A Very Brief Breakdown of Common Transmission Types
Aside from used vehicles that are notorious for blown head gaskets and other serious engine damage events, paying for a damaged transmission can be equally as expensive. Which is why when shopping for a used car, you need to consider what type of transmission it has and whether or not is has a history of problems.
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Possibly the majority of bad press about transmissions that you have heard anything about is the one referred to as a “CVT” transmission.
The Continuously Variable Transmission basically is a transmission designed to use pulleys connected via a steel band, rather than employing fixed gears. This was the next step up in transmission development from the traditional hydraulic powered transmissions that used a hydraulic system to engage the gears in older model cars and trucks.
The main advantage of an automatic transmission is that it makes driving simpler for car owners---especially if the driver has some physical limitations that make pressing in on the clutch pedal of a manual transmission vehicle repeatedly very difficult.
However, today the move to a CVT is more about economy. The benefits of a CVT over a traditional automatic transmission is that it increases fuel economy, uses fewer components, is cheaper to manufacture, and is significantly lighter in weight. The tradeoff of a CVT is that it limits the power of the engine used and has a higher maintenance requirement.
As it turns out that “higher maintenance requirement” is the rub with CVT complaints and its history among car owners---especially with Honda owners.
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But is this still true today with modern cars?
The Peoples’ Mechanic Sets the Record Straight
To understand a little more about the CVT problems car owners had and what years of cars this affected, here is a recent Scotty Kilmer YouTube channel posting where he talks about CVTs and how his opinion of them has changed.
The value of the video is that it not only explains CVT tech and problems, but also alerts you to potential problems you can expect in some used cars but not others depending on what year of vehicle you are looking at and the transmission type it carries.
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For additional articles about transmissions, here are some selected articles that should prove helpful:
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Timothy Boyer is a Torque News automotive reporter based in Cincinnati. Experienced with early car restorations, he regularly restores older vehicles with engine modifications for improved performance. Follow Tim on Twitter at @TimBoyerWrites for daily new and used vehicle news.
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