What is a CVT? | Oconomowoc, WI | Silver Lake Auto & Tire Centers
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The Truth About CVT Transmissions

The Breakdown of Continuously Variable Transmissions

Understanding how Continuously Variable Transmissions work is easier when each word is examined independently and then pieced back together. So here’s the break down:


The easiest of the three words. It means to perform without interruption. To get the full effect, some synonyms for continuously are constantly, ongoing, and flowing.


Just like you learned in algebra class, a variable is an amount subject to change at any time, depending on other factors. Words similar in meaning are fluctuating, ever-changing, and shifting.


When something is moved from one place to another. Words close in meaning are transferal, passing-on, and transportation. In a vehicle, a transmission takes energy from the engine of a vehicle and passes it onto the wheels.

When these three words come together, you get a transmission that moves energy continuously by way of a pulley system, not shifting gears. The pulleys adjust depending on the amount of power they need. Since there are no gear sets, a Continuously Variable Transmission, or CVT, allows for more seamless movements and smoother acceleration.

Are CVT Transmissions Better than Automatic or Manual?

Personal preference is what it boils down to when deciding on a transmission. Some drivers prefer not to feel the changing of gears. They enjoy a smooth transfer of power, as is the case with CVTs. Others appreciate the sensation of shifting because it’s reassuring when the gears engage. And then there are those folks who really get a thrill from the jolts of those cogwheels interacting. These are the ones who also like to be in control of shifting. In this case, the manual transmission becomes the favorite.

There are some differences to consider for which is better when it comes to maintenance and repair. All transmissions can get into trouble, so that’s not the issue. How easy they are to repair may be of concern. Basically, manual transmissions are easier to fix than either an automatic or CVT. If you own a vehicle with one of the latter, you should consider having repairs performed by professionals. The auto repair specialists at Silver Lake Auto & Tire in Oconomowoc, Wisconsin, are experts at fixing Continuously Variable Transmissions.

Written by Silver Lake Auto & Tire Centers