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View Full Version : are CVT's more or less reliable than traditional auto trans?


BlahBlahYouToo
07-15-2010, 12:43 PM
you always hear about auto's crapping out around 150k miles.
how are the CVT's holding up?

do CVT's have torque converters?

soccerballtux
07-15-2010, 12:51 PM
you always hear about auto's crapping out around 150k miles.
how are the CVT's holding up?

do CVT's have torque converters?

150k? Stop buying American

kornphlake
07-15-2010, 01:01 PM
150k? Stop buying American

You're right, imports are so much better

2002 Honda accord
http://www.carcomplaints.com/Honda/Accord/2002/
2002 Ford Taurus
http://www.carcomplaints.com/Ford/Taurus/2002/

I thought Taurus was the one known for transmission problems???

I am not eager to jump on the CVT bandwagon just yet, most vehicles with CVTs haven't been in production long enough to reach 150k miles yet. I'll wait until CVTs have been in mass production vehicles for at least 10 years and have proven to repeatably run 150k without having problems before considering one over a conventional auto trans.

CrimsonWolf
07-15-2010, 02:54 PM
Haven't heard of any major issues with CVTs. For what it's worth Nissan doubled the warranty on their CVTs to 10 years/120,000 miles to alleviate owner concerns. I got a letter from them several months ago.

The CVT on my 2007 Versa has worked great.

Jumpem
07-15-2010, 06:11 PM
I have 28k on mine in the last year. No problems at all. I like it much more than traditional automatics. It's smooth as can be with no real gears. When it "downshifts" going up hill your RPM's only go up a hundred at a time, not a sudden thousand RPM jump.

Eli
07-15-2010, 06:58 PM
You're right, imports are so much better

2002 Honda accord
http://www.carcomplaints.com/Honda/Accord/2002/
2002 Ford Taurus
http://www.carcomplaints.com/Ford/Taurus/2002/

I thought Taurus was the one known for transmission problems???

I am not eager to jump on the CVT bandwagon just yet, most vehicles with CVTs haven't been in production long enough to reach 150k miles yet. I'll wait until CVTs have been in mass production vehicles for at least 10 years and have proven to repeatably run 150k without having problems before considering one over a conventional auto trans.

While I agree with your sentiment, 2001-2 Civics are defective from the factory(though Honda won't admit it) and are known to die at 80k miles. My girlfriend has an '01, which fortunately lasted till... 150k. My trials and tribulations with that were well chronicled here.. lol

It seems that all manufacturers have their good and bad transmission models, just as they do engine models. GM and Toyota seem to be able to make a nice automatic transmission, though.

Unfortunately, I have no data for the OP. However, conventional wisdom would lead me to believe that they have at least the potential to be much more reliable than an automatic transmission. Fewer wear/friction parts.

Also, I would imagine that when they break, it is a much more simple(and therefor cheaper) fix than with an automatic.

One could even hope that it was in line dollar wise with a clutch replacement. That would be pretty cool, especially if they turn out to last 200k miles or more like a clutch can.

I have 28k on mine in the last year. No problems at all. I like it much more than traditional automatics. It's smooth as can be with no real gears. When it "downshifts" going up hill your RPM's only go up a hundred at a time, not a sudden thousand RPM jump.

28k in a year? Hmm, not bad. Report back in another 5 years. :P

Plugers
07-15-2010, 07:49 PM
150k? Stop buying American
My 220k 95 Caprice keeps running just fine, maybe you should just do some routine maintenance.

From what I hear CVTs are great, they just haven't built them to take v8 power reliably yet. Any normal car should be fine.

Jumpem
07-15-2010, 08:11 PM
28k in a year? Hmm, not bad. Report back in another 5 years. :P

It will be gone in two years. I usually get rid of cars in two and a half or three years, right before the 100k mile extended warranty runs out.

StageLeft
07-16-2010, 08:04 AM
Most will have a torque convertor. The one in the Prius doesn't, though, to my knowledge, but it's a very strange transmission and not like CVTs found in other vehicles.

LTC8K6
07-16-2010, 08:06 AM
When it "downshifts" going up hill your RPM's only go up a hundred at a time, not a sudden thousand RPM jump.

Huh? You need to buy cars with more than 3 gears...

exar333
07-16-2010, 08:46 AM
Huh? You need to buy cars with more than 3 gears...

I like sudden RPM jumps. That's what makes driving fun! :)

LTC8K6
07-16-2010, 08:49 AM
I like sudden RPM jumps. That's what makes driving fun! :)

Yeah, if you want them you can ask for them. I prefer them to be accompanied by a nice shove forwards. :D

BlahBlahYouToo
07-16-2010, 10:10 AM
Huh? You need to buy cars with more than 3 gears...

maybe he likes to do 5->2 money shifts?

evident
07-16-2010, 11:22 AM
You're right, imports are so much better

2002 Honda accord
http://www.carcomplaints.com/Honda/Accord/2002/
2002 Ford Taurus
http://www.carcomplaints.com/Ford/Taurus/2002/

I thought Taurus was the one known for transmission problems???

I am not eager to jump on the CVT bandwagon just yet, most vehicles with CVTs haven't been in production long enough to reach 150k miles yet. I'll wait until CVTs have been in mass production vehicles for at least 10 years and have proven to repeatably run 150k without having problems before considering one over a conventional auto trans.


cherry picking a two years of bad accord transmissions out of how many again?

rootaxs
07-16-2010, 11:34 AM
115k on a Murano. No problems yet, and don't foresee any happening in the near future. Hopefully.

kornphlake
07-16-2010, 01:25 PM
cherry picking a two years of bad accord transmissions out of how many again?

Okay then, the problems were corrected after 2002 right?

How about the 2005 oddysey:
http://www.carcomplaints.com/Honda/Odyssey/2002/index.shtml

Compared to a 2005 Chrysler van, also notorious for transmission problems:
http://www.carcomplaints.com/Chrysler/Town_Country/2005/index.shtml

Hmm, how are we doing now?

Poor Honda, I'm just picking on them right?

2004 Mazda 3:
http://www.carcomplaints.com/Mazda/MAZDA3/2004/index.shtml

2004 Dodge Neon:
http://www.carcomplaints.com/Dodge/Neon/2004/index.shtml

Am I cherry picking a little bit, you bet, although I was surprised that I could compare a Neon to a Mazda3. Every manufacturer has had their share of borked auto transmissions, with few exceptions. To make a blanket statement that all domestics are garbage and all imports are da bomb shows a degree of ignorance.

SJP0tato
07-16-2010, 02:47 PM
Also, I would imagine that when they break, it is a much more simple(and therefor cheaper) fix than with an automatic.

One could even hope that it was in line dollar wise with a clutch replacement. That would be pretty cool, especially if they turn out to last 200k miles or more like a clutch can.

Going by what I've read from mechanics, CVTs are un-rebuildable. There's been a few cases where people put regular ATF instead of the special Nissan fluid into theirs and completely FUBAR'd it, and the only option is buying a brand new unit.

Kaervak
07-16-2010, 05:08 PM
Okay then, the problems were corrected after 2002 right?

How about the 2005 oddysey:
http://www.carcomplaints.com/Honda/Odyssey/2002/index.shtml

Compared to a 2005 Chrysler van, also notorious for transmission problems:
http://www.carcomplaints.com/Chrysler/Town_Country/2005/index.shtml

Hmm, how are we doing now?

Poor Honda, I'm just picking on them right?

2004 Mazda 3:
http://www.carcomplaints.com/Mazda/MAZDA3/2004/index.shtml

2004 Dodge Neon:
http://www.carcomplaints.com/Dodge/Neon/2004/index.shtml

Am I cherry picking a little bit, you bet, although I was surprised that I could compare a Neon to a Mazda3. Every manufacturer has had their share of borked auto transmissions, with few exceptions. To make a blanket statement that all domestics are garbage and all imports are da bomb shows a degree of ignorance.

You forgot the CVT in the Saturn VUEs. Those things failed so routinely GM was sued by a ton of owners. GM even bought back a ton of VUEs with failed CVTs. Now, in their defense the CVT they used was designed and built by FIAT. A complete garbage transmission.

Jumpem
07-16-2010, 09:16 PM
Huh? You need to buy cars with more than 3 gears...

My last car had a five speed auto and downshifts were 800-1000 RPM jumps.

Eli
07-16-2010, 09:27 PM
Going by what I've read from mechanics, CVTs are un-rebuildable. There's been a few cases where people put regular ATF instead of the special Nissan fluid into theirs and completely FUBAR'd it, and the only option is buying a brand new unit.

Hmm.. That doesn't make much sense. I mean, anything is rebuildable technically.. Maybe it's just prohibitively expensive? That would suck. If that's the case, they had better last at least 200k miles.

kornphlake
07-16-2010, 11:15 PM
You forgot the CVT in the Saturn VUEs. Those things failed so routinely GM was sued by a ton of owners. GM even bought back a ton of VUEs with failed CVTs. Now, in their defense the CVT they used was designed and built by FIAT. A complete garbage transmission.

The Ford Freestyle also had a garbage CVT, it was discontinued after 3 model years and renamed the Taurus X with a conventional automatic transmission, there was not a class action law suit as far as I know, but I don't believe the Freestyle was as popular as the VUE. The Ford CVT was designed in Germany by ZF Friedchshafen apparently a significant number of parts used to assemble the transmission came from Germany as it was stamped "Made in Germany" despite being assembled in the USA.

kornphlake
07-16-2010, 11:27 PM
Hmm.. That doesn't make much sense. I mean, anything is rebuildable technically.. Maybe it's just prohibitively expensive? That would suck. If that's the case, they had better last at least 200k miles.

Some things can't be dissasembled without destroying a major portion of the components. If I had a plastic water pistol with a broken pump I could cut the housing in half, remove the tube that connects the pump to the nozzle and reuse that part in the assembly of a new water pistol from a majority of new parts, but I wouldn't consider reusing one piece in an assembly rebuilding, I'd call it recycling.

The CVT used in the Ford Freestyle cost $6000 to replace, I don't know if it was rebuildable, but parts were not available the only available part through Ford was a complete transmission.

TraumaRN
07-16-2010, 11:39 PM
Most will have a torque convertor. The one in the Prius doesn't, though, to my knowledge, but it's a very strange transmission and not like CVTs found in other vehicles.

Nor does any hybrid built by Ford or Toyota.

It's more of a PST(power-split transmission) than a CVT. It's "CVT like" but nothing like a traditional CVT.

But unless someone wants more details I'll spare the technical details for now.

LTC8K6
07-17-2010, 12:57 AM
My last car had a five speed auto and downshifts were 800-1000 RPM jumps.

Just from going up a hill?

Most autos will just drop out of overdrive.

Have to be a big hill to require a sudden 1K jump, as claimed, imo. And if it's a big hill, then the jump is expected, and if you had a manual, you'd also be rowing. :D

Viperoni
07-17-2010, 07:59 AM
My 220k 95 Caprice keeps running just fine, maybe you should just do some routine maintenance.


Fluke, the 4L60E's aren't normally strong behind an LT1.
Or you have the 4.3L ;)

Jumpem
07-17-2010, 10:36 AM
Just from going up a hill?

Most autos will just drop out of overdrive.

Have to be a big hill to require a sudden 1K jump, as claimed, imo. And if it's a big hill, then the jump is expected, and if you had a manual, you'd also be rowing. :D

A moderate hill. But it was only a 1.5L.

arcenite
07-17-2010, 01:07 PM
I always wondered if it would be worthwhile to put a CVT behind a LSx

Eli
07-17-2010, 02:09 PM
Hmm.. That's disappointing. I thought for sure they would b easier to rebuild and therefor cheaper.

Plugers
07-17-2010, 03:46 PM
Fluke, the 4L60E's aren't normally strong behind an LT1.
Or you have the 4.3L ;)

LT-1 ex patrol car. although if it ever goes out I'm thinking LQ4 + 4L80E