compact cars or compact crossovers, which are designed more for practicality than sportiness or for transportation. It is not a coincidence. The fact that the CVT can’t handle high torque without damaging the design of the transmission.

Variable: for and against

Expensive maintenance. This is one of the main drawbacks of variators. Repair costs for boxes CVT (CVTs) are huge. The fact that parts for a CVT are very expensive. In addition to repair of variator you will need a specialist who is versed in this type of transmissions. Unfortunately, good professional variable speed a bit. As a rule, despite the simplicity of the design of the CVT, the cost of repairing this box can be even more than the cost of repairing automatic and manual transmissions.

This is the main problem of variable speed, which is feared by many drivers. And the worst thing – the CVT is easier to repair, and simple to utilize, buying a new box, which will cost a very large sum.

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