A question that some of us ask ourselves. Or have even been asked by friends or customers. I have a car with a CVT transmission and I have always wondered how a CVT actually worked. I knew it was belt driven but I didn’t know how the belt was driven and how one belt could do the work making it go through “gears”. Now that CVT transmissions are more main stream that they once were most of us have ridden in a car with a CVT. The number one thing we notice first is that there is not Shift/Step feeling as it switches gears. CVT Transmissions are made to give the engine efficiency under acceleration and going up hills. They also give you improved gas mileage and over the years the benefits are starting too finally out way the cons of owning one. CVT transmissions were not always the most reliable when they first started being introduced to cars but we will get into that later.
CVT Transmissions have 3 main components. There is a Drive pulley, Driven pulley, and a belt. The belts are known to be either high strength rubber or metal. The two pulleys also have clutches and sheathes on them that will move one side of the pulley to make it wider or narrower depdnding on the ratio the cars transmission computer decides it needs to be in. By doing this you have an almost infinite number of ratios. When this happens the other pulley will do the opposite to change the ratio of how much output needs to make it to the wheels. Because of this you do not get any kind “shift” or “Stepping feelings”. The drive pulley is connected to the cars crankshaft. The driven pulley is called so because the drive pulley is turning it. That is known as the output pulley and the cars driveshaft is connected to that.
As you can see in the picture it is a pretty simple concept considering that of a normal automatic transmission that is a nightmare to even look at the inside of. There are multiple types of CVT transmissions but the main one we are going over today is the belt driven type.
The advantages of owning a CVT transmission are tremendous! I have to say I love my car and the loss of “Shift shock” and I always have power whenever I need it. No need to wait for the transmission to shift and get that power. You will also have improved fuel efficiency, there is always better control over emissions and the ride is exceptionally smooth. Some cons of owning one can be the expense of have to replace it and earlier CVT transmissions were not the most reliable. Although they are getting much better throughout the years some people have sworn off of them because of past reliability issues. Also the weak point of these transmissions is the belt. The quality of the belts has been questionable throughout the years. Some last forever and some break within 70K miles, I wouldn’t worry about it though because most manufacturers give a decent warranty on power train.
Finally I have a bonus question for you. What was the first u.s. production car to have a CVT transmission?
A few Japanese companies are developing a way to turn sewage sludge into reusable energy, by turning the sludge into hydrogen for use in fuel cells. Getting hydrogen from sewage is cheaper and cleaner than getting it the normal way. It can cut carbon emissions by 75% The process involves drying the sludge, the methane that is generated this way is then re heated to cook out the hydrogen gasses.
The companies that are collaborating in this process are Toyota Motor Corp. affiliate Toyota Tsusho Corp., Mitsui Chemicals Inc., Daiwa Lease Co. and Japan Blue Energy Co. Toyota and Honda are planning on making new fuel cell vehicles in the future. Hopefully if these vehicles start being produced it can be a great way to reduce emissions in the U.S. The way to get hydrogen now is a very complicated and expensive process. If this new way works out, it will be a break through on getting the hydrogen gas.
What are your thoughts on this process of recycling waste into hydrogen gas? Do you think it will be a viable fuel source?
The National Insurance Crime Bureau has released their top stolen car report for 2011. The most popular vehicle for a thief was the 1997 Honda Accord and the 1998 Honda Civic. Every year the agency checks police records of stolen vehicles throughout the country and they compile a list of most popular vehicles that are stolen. In the national list of most popular cars stolen the 1994 Honda Accord and 1998 Honda Civic were among the top cars. In Connecticut 7 out of the top 10 cars were foreign vehicles.
There is a silver lining to this story and that is the reports show that there was a decline in car thefts in the country. Car thefts have not been this low since 1967 reported the FBI. A lot of this has to do with new technology that deters thieves from stealing a car. Things like VIN etching, new security systems, and key code technology.
Here is the list of the top vehicles stolen in Connecticut.
||Ford Pickup (Full Size)
||Jeep Grand Cherokee
Today I am going to talk about the pros and cons of owning a CVT transmission. First of all I would like to explain what a CVT (Continuously Variable Transmission) is. A CVT uses a pulley and belt system to change the vehicle’s drive-wheel speed and torque in relation to the engine speed and torque so as to provide an unlimited range of gear ratios. This is different from an automatic transmission in a way as that automatic transmissions have a set ratio and gears. The CVT essentially has an unlimited amount of ratios because of the way it works. Now that we have that out of the way let us go over some pros and cons of owning one.
The advantage you have of owning a CVT can be noticed in fuel mileage your car can get. Because the CVT can keep the engine at an optimal power range in order to keep fuel emissions low. CVT’s also provide quicker acceleration than a normal automatic transmission. You also don’t get any sensation of shifting so this makes for a very smooth ride when you are in stop and go traffic and under acceleration.
Now for the cons of owning a CVT transmission. Some people complain about a constant noise while driving, almost like the sound of a slipping clutch. The CVT in a vehicle could cost you a bit more money than a normal automatic. If you are new to owning a CVT it may take you some time to get used to driving a car without the feeling of it shifting. There have been complaints of lack of power but this is contributed to the CVT always keeping the car in optimal fuel saving range so you are not over stressing or opening the vehicle wide open and wasting gas. The final disadvantage is that it is a very complicated piece of machinery which could have the potential for higher repair costs.
My personal thoughts about a CVT are that I love it! I have owned 2 cars that have had automatic transmissions and two cars that have had CVT transmissions and I prefer the CVT over the normal automatic. The smoothness of the ride is incomparable to anything else. I love how I don’t feel it shift and you don’t get the jerkiness of an automatic transmission. I do a lot of highway driving and this transmission keeps the RPMS low and keeps my fuel MPG up. I have yet to do any maintenance on any CVT I have owned so I can’t comment on the price to fix it but that is also a good thing because I have not had to fix it. I also have not gotten any kind of noise with the CVT so I am not sure what other people are hearing. I hope this blog helped you in understanding the Pros and Cons of CVTs and please comment below on your thoughts.
This weeks readers ride comes to us from Marcie Ruiz of Connecticut. Marcie has owned this car for over 9 years and continues to make upgrades to it every summer. As any car enthusiast knows, the Honda community is huge so standing out from the crowd can be very difficult. Marcie over came that by having Ron’s Automadness of Bristol CT give her Civic a unique pink and silver paint job that definitely stands out. Other exterior mods include an Eco 2 body kit, 17″ chrome wheels from Alloy Technologies, and Altezza tail lights.
On the interior Marcie had the interior trim painted to match the exterior pink color. Shes also added a 7″ Kenwood flip screen with DVD and has big plans in regards to finishing the rest of the sounds system. Marcie is a true Honda tuner at heart and will be sure to turn heads with her Civic for years to come. Got a ride you want to see featured on our site? Let us know about it on our Readers Ride Submit form!