What is a Continuously Variable Transmission?
In many people’s minds, there are only two different kinds of transmissions in a vehicle: automatic and manual. An automatic transmission is the kind that where you don’t have to worry about anything because it all works on its own, but a manual transmission requires shifting and use of a clutch – it’s more commonly known as a stick shift. But over the past several years, a third type has been increasing in popularity, and it’s called a Continuously Variable Transmission. Considering a majority of Honda vehicles come standard with or at least offer a CVT, we thought it’s be the perfect subject for this week’s How’s This Work. You might have noticed that it’s not Tuesday, which is when we normally make this weekly post. Due to a mix up we missed it yesterday, but we thought we’d make it up right away today!
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How does a CVT work?
Technically, the CVT is a special kind of automatic transmission. There are no extra steps like a manual transmission, so it works automatically. But it works very differently than a standard automatic transmission, so those in the industry decided to give it its own designation. While a regular automatic transmission has a certain number of gears, or speeds as they’re more commonly referred to in the automotive industry – i.e. 6-speed automatic transmission – the CVT has the ability to shift seamlessly through a never-ending number of gear ratios.
In fact, there are no actual gears or speeds, which is why it’s generally just referred to as a Continuously Variable Transmission. The perk of having a CVT is that your vehicle will shift more seamlessly than other models. When driving a manual you have to shift yourself, so there’s a very noticeable time as the gears change. Automatic vehicles aren’t quite as noticeable, but you can still tell when the vehicle shifts between gears if you’re paying attention. The CVT gets rid of this completely, making your ride smoother.
The video below talks a little bit about the CVT system that was introduced in the 2013 Honda Accord. Feel free to watch it for a better explanation of the transmission system and how it works. If you have further questions don’t hesitate to give us a call, especially if you’re curious as to which vehicles have a CVT available or standard.