CVT Transmissions: What Are They?

August 15, 2017

Whether you are a car junkie or only have a mild interest in automobiles, you will have heard the term CVT transmissions. CVT refers to the Continuously Variable Transmission. It is basically a single-speed transmission and is also sometimes referred to as pulley transmission.

CVT transmission is the modern replacement of the traditional automatic transmission. Let us briefly discuss how these transmissions tend to work.

How do they work?

CVT transmissions do not come with gear ratios unlike the regular manual or automatic gearboxes that you find in automobiles. This transmission is all about the RPM that a car runs at different speeds. In a CVT, you will not find any gears, but instead, two pulleys that are connected to a belt. While one of the pulleys is connected to the engine, the other one is linked to the entire transmission on wheels.

The pulley that is connected to the engine is small while the other one is larger in size. However, these sizes can vary as per the need. This is when the automobile is coming to motion from rest, similar to what happens in the first gear. As the car speeds up, the pulley connected to the engine tends to reduce in size. This reduction in the length of the engine-pulley is directly proportional to the increase in the second pulley. This motion and change of pulleys is deemed as the change of gears and keeps happening as the car keeps changing speeds.

The best part of CVT is that unlike the geared transmissions, changes in CVT pulley size—an alternate of a gear change due to alterations in speed—are extremely smooth. In other words, the entire driving experience smoothens up while working with this contemporary transmission system.

Drivers’ POV

For a driver, the CVT transmission brings a massive hold of power. The driver, regardless of the speed they are maintaining, will feature the absolutely perfect rev range for that speed. So when the engine finds the perfect rev range, it maintains that range while changing the pulleys as required. The result: the driver gets to enjoy a precise rev range at all speeds.

This further means a transmission that is smoother and more powerful than any other type of transmission ever experienced.

The Cost

Although CVT transmissions are a thing of the contemporary world, they do come at a cost. Since it offers a far better torque and friction, the energy consumption is also a little higher. However, the excessive consumptions stay between ranges of 5-15% compared to the 2-5% in regular geared transmissions.

In addition to that, due to the fact that CVT engines are not the most common yet, the slight changes in car sounds tend to bother some drivers. However, if the performance of the engine is of prime importance to you, you are bound to love the CVT transmission.


If you are looking forward to replacing your automobile’s engine or transmission, dial (800) 903-4430 and get in touch with EngineWorld. We import top-notch used engines and transmissions from Japan and make them available to you at competitive prices.






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