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How Long Do CVT Transmissions Last (And Why)?

Exact Answer: 100000 Miles

If you’re in the market for a new commuter car or crossover, you might have noticed that the model you want has a continuously variable transmission (CVT). Many of you might be aware of what CVT Transmissions are. But, there is one question that comes to almost everyone’s mind and that is about the longevity of CVT Transmissions. 

You may have also heard some negative CVT rumors and been advised to avoid them by various people near you when you talk to them about CVT Transmission. CVTs have been compared to traditional transmissions, and we’ve come to a solid decision about whether they’re a good option.

How Long Do CVT Transmissions Last?

Transmission TypeEffect Level
Before CVTLow

Unlike other mechanical shifters that allow access to a fixed number of gear ratios, a CVT (continuously variable transmission) is a single-speed gearbox that acts like an automatic shifter for seamless shifting over a range of gear ratios. Because of previous troubles with these transmissions in select Jeep and Nissan vehicles, there is some concern regarding their longevity.

Only a few people know that a CVT can come with any combination of gears. But, all this depends on the mechanical restrictions of CVTs. Not just this, the transmission control unit’s programming also plays a big role here. There are 4 gears for a four-speed, 6 gears for a six-speed, and so on. 

A CVT’s longevity is determined by a variety of factors. CVTs have been around for a long time, but they have only recently become more inexpensive and reliable. With appropriate maintenance, a CVT in a late model car should easily exceed 100,000 miles, however, older CVTs may not survive as long.

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Some automakers have shifted their focus away from traditional automatic transmissions and instead invested heavily in CVT technology. CVT quality has improved significantly in recent years, allowing most manufacturers to reliably make them without large-scale dependability difficulties.

When properly maintained, a CVT can last a very long time. The owner’s handbook should be followed for routine maintenance. It is true that data about failure rates isn’t widely available if we look at the automotive industry. But, you can go through technical service bulletins and recalls for any vehicle you’re considering buying. This way you can make your decision regarding CVTs in a better way. 

Why Do CVT Transmissions Last That Long?

Despite the fact that many CVTs are set to shift like a traditional automatic, they don’t need to. Changing ratios is simple and can be done while the engine is running. This provides an extremely smooth power delivery, almost as if the car were an electric vehicle.

Many users dislike the way a CVT feels or sounds, which is why some CVTs appear to shift. CVTs can keep the engine running at its best RPM for maximum power or fuel economy. You must be aware that all this depends completely on the request of individual drivers. The engine will drone at a steady RPM even as the speed increases if the transmission does this.

Some people compare this rubber band effect to that of a motorboat or a snow machine. When you first start driving, a CVT could feel like a slipping clutch if you’re used to a manual transmission. At full throttle, this is especially true. When you press the accelerator pedal all the way down, the engine speed quickly rises to around 5,000 RPM and remains there. Many CVTs operate in this way, and it’s probably nothing to worry about.

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CVTs come in a variety of configurations. A pair of conical pulleys are connected by a belt or chain in one of the most frequent designs. The pulley’s “gear” changes as each pair of cones move closer or further away. Keep in mind that the continuously variable transmission fluid is supposed to last till the vehicle is in good condition.


Many car owners have found CVTs to be pleasurable and reliable. If you’re buying secondhand, do your research and check Consumer Reports for information on the reliability of that particular brand, model, and year. Years having a poor track record of reliability should be avoided.

Swift driving experience, familiar and easy controls, and significant fuel savings are all advantages of CVTs.


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