CVT car transmissions

Questions on how we spend our money and our time - consumer goods and services, home and vehicle, leisure and recreational activities
Post Reply
effillus
Posts: 223
Joined: Thu Oct 04, 2007 2:12 pm

CVT car transmissions

Post by effillus » Tue Apr 26, 2016 8:52 am

Thinking about buying a new Toyota Corolla. A lot of these models come with a CVT (continuously variable transmission) as opposed to a traditional automatic transmission. In my research, I've found some owners of CVT cars expressing concern about the long-term reliability of CVTs and the cost of maintaining or replacing them. Does anyone here have any experience with CVTs and words of advice?

SiteScopeBound
Posts: 75
Joined: Thu Jul 14, 2011 10:01 am

Re: CVT car transmissions

Post by SiteScopeBound » Tue Apr 26, 2016 8:54 am

A friend of mine just had to replace a CVT in a Ford Freestyle, 2007 with <100k miles and it cost over 4k. And I know someone who is a transmission guy, can replace them in his garage.. and he said he won't even touch a CVT and his shop oft turns them away as well.. hard to warranty due to unreliability.

No idea if this issue is more specific with Fords, or with Freestyles, but quick googling showed the Freestyles top complaint was the transmission.

User avatar
Toons
Posts: 13054
Joined: Fri Nov 21, 2008 10:20 am
Location: Hills of Tennessee

Re: CVT car transmissions

Post by Toons » Tue Apr 26, 2016 8:56 am

2015 Crv
Continuous Variable Transmission.
Smooth,,,pure acceleration.

Toyota CVT
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TG-c8tSmZNw

:happy
"One does not accumulate but eliminate. It is not daily increase but daily decrease. The height of cultivation always runs to simplicity" –Bruce Lee

barnaclebob
Posts: 3072
Joined: Thu Aug 09, 2012 10:54 am

Re: CVT car transmissions

Post by barnaclebob » Tue Apr 26, 2016 9:19 am

My 2011 Nissan Altima V6 has just under 70k on it with no problems knock on wood. Other years before this and their new generation of CVT have had major issues, hopefully I am lucky.

As far as driving i really like not having any shifting. When you floor it the RPM stays right at 6200 and you get constant smooth acceleration. My friends Civic is also CVT and it's lethargic comparatively but it only has 130HP instead of 260...

Do your research on the particular CVT you are looking at and determine how long its been in use, how many models, and the number of issues. Its possible that a 2013 can have really bad issues due to a small issue that the company corrects and the 2014's may be golden. For example, Honda had a recall on some civics because a piece of metal in the CVT was out of spec for some strength allowables and would cause premature failure. Cars already in the field were given a software fix that would change the way the CVT "shifted" to put less stress on the part but if the new CVT's just had in spec alloy then there may be no issues for future cars.

boffalora
Posts: 201
Joined: Mon Mar 05, 2007 1:31 pm

Re: CVT car transmissions

Post by boffalora » Tue Apr 26, 2016 11:15 am

My 2004 Audi A4 had one of the earlier CVTs. It performed well for about 50Kmi (the warranty length at that time) and then began to give us problems. At 60Kmi the program module needed replacing. No warranty, about $2K. At 75Kmi it began shifting erratically. I consulted several Audi user groups and realized several owners were having the same problem. I took it to my Audi dealer, who was stumped.

Just about that time a class action lawsuit appeared regarding this transmission, which authorized a full replacement, plus reimbursement of that previous $2K expense. That made the car easier to sell.

http://www.autoblog.com/2013/03/25/audi ... -failures/

Naturally, this has kept me from ever considering another car with a CVT. Audi no longer uses the CVT but now uses its traditional VW Tiptronic in all its automatic transmission cars.

Incidentally, Audi avoided a full-bore recall because the population of CVT-equipped cars was limited. It was restricted to front-wheel-drive cars, most of which were sold in Europe with manual transmissions. Americans desiring automatics usually got the Tiptronic-equipped Quattro (all-wheel-drive).

bradshaw1965
Posts: 721
Joined: Tue Jul 31, 2007 9:36 pm

Re: CVT car transmissions

Post by bradshaw1965 » Tue Apr 26, 2016 11:40 am

I'm really not a fan of CVT's, but in my experience the Honda implementation is much better then Nissan's. I don't think mechanically it will be a problem so if you're happy with the ride in the Toyota I bet it will be fine.

jeff1949
Posts: 672
Joined: Mon Mar 05, 2007 10:43 am
Location: Salem, OR

Re: CVT car transmissions

Post by jeff1949 » Tue Apr 26, 2016 11:43 am

effillus wrote:Thinking about buying a new Toyota Corolla. A lot of these models come with a CVT (continuously variable transmission) as opposed to a traditional automatic transmission. In my research, I've found some owners of CVT cars expressing concern about the long-term reliability of CVTs and the cost of maintaining or replacing them. Does anyone here have any experience with CVTs and words of advice?
As long as you are going with a Toyota product I don't think you will have anything to worry about. The Toyota Prius has been around for about 15 years and is on it's third or fourth generation and they all have the CVT. The wife and I drive a Toyota Camry Hybrid with CVT and have absolutely no problems whatsoever.
Last edited by jeff1949 on Tue Apr 26, 2016 11:46 am, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
coachz
Posts: 1048
Joined: Wed Apr 04, 2007 7:10 am
Location: Charleston, SC

Re: CVT car transmissions

Post by coachz » Tue Apr 26, 2016 12:00 pm

I have a 2013 Murano/cvt that i drive like a motocross bike. i love the cvt and no shifting. I would get 4wd next time though for better lap times. ;-)
Transmission places that can't fix CVT are just not familiar with it. Like my redneck appliance shop can't work on any washer / dryer with electronics and the refuse to learn. My wife will buy a Honda CRV in 2 months also with CVT. Her current Altima has 130,000 miles with CVT. I like em.

zoom zoom

User avatar
N1CKV
Posts: 772
Joined: Wed Mar 21, 2012 8:18 am

Re: CVT car transmissions

Post by N1CKV » Tue Apr 26, 2016 12:07 pm

My experiences:
-Co-worker had one in his Nissan Sentra. It started to give out at about 5 years old and essentially was going to total out the car, he traded it in while it still moved under it's own power.
-Wife had a 2003 Audi A6 with a CVT, drove great. No shifting took some getting used to, but it still was responsive.
-Had a Rental 2016 Nissan Rogue with a CVT. It was a miserable existence of a vehicle to drive for 9 days. The transmission was not nearly as good a feel as the Audi my wife had. I would never consider that vehicle even if everything else in it was flawless (which I hated just about everything else about it anyway, so that decision would never have to be made).

on edit:
I have no experience with Toyota's CVT. I have noted that there is no CVT offered by any manufacturer in a full size pickup truck and vehicles with a CVT have poor tow ratings. This indicates to me that they just are not that durable (even if not towing, it's an indication of long term use durability).
I have met a lot of people that claim to love money, but they also seem to be the same people that are in the biggest hurry to get rid of it.

User avatar
backpacker
Posts: 1620
Joined: Mon Sep 22, 2014 2:17 pm

Re: CVT car transmissions

Post by backpacker » Tue Apr 26, 2016 12:32 pm

effillus wrote:Thinking about buying a new Toyota Corolla. A lot of these models come with a CVT (continuously variable transmission) as opposed to a traditional automatic transmission.
The Prius has always had a CVT and has been among the most reliable cars out there. I would expect other Toyota CVT systems to behave similarly.

Traveller
Posts: 706
Joined: Sat Jun 25, 2011 10:47 am

Re: CVT car transmissions

Post by Traveller » Tue Apr 26, 2016 1:08 pm

My fusion hybrid is up to 160k miles and the CVT transmission has been flawless. I really like it - very smooth. Also, it's sealed and has no scheduled maintenance needs.

neon beanbag
Posts: 21
Joined: Thu Mar 10, 2016 6:22 pm

Re: CVT car transmissions

Post by neon beanbag » Tue Apr 26, 2016 1:55 pm

I have the new 2016 Toyota Corolla with CVT-i. It's a smooth ride but can sound noisy when accelerating at times. Mine has an Eco light that goes off when it's not being gas efficient. It seems like it goes off a lot around 2200 rpm when accelerating but it doesn't feel like I'm accelerating too hard. If I could go back, I'd probably go non-CVT but I won't complain too much about the car if it ends up being really reliable later in life.

User avatar
Bob B
Posts: 675
Joined: Mon Mar 05, 2007 12:52 pm

Re: CVT car transmissions

Post by Bob B » Tue Apr 26, 2016 2:09 pm

My 2014 Corolla has 25,000 miles on it. No CVT problems. It is a sealed system and requires no maintenance like fluid changes. It just does its job in the background.
Regards, | Bob | Wiki

User avatar
Frugal Al
Posts: 1698
Joined: Fri May 28, 2010 10:09 am

Re: CVT car transmissions

Post by Frugal Al » Tue Apr 26, 2016 3:31 pm

backpacker wrote:The Prius has always had a CVT and has been among the most reliable cars out there. I would expect other Toyota CVT systems to behave similarly.
The Toyota Prius and other Toyota hybrids don't use a conventional CVT type transmission, but rather what they call an eCVT, utilizing a planetary gear set. It's very different from a regular CVT. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dLNDGUISTYM

User avatar
backpacker
Posts: 1620
Joined: Mon Sep 22, 2014 2:17 pm

Re: CVT car transmissions

Post by backpacker » Tue Apr 26, 2016 3:52 pm

Frugal Al wrote:
backpacker wrote:The Prius has always had a CVT and has been among the most reliable cars out there. I would expect other Toyota CVT systems to behave similarly.
The Toyota Prius and other Toyota hybrids don't use a conventional CVT type transmission, but rather what they call an eCVT, utilizing a planetary gear set. It's very different from a regular CVT. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dLNDGUISTYM
Ah, I stand corrected. This just goes to show how much I know about my own car. :oops:

jlawrence01
Posts: 1426
Joined: Mon Feb 25, 2013 1:34 am
Location: Southern AZ

Re: CVT car transmissions

Post by jlawrence01 » Tue Apr 26, 2016 3:54 pm

SiteScopeBound wrote:A friend of mine just had to replace a CVT in a Ford Freestyle, 2007 with <100k miles and it cost over 4k. And I know someone who is a transmission guy, can replace them in his garage.. and he said he won't even touch a CVT and his shop oft turns them away as well.. hard to warranty due to unreliability.

No idea if this issue is more specific with Fords, or with Freestyles, but quick googling showed the Freestyles top complaint was the transmission.

My LAST Ford transmission was an automatic and failed at 44k miles and 3 years old. I had a friend who made millions purchasing Ford Tauruses and Windstars at auction with blown transmissions, replacing the transmissions and selling the vehicles.

What is going on at Ford is hardly relevant to Toyota.

======================================

By the way, if the OP wants a 2016 Toyota Corolla with an automatic transmission, they exist and are about $800 cheaper in my locale.

randomguy
Posts: 6640
Joined: Wed Sep 17, 2014 9:00 am

Re: CVT car transmissions

Post by randomguy » Tue Apr 26, 2016 4:26 pm

N1CKV wrote: on edit:
I have no experience with Toyota's CVT. I have noted that there is no CVT offered by any manufacturer in a full size pickup truck and vehicles with a CVT have poor tow ratings. This indicates to me that they just are not that durable (even if not towing, it's an indication of long term use durability).
Most CVTs have relatively low HP and Torque limits (about 250 these days). I am guessing that is the reason you aren't seeing them in full size pick ups/trucks. Those limits are creeping up. The Nissan Pathfinder (yeah it is a CUV) supposedly can tow 5k lbs. That isn't what some fullsize v8 pickup is towing but it isn't the traditional transmissions in cars in the same class are towing more.

There are cars where the CVT causes issues. But there have also been issues with a lot of the new 9 speeds or 8 speed DCT that new cars are using. I would research your specific model of CVT to figure out how reliable it has been. And as always be wary when you only have 3 or 4 years of data. Anything should last for 100k these days.

effillus
Posts: 223
Joined: Thu Oct 04, 2007 2:12 pm

Re: CVT car transmissions

Post by effillus » Tue Apr 26, 2016 4:32 pm

I'm used to driving Corollas and Camrys to 200K miles. I wonder about a CVT at that mileage.

User avatar
Tycoon
Posts: 1287
Joined: Wed Mar 28, 2012 7:06 pm

Re: CVT car transmissions

Post by Tycoon » Tue Apr 26, 2016 5:00 pm

I've had an Acura automatic go out at about 23000 miles. A Ford manual go out at around 27000 miles. No issues yet with my CVT at 79000 miles.
Appeal to Pity:When pity is envoked to support a statement | Appeal to Popular Sentiment:Appealing to unrelated prejudices and attitudes | Hasty Generalization:Too little evidence to support the conclusion

User avatar
William4u
Posts: 1325
Joined: Fri Jun 01, 2012 3:02 pm

Re: CVT car transmissions

Post by William4u » Tue Apr 26, 2016 8:55 pm

effillus wrote:I'm used to driving Corollas and Camrys to 200K miles. I wonder about a CVT at that mileage.
Every Toyota Prius has a CVT, and the transmissions consistently go 300,000 miles with no problems. The Corolla will use the same tech, and likely last as long.

amr
Posts: 27
Joined: Mon Nov 30, 2015 5:17 pm

Re: CVT car transmissions

Post by amr » Tue Apr 26, 2016 9:09 pm

All transmission types need replaced at some point. Personally, I wouldn't rule out a car with a CVT as long as the reputation is good. Some are going to be better than others.

For example, I test drove a couple cars with CVTs (Nissan Altima and Subaru Legacy) before my last car purchase. I didn't like how the Altima drove, The Legacy? That was a lot better and smoother. I ended up getting a Fusion with a regular automatic but that was due to the deal I got on it and not my dislike for the CVT in the Legacy.

If you drive the Corolla and like it I wouldn't worry about the CVT.

cheesepep
Posts: 787
Joined: Wed Feb 17, 2010 10:58 pm

Re: CVT car transmissions

Post by cheesepep » Wed Apr 27, 2016 1:43 am

I own a 2015 Honda CR-V with CVT. It is fine but has a whining noise at low speeds. I sent it to two separate dealers and they said it was normal for CVTs to do that. I did a bit of research online and it seems to be true, but I'm definitely no car guy. Just a FYI.

User avatar
Frugal Al
Posts: 1698
Joined: Fri May 28, 2010 10:09 am

Re: CVT car transmissions

Post by Frugal Al » Wed Apr 27, 2016 4:43 am

William4u wrote:Every Toyota Prius has a CVT, and the transmissions consistently go 300,000 miles with no problems. The Corolla will use the same tech, and likely last as long.
William, you're not paying attention, you're comparing apples and oranges :oops: (see above post). The Prius doesn't use a steel belt/chain with a conical pulley system utilized by virtually all conventional CVT transmissions today. It uses what they call an eCVT as part of their Hybrid Synergy Drive system, not to be confused with Subaru's old ECVT in the Justy, which did use a conical system.

I could be wrong, but I'd be shocked if we see today's conventional CVT's going 300k miles without some major work.

User avatar
nisiprius
Advisory Board
Posts: 37077
Joined: Thu Jul 26, 2007 9:33 am
Location: The terrestrial, globular, planetary hunk of matter, flattened at the poles, is my abode.--O. Henry

Re: CVT car transmissions

Post by nisiprius » Wed Apr 27, 2016 6:16 am

The CVT-like characteristics of a Prius are mostly the result of electronic, not mechanical magic, and the magic can only be worked by engineers who have a gasoline engine and two motor-generators to play with and power-switching electronics that can jigger whether and which motor-generator is used as a motor or a generator, and when, and how hard. It's only applicable to hybrid cars. The actual mechanical gearing is not only conventional, but has a faint family resemblance to that of a Model T Ford.
Animated GIFS and stuff here.

One might as well say that a Tesla has a CVT. It will go from 0 to 60 in less than three seconds. There are certainly no gear changes. So, is that a CVT?
Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen nineteen and six, result happiness; Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds ought and six, result misery.

ArmchairArchitect
Posts: 251
Joined: Thu Nov 05, 2015 10:37 am

Re: CVT car transmissions

Post by ArmchairArchitect » Thu Apr 28, 2016 8:42 am

nisiprius wrote:One might as well say that a Tesla has a CVT. It will go from 0 to 60 in less than three seconds. There are certainly no gear changes. So, is that a CVT?
Teslas don't have engines/transmissions but rather a power inverter and electric motor. Overall, Teslas have less moving parts, which means less stuff to break.

JDot
Posts: 363
Joined: Fri Apr 24, 2015 10:15 pm

Re: CVT car transmissions

Post by JDot » Thu Apr 28, 2016 8:55 am

These are a few things I believe to be true or will become true.

1) CVTs are becoming the norm. Soon, I predict you won't find an automatic transmission on a new car that is not built mostly for performance. (even then, the Subaru WRX has switched to a CVT) By its nature, the CVT is more efficient.

2) CVTs of today are reliable. See other posts.

3) All CVTs are not created equally. The CVT in a Honda Insight I drove gave an absolutely horrible driving experience. The CVT in my turbo forester XT (which I assume is a lot like the one in the WRX) is really nice.

4) The only hesitation I would have about owning a modern car with a CVT is if I didn't like the way the CVT acted/performed. Frankly, my wife and many others would never be able to tell the difference. So test drive it and see.

Post Reply