How does a continuously variable transmission work?
Today, most people still think “automatic or manual” when thinking about transmission systems. But there are more options than that, namely: the continuously variable transmission, or CVT. As you are probably already aware, a manual transmission is also known as a stick shift, as you have to manually shift gears using a stick and an extra pedal called the clutch.
An automatic transmission makes everything much easier, as it does all of your shifting for you – no need for a stick or a clutch. These days, the CVT is found almost more often than either manual or automatic, so we thought we’d figure out How’s This Work to discover why.
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What is a CVT?
Technically speaking, a continuously variable transmission is an advanced type of automatic transmission. Much like an AT, you don’t have to worry about a third pedal or a stick shift. But unlike both automatic and manual, a CVT has no gears. A 6MT, or 6-speed manual transmission, would have 6 gears to switch between while a 9AT, or 9-speed automatic transmission, would have 9. A CVT has no speeds or gears, as it is able to shift seamlessly through an infinite number of ratios.
Hence the name: continuously variable transmission. The biggest advantage of CVT over an AT or MT is that seamless shifting. When you shift manually, you can very much feel the car shifting. Even in an automatic, if you’re paying attention, you’ll notice the vehicle move or sound differently for a second as it shifts between gears. The CVT is seamless, so there is no noticeable shift, meaning a much smoother ride.
If you’d like to know what type of transmission system is in the vehicle that you’re interested in, feel free to give us a call right here at the dealership. You can watch the video below for even more information on CVTs and how they work.