Why Most CVT Transmission Cars are Terrible

Why Most CVT Transmission Cars are Terrible


rev up your engines, welcome to my
Thursday video where I answer a viewers question with an entire video and
today’s question comes from John 9180, I got a Nissan Altima with the CVT
transmission, the stupid thing went out when it only had 80,000 miles on it, is this
something with Nissan’s or is it a problem that a lot of CVT have, well it’s
definitely a problem with the Nissan cvts,
and to understand how that affects a lot of other cars, here’s a little history lesson, now Nissan which also makes infinitys like this 2004 Infiniti used to make
pretty good automatic transmissions, this one is a 5-speed automatic that’s pretty
bulletproof, but the like everybody else they started to get worries about gas
mileage and they went to fancier transmissions like 7 speed, 9 speed, and
the more speeds they put in them, the more problems that they have as they wore out,
sometimes reprogramming the computer software for these fancier transmissions,
helped the problems to some extent sometimes it didn’t do that much, but
they’re getting so complicated to get better gas mileage that they’ve gone to CVT
transmissions and as with most new innovations, there’s teething problems, CVT
transmissions were around even in my grandfather’s day, but the metallurgy was
so bad then, they’d slip like mad they couldn’t make it up a big hill, a lot
better than it used to be but they’re still not really perfected from a lot of
manufacturers, from my own experience and a poll that I did with all the
transmission experts that I’ve known over the years, pretty much it was 100 percent agreement that Nissan makes the worst CVT transmissions out
there, they have the most problems, they last the shortest amount of time and they
cost an awful lot of money to rebuild correctly, now Nissan transmissions are
made by a company called Jatco, that’s a subsidiary of Nissan and that
stands for Japanese automatic transmission company, so don’t
automatically think that just cause it’s a Japanese company they’re gonna make a
great product, Jatcos had a lot of problems with the CVT transmissions they
put in Nissans, but you may not know Jatco supplies automatic
transmissions to lots of companies, they use them in Nissan’s, Mazda, Subaru,
Isuzu, Suzuki, BMW, VW, mg, Land Rover, Hyundai, Jaguar, Renault, and Chrysler,
now Toyota they make their own CVT transmissions, they use the company Aisin
which they own a percentage of and they have probably the least amount of
problems of any of the CVT is out there and that’s probably because they’ve been
mass producing the CVT transmissions longer than anyone and has perfected them,
the Toyota Priuses have CVT transmissions because they’re using both
a gasoline engine and electric motor because in a hybrid car you got to have
input from the electric motor and the gasoline motor and the CVT transmissions
are easier to make so you can have different inputs, a regular transmission
is really made for only one input coming from a gasoline motor, since the Prius
has been out for twenty years now they just did their 20th anniversary, Toyota
has been whipping out those CVT transmissions for two decades,
so they got a leg up on everybody else and the other car manufacturer that
makes CVT for themselves, is Honda now Honda has had problems with their
automatic transmissions over the course of time in a lot of their models, I
haven’t seen the same problem yet in their CV T’s so I’m assuming Honda is
doing a better job making the CVTs than Nissan is using Jatco, so if
you’re thinking about getting a car with a CVT transmission, you might learn
something from John’s question, he had a Nissan Altima, his Jatco CVT
transmission went out at an early age it cost a fortune to fix, so if you’re
planning on buying a car that has a CVT transmission, my advice is this, do a
little research on who actually made the transmission and if you find that it’s
made by Jatco that Nissan affiliate personally I wouldn’t buy the car,
because who wants a vehicle with a bad automatic transmission and you might ask,
hey why are they even putting these CVT transmissions in a lot of the cars, well
it’s for one main reason, gas mileage the CVT transmissions don’t have gears that
shift up and down, they’re always going in what’s called the optimum RPMs power
speed and gas mileage, it’s all computer-controlled,
you can’t even shift the car to get the good gas mileage those get,
it’s gonna do it better than any human being and with the pressure on
manufacturers to get better and better gas mileage, they’re going to be going to
all these types of technologies and CVT is one that is pretty much going to be a
universal if you ask me in the future for gasoline and diesel cars, and who
knows maybe in the future Jatco will get their act together and make really good
CVT because you have to realize that the use of the jaco transmissions, hey like
in the case of Chrysler, they had a six-speed dual-clutch transmission they
were working on that was way behind schedule, so as a last-minute thing,
oh they decided we’re gonna buy CVT from Jatco, so they didn’t have to do the
research development who’s to say that it’s a correct mix, they just kind of, oh
well ours didn’t work so let’s try something else and sticking it in on our
cars, me I’ll take decades of Engineering like Aisin does with theirs that have been in
Prius is for 20 years, they started perfecting them and get them better and better
and better, rather than a company just saying oh I guess we can’t make CVT
ourselves, so let’s buy them from somebody else and throw them in our cars and see
what happens, because slowly perfecting things hey, it might be boring but
everybody really wants a boring transmission in their car that just
keeps working and never breaks down and you don’t have to think about it, and
since this is the Thursday segment where I answer a viewers question, place your
own question on the YouTube comments below, and I’ll pick the best ones to
make a single video to answer your questions, and where else can you find a
guy with 50 years experience of fixing cars to answer your own question with a
video, so if you never want to miss another one of my new car repair videos,
remember to ring that Bell!

About the Author: Michael Flood

100 Comments

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  2. My 2014 Sentra blow fuking CVT at 65k miles. Fuking cost me $4500 to put in a new one. Just Out of warranty about 5k miles. Never look at Nissan ever

  3. Just got the new 2019 Toyota Corolla .. much improved CVT with better response time and no lag … very good but this car is very new.

  4. Subaru does not use Jatco CVT transmissions… Subaru uses Jatco for their automatic transmission, but their CVT is actually manufactured by Subaru and is considered one of the better designs.

  5. Ive got a 2010 nissan cube CVT. 185000 k on no issues at all. The key to making them live is how you drive them slow steady gas pedal. To keep trans input speed down. Let the trans pull the car to speed

  6. Mitsubishi are also owners of Jatco. Our 2013 RVR CVT was junked last week at 160000km. Not even worth fixing. On a positive note, ww bought a 4runner 2019 SR5 should be delivered in 2 weeks 🙂 Goodbye problems!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  7. My 2011 Nissan Sentra transmission started to acted up at 113k… After about a hour a driving my room needle stays put, speed will decline and it's a whining noise under the hood. I have to pull over, let the car cool then drive again

  8. My Son's Yamaha Scooter has a CVT type trans .. Best described as a constantly slipping clutch
    It's an Awful to ride, Crappy.trans.. Even on a Scooter.

  9. Wife's 2013 Nissan 78k miles I already feel the transmission going making noise and jerking.

  10. The achilles heel for all CVTs is torque. The first CVT used in a passenger vehicle sold in the U.S. was the 1987-1994 Subaru Justy. But the Justy weighed just under 2,000 lbs and had a 1.2L engine cranking out a modest 73hp and 71ft/lbs of torque. As a result, the CVT in the Justy had no significant service issues, as I recall.

    I think the reason Toyota and Honda CVTs last longer (so far) is because they're offered mostly in Toyota/Honda's smaller FWD vehicles, where the engines don't have much torque, or in their hybrids, wherein electric motors bypass the CVT when moving the vehicle from a dead stop, thus eliminating the vast amount of torque strain that CVTs in larger non-hybrid and/or AWD vehicles experience. This relief greatly extends the life of the CVT.

    When CVTs are connected to larger vehicles with more powerful engines and/or AWD systems like the Nissan Rogue or almost any Subaru, the CVTs can't handle the constant torque load, so the belt/chains in them strip and can't grab the variable shafts and pulleys anymore, rendering the transmission useless.

    That is why, for the indefinite future, I can't see myself buying any non-hybrid vehicle with a CVT, especially since I live in a mountainous area, which is hard on any transmission anyway.

  11. The invention of the variable cone and belt CVT goes back at least as far as Leonardo da Vinci. CVT’s been used in many industrial applications (in addition to autos) since then. Modern CVT’s still use frictional forces to transmit torque and power, as CVT’s always have. For this reason, they tend to be limited in the amount of torque and power they can handle. That’s why you mostly see them in smaller, low power cars, and why they tend to fail more often in larger cars like the Nissan Altima and Maxima. If anyone ever develops a CVT capable of transmitting power through normal forces, like between gear teeth, it will be a game changer. Numerous patents over the last five decades highlight inventors who have spent years attempting to do this without commercial success.
    Don’t give up bros. I haven’t.

  12. 75k on my 2016 Altima SR …almost all highway and I'm a maintenance nut but so far so good.

    Thanks to Scotty's warning I did buy the 100k power train warranty just in case …but I enjoy driving that car. Fingers crossed 🤞

  13. hi i am looking at a 2019 honda crv but it has that gas defusion where gas is going into the oil problem and they dont have a recall on it china stop selling them all together. can you make a quick vid on that

  14. you should tell the car manufacturers to install automatic transmissions in to their cars instead of CVT transmissions.

  15. I went through two CVT's on my 2008 Rouge. (that was in under 10 years and less than 150 000 km). Never buy Nissan again!

  16. Hey Scotty-I'm looking for very fuel efficient,very reliable small hatchback that will last for years…2-3 years old…that will get me over 300 000kms easily…have 2007 Yaris now with almost 340 000kms,before that a civic hatchback with over 300 000kms..Yaris is a bit too small for my dog crates tho,and a Mazda engine? Was looking at Honda Fit but since 2015 they are equipped with Earth Dream CVT engine,which I hear is problematic.Great interior space tho.What is your opinion on the Fit's 2014 models? Can you suggest similar sized HB that would suit my needs and be affordable for tight budget? Thanks

  17. I'm SO LUCKY! I have a 2012 Nissan Versa hatchback with a 4 speed automatic. For a long time I was afraid I had the CVT. Recently found out I don't! Thank God!! I figured something was fishy because I have 140k problem-free miles on it! haha knock wood

  18. Subaru's automatics were/are made by Jatco; but Fuji, Subaru's parent company, manufactures the CVTs in Subaru. Essentially, they make their own CVTs for themselves, and they are very highly reliable. I have a 160k CVT in my 2012 Legacy. No issues at all so far (Knock on wood!)

  19. I might be one of the lucky ones. ..I've done 256000 kms on my 2016 altima 3.5sl and I'm still going strong.. Save complaints with the AC… I've had friends with Taurus and camarys who's engine ceased up and a another with a pathfinder…going to put my faith in Hyundai Santa Fe next.

  20. The Toyota Hybrid with a CVT is a very reliable transmission since it uses gears instead of a belt or chain. How many Prius cars have you heard of having transmission problems? Since the car's transmission is spinning from an electric motor, it has to use a CVT transmisson. The gas engine spins a generator to charge up the battery that powers the electric motor tied to the transmission.

  21. Try changing your transmission fluid like Nissan recommends. Just bought a 2011 Nissan Juke with 80k. First thing I got done was changed the transmission & engine oil at my local Nissan dealer. It was $450, but at least I know they were using the correct stuff. Was advised to change it every 60k miles.

  22. Scotty, what do you think of the CVT in the new Toyota Corolla? It apparently uses a fixed-ratio planetary gearset for 1st gear which reverts to the standard CVT belt and pulley system for all gears above 1st. Good idea or not?

  23. CVTs are actually very undervalued technology that is being held back because consumers like all of you are stuck in the past and need cars that change rpm to give yourself a sense of familiarity when to it comes to connecting engine sounds to driving. The CVT is an incredible leap forward in technology for fuel consumption and yes even performance, thanks to ICEs being help at peak power through seamless shifting. Because all of the complaints of engines staying at the most ideal rpm (drone as you all put it) manufacturers are putting in artificial gear changes in these things which totally defeats their purpose. Manuals still have their place and always will, but consumers need get with the times an stop bashing new technology. It's the 21st century and automobiles are getting super efficient, so let the engineers do their thing and be more open minded. The CVT is not going anywhere, so get used to it or take a bus.
    And I don't wanna hear about the reliability because I've seen a toyota automatic go bad under 100k miles and I've seen Nissan CVTs with 150k, and 200k miles.
    All cars have reliability issues. Take care of them, dont abuse them, and any modern car will probably make it to 200k miles.

  24. Most????. All cvt cars is a disaster. Nissan also makes really bad cars overall in every aspect today.

  25. Little known fact, Volvo since has had Aisin transmissions since 2010 which was when Geely of China bought them from Ford. I love my 2012 Volvo S60 T6.

  26. Hey Mr. Scotty, I thought Subaru was the first to put a CVT in an Automobile, with the 1987 Justy? With the help of FUJI. Not the Toyota Prius.

  27. Toyota Prius does NOT have a regular CVT with a belt. Most other Toyota models do have a regular belt driven CVT and have their share of problems. Toyota actually realized that the belt idea is problematic and developed a "hybrid" CVT in which the low speed high torque range uses automatic clutch and gears.

  28. Gas mileage my foot.go 80 miles an hour in one of these CVT transmission cars and look on the computer and see how much miles a gallon you're getting. It will be less than if you had a 6-speed manual transmission or a regular 5-speed automatic transmission. I've done this myself you get less gas mileage at higher speeds

  29. Exactly! Cvt transmissions are horrible! Stick to regular 4-5 speed automatic transmissions or manual transmissions! My loaded 2003 nissan altima 3.5 v6 has 180,000 miles on it, and thank goodness it has the regular 4 speed automatic transmission otherwise it wouldnt have lasted as long if it had the crappy cvt transmission!

  30. Hey Scotty, ever drive a 2014 and up Honda Accord with a CVT?? Excellent transmission. I have one in my 2014 Accord EX Sedan and most people couldn't tell it has a CVT unless they were told. Depending on the speed I can get up to 40 MPG with it. My son has a 2013 Nissan Sentra SR with a CVT and it works like crap!!! We got it for a good price but wish we never purchased it because you don't know how long its CVT will last… You are right Nissan's are the worst with the JATCO's.

  31. Nissan was the first to introduce the CVT, and it was made by NSK, when Renault, bougth Nissan, they already own Jatco, so you can blame on the french for ruining the Nissan CVT.

  32. The Nissan CVT is junk. I purchased a 2016 Nissan Altima SR last September with 46K and at 57k the Continuous Variable Transmission died. Luckily, the CVT was under warranty until 60k so it was repaired under warranty. This would be good except that the warranty on the replacement CVT is only 12 months 12k. You would think that given all the repeated failures of their CVTs that they would at least provide a legitimate warranty to stand behind their product. I have been a loyal customer of Nissan having previously purchased 3 other Nissans(all manual transmissions) with no problems, but this is it. Beware of the CVT. DO NOT PURCHASE AS IT WILL ONLY COST YOU MONEY.

  33. Just bought a 2019 Kia forte FE with an IVT/CVT, was warned against it but my previous car was a junker that i still was paying off and the Kia dealership offered to buy it off me. Hopefully i didnt make a mistake in buying a Kia with this kind of transmission. I know CVT is apparently relatively new technology, so i dont know. Any other kia owners have any input?

  34. 2013 Altima, drive 100+ miles a day. going on 282,000 miles and never had a problem except the window switch. don't drive like idiots…

  35. The problem is they merged with Renault ( Renoooooooooo) And they have suffered from a disease known as shitty shitty crap crap then followed by CVT and then followed by more shitty shitty crap crap ever since

  36. I’m new to this channel and I was wondering what is the difference between jatco cvt’s vs the Versa xtronic cvt transmission?

  37. Subaru does not use JATCO CVTs, their CVT is built by Fuji Heavy Industries. The misconception comes from the fact that Subaru used Jatco conventional automatic transmissions. I am not sure of the maker of Mazda CVT but they might not use Jatco either and were only using them for automatic transmissions.

  38. I am so stuck here. My Nissan Sentra just started acting up. I'm getting Selinoid B transmission /shift code. Being told that I can order an online remanufactured transmission for $1700 and just pay someone to install. I have enough money to buy a Schwinn. 😣

  39. Last year I bought a new 2018 Toyota Camry with the CVT transmission and it lurches and shudders. When you step on the gas there is a delay before the transmission gets in gear and when it does the car lurches forward. Not fun to drive. I took it to the dealer and they checked it out and said “that’s the way it is designed” never again will I buy a Toyota never. If you go to test drive one take it on a long drive city and highway and you will see what I am talking about.

  40. My cvt transmission just went out with my Honda Insight 2010 but it does have 440,000 miles so safe to say Honda cvt is great 👍🏻

  41. Scotty!! Because of you,we dodged a major bullet, I had a relative who had a 2009 Nissan Sentra with 111,000, cvt, after reviews we said no way!! And let them know what the cost is for the repair would be,

  42. Dear Scooty, what do you think is more convenient? an used honda with cvt? or an used jetta with triptronic? Thanks for all your videos, im learning a lot with them!

  43. Many of those car manufacturers are invested in jatco too. Mazda and Toyota especially. Documented online too. Ford aswell

  44. have nissan micra 2015. 62 thousand miles on cvt ready to die first and last nissan I ever buy in my life thank you so much scotty

  45. Nissan needs to bring back manual transmissions for all models. They would be selling more. I'm sure the sales are hurt do to a weak transmission. I never had problems but I didn't want to take that gamble again.

  46. Had a 2015 Nissan Pathfinder with a CVT had no issues with it but I sold it as I watched too many CVT failure videos (and I was out of warranty) and bought a Mitsubishi with a regular torque converter unit. More peace of mind now.

    Scotty loves his Toyotas.

  47. This guy is good mech but obv a Toyota fanboy. Everytime he shittalks cars, he compares them to Toyota lol. I have Audi on CVT that has 400 000km and never had to rebuild anything. No slips at all. Its just that you shouldnt floor it down with CVT, if you drive normaly you have no probs. But yea Nissan Is Shiet

  48. The main reason CVTs go out is lack of maintenance to them. I have a 07 Nissan Altima 2.5 with the CVT and my car has currently 276k miles on it. The tranny went out at 43k miles on it but that was my fault I was running the hell out of it. 233k miles later still running like new. No whining at all like in most CVTs. Keep the fluid changed to keep that belt lubricated and it should last awhile. I drove mine to LA and back last year and I live in east Tennessee. No problems. Just keep the maintenance up on them.

  49. U r such an experienced mechanic. What have u done in favour of the automotive industry instead of jst critisism. At least nissa took a step in the right directionand gve world better gas milage

  50. 2011nissan rouge 150k
    So far so good
    No special maintenance. ..
    Drive smooth… I will change transmission fluid my self …
    I love nissan …

    My second car 2014 nissan sentra..
    Never issue..
    I like that .

    I will update If my nissan rouge go to 200k. ,300k. 400k
    .Thanks.

  51. My 2019 Honda civic has a CVT and im pretty dissapointed, I've only had the car 3 months and now my RPMs are high everytime i accelerate but wont go….

  52. I'm kinda of luck with my 2012 Scion iQ just had my cvt serviced with no problems and over a 100000 miles on it but I am burning oil like crazy

  53. I believe Subaru makes their own Lineartronic CVTs.

    Subaru did use a Jatco 3 speed automatic, and their 4 speed automatic was based on a Jatco design as was the 5EAT.

  54. A lot of ppl transmission go bad because they don’t get transmission fluid change an when you neglect it as if it doesn’t need fluid it will break down as well around 40,000 plus miles

  55. My 2010 nissan maxima SV has a cvt and 180,xxx miles on it. Havent had a problem since i got it. I love my car it picks up faster then most other v6 I’ve drove. Just change your oils when they need to be changed….take care of your car and it will take care of you 👍🏽

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