Are CVT Transmissions Reliable?

QuestionsCategory: Ask An ExpertAre CVT Transmissions Reliable?
Caleb Martin asked 5 months ago
I've been reading up on CVT (Continuously Variable Transmission) and found varied opinions. I understand that different brands have different reliability records with CVTs. I'm particularly curious about how Toyota, Honda, Nissan, and Subaru CVTs compare. What are their common issues, and what should I be aware of in terms of maintenance?
1 Answers
Zack Norman Staff answered 5 months ago
Hey there, Caleb! You're right to notice the mixed opinions about CVT transmissions. Let's break it down by brand, based on what I've learned and experienced with CVT transmissions in my time:
  1. Toyota: Toyota generally has a good reputation for their CVT, especially in their hybrid models like the Prius. Their CVTs are known for being smooth and efficient. Regular maintenance, like fluid changes, is essential for longevity.
  2. Honda: Honda's CVTs, particularly in models like the Civic, are also well-regarded. They are known for a more natural driving feel compared to other CVTs. However, like any CVT, keeping up with maintenance, including fluid changes, is crucial.
  3. Nissan: Nissan's CVTs, particularly in models like the Altima and Rogue, have faced more criticism. There have been reports of premature failures and reliability issues. If you own a Nissan with a CVT, frequent maintenance and fluid changes are even more vital.
  4. Subaru: Subaru's CVTs are generally reliable, especially in models like the Outback and Forester. However, they have faced some issues, mostly in older models. Regular maintenance is key to avoiding problems.
In terms of maintenance, CVT fluid changes are critical. Although some manufacturers claim that their CVT fluids are 'lifetime,' many mechanics and experts recommend changing the fluid every 30,000 to 60,000 miles to ensure the transmission's longevity. Remember, the reliability of a CVT also depends on driving habits and conditions. Regular servicing and early detection of issues can prevent major repairs. Zack - Motor Verso Mechanics Team