5 Things You Should Not Do in a Car With a CVT

by Vivaan Khatri | 14/09/2018
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A car with a continuously variable transmission (CVT) is new but you do not have to feel intimidated and avoid it all together. If you own one or plan to buy one, these tips below can help you prolong its life.

Most car lovers are doubtful or even afraid of continuously variable transmissions (CVTs), but they are actually great. While the experience of driving a car with CVT may entail an odd elastic feeling under acceleration, CVT is the better than both traditional automatic and manual transmissions at keeping cars in their ideal power band.

A CVT relies on a belt and pulley system instead of gears to provide an infinite number of ratios, which means that the transmission never really shifts. CVT is more common in scooters, motorcycles, and snowmobiles.

CVT transmission system black background

Cars with CVT transmission could offer a smooth and effortless drive

Basically, because of the infinite number of ratios, a car with CVT is smoother to drive than the same car with a regular automatic transmission. CVT can also improve gas mileage, so quite a few hybrid cars are equipped with one. However, a lot of drivers find driving a CVT-equipped car just peculiar since there is no shifting happening and acceleration feels rubber band-like.

Since you are an avid car lover, you do not have to love CVT, but at least know how to deal with them.

1. Don't put a CVT car in neutral to stop

Putting a car in neutral at a stop is unnecessary for pretty much any transmissions except for traditional manual ones. When you come to a stop you can leave the car in gear whether it is an eCVT or it has the torque converter clutch. If it has the clutch, the transmission will disengage automatically, so there is no need for you to put the car in neutral when you come to a stop.

CVT car shifter

You don't need to put the car in neutral when you come to a stop

2. Don't hold on a hill with the throttle

This is not a diehard rule. You can get away with a CVT, especially if it has a torque converter or if it is an eCVT. However, if it has a clutch and it is a traditional CVT, the clutch can be damaged if you hold on a hill with the throttle. In this case, you should just put your foot on the brake to hold yourself on a hill; a throttle is unnecessary.

3. Don't coast in neutral

Again, this is not a diehard rule but more like a friendly maybe-you-should-not. Generally speaking, with a CVT, you do not need to coast in neutral, just leave it in gear and save some fuel. This is especially recommended for e-CVT as it will actually regenerate that engine. The traditional CVT will adjust the gearing accordingly and will even disengage the clutch if it needs to so there is no reason to coast within a neutral. Just leave in a drive for whatever you're doing.

CVT car shifter with a warning sign

Coasting in neutral is not recommended

4. Don't neutrally drop a CVT car

To prepare for a launch, any person with common sense would rev it up in neutral and then drop it into gear. But you have to drop this common sense that is applicable to a car with a manual transmission in this case, as it will actually damage your car if it is a CVT or an automatic transmission. So under no circumstances are you to neutrally drop your CVT vehicle.

5. Don't change direction without coming to a stop

Don't wait while your car is still creeping back to put it in reverse. Let the car come to a complete stop and then change directions. Otherwise, some of the transmission components can be damaged. Even though a few of those CVT components can be quite cheap, they are generally not easy to source, which means either lengthy repair time or high repair bill, or both. So, come to a stop to go from Drive to Reverse and vice versa.

Toyota Vitz CVT 1.5 (2014) rear view

You should bring your CVT car to a complete stop before changing direction

Read more tips and guides from IndianAuto:

>>> Helpful maintenance tips for manual and automatic transmission

>>> Things not to do when test drive a car

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