Leonardo DiVinci sketched the first Continuously Variable Transmission around 1490. Now, over 500 years later, car companies are getting around to using CVT as an alternative to the traditional automatic transmission. Because of the science behind CVT, cars now have more usable power while getting better gas mileage and offer a smoother ride.
Traditional automatic transmissions work with a set number of gears, usually between 4-6. While driving, the transmission moves to a higher gear for higher performance. Lower gears are used to start out, middle gears are used to gain acceleration, and higher gears are used for crusing at high speeds.
CVT engines do not have a set number of gears. Instead of the traditional gear with “teeth”, CVT engines use smooth surfaces that allow pulleys to adjust the engine speed (RPM) and give the driver the most power in the most efficient way.
CVT engines have been fighting to gain acceptance. A CVT gear shifter looks similar to a traditional automatic transmission but instead of P-R-N-D-3-2-1 (or something similar), CVT only has P-R-N-D-L with L serving as the only lower gear option. The key performance difference with a CVT engine is the feel and sound. Since there are no gears, you do not feel any shift-shock that you would feel with a traditional engine. Also, since they don’t downshift to accelerate quickly, there is no loud revving noise. Instead, you will feel a faster response and hear a steady hum of the engine as you gain speed. Maintenance and reliability are comparable to traditional automatic transmissions, with only minor differences.
When DiVinci made the first CVT engine in 1490, he didn’t know that 500 years later, it would become a replacement for the traditional automatic transmission. For more information on maintenance of CVT engines, call Havoline xpress lube of Kernersville, NC at (336) 993-7697.