With the goal of better fuel mileage, auto manufacturers are introducing more autos with “continuously variable transmissions” (CVTs). In contrast to an automatic transmission, which has a set number of gear ratios, CVTs generally utilize a pair of variable diameter pulleys (shaped like a pair of opposing cones) with a chain or metal belt running between them. With one pulley connected to the engine and the other connected to the drivewheels, the changing diameters of the movable pulleys seamlessly vary the transmission’s ratio. Cars utilizing CVTs make less noise, as the CVT raises and lowers engine speed as needed. However, it is important to note that CVTs require special transmission ﬂuids, and nothing else should ever be used. There are a variety of transmission ﬂuids. Refer to your vehicle’s owner’s manual to determine which ﬂuid is best. One of our ASE Certiﬁed Technicians can inspect your vehicle’s transmission ﬂuid, engine oil, and ﬁlters.
HINT: While the belts used on some continuously variable transmissions have a well-established record for durability, chains can handle more torque.