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CVT Transmission Repair

The Advanced Transmission Center team has assisted countless customers with CVT transmission issues in Denver. We are your go-to local transmission repair shop for CVT problems. Although a CVT transmission can be found in numerous OEM vehicles, we especially specialize in CVT issues for the manufacturers below.

Skip to learn more about your CVT Transmission Repair Options

What is a CVT Transmission?

CVT Repair

A continuous variable transmission (CVT) is a type of automatic transmission that was designed to drive smoother and achieve greater fuel efficiency. It is automatic as it does not require a clutch pedal like a manual transmission. As the name suggests, the CVT is a single-speed transmission however it changes seamlessly through a continuous range of gear ratios via belts and pulleys. The CVT design is found most commonly in small-to-mid-size vehicles.

What are Symptoms of a Failing CVT Transmission?

There are numerous symptoms indicating a vehicle needs a CVT replacement. A seemingly innocent one is a check engine light with a transmission code. Although the vehicle drives fine, once the vehicle identifies an internal problem, it’s only a matter of time before the vehicle breaks down on the side of the road. A leak is a more visible sign of a problem. In rare cases, a seal can be fixed however this minor repair comes with risks because if one seal has failed, it is likely numerous other seals in and on that transmission are on the verge of failure. A vibration at various speeds or delay into “D” or “R” can also indicate an internal problem. Finally, if it appears as though the RPMs are rising yet that increase in power is not resulting in acceleration of the vehicle, it could indicate a CVT problem.

CVT Diagram

The below image shows the radical design of a CVT transmission and its use of pulley sets in contrast to traditionally automatic transmissions that leverage numerous independent gears. The jury may still be out if the more recent CVT design is superior to the traditional design.

CVT Transmission Diagram

Which Vehicles Have the Highest Rate of CVT Failure?

The vehicles that show up at Advanced Transmission Center with the highest frequency of CVT failure include:

  • Nissan Altima
  • Nissan Murano
  • Jeep Compass
  • Subaru Impreza
  • Subaru WRX
  • Nissan Maxima
  • Nissan Juke
  • Dodge Caliber
  • Subaru Legacy
  • Honda Civic
  • Nissan Rogue
  • Nissan Sentra
  • Toyota Corolla
  • Subaru Outback
  • Ford Freestyle
  • Nissan Versa
  • Jeep Patriot
  • Subaru Forester
  • Subaru Crosstrek
  • Chevy Spark

Although CVT failure is most common above 100,000 miles, we have diagnosed CVT failure as early as 40,000 miles. As more vehicles shift towards CVT units due to fuel efficiency benefits, the Advanced Transmission Center team expects to see a higher frequency of CVT transmission failures.

CVT Transmission Repair Options?

Unlike traditional automatic transmissions, addressing a CVT failure has limited options.

1. In-House CVT Transmission Rebuild

CVT transmissions have limited parts availability from 3rd party vendors. Even OEM parts for CVT units are limited to independent transmission shops. This challenge limits our ability to rebuild a CVT transmission in-house. In some cases, it might be possible, yet it is rare. We HOPE in the future, we can provide this service to our customers however today it is unavailable. Most transmission repair work completed by Advanced Transmission Center utilizes our in-house rebuild department to disassemble, inspect and rebuild a customer’s transmission. This is normally a tailored, high quality solution which allows our team to provide Fast Service and a Comprehensive Warranty to our Denver metro customers. Until reliable parts are available, we will not risk the safety of our customers.

3. Dealer CVT Transmission

For many years the Advance Transmission Center team promoted this option to customers, however in recent years we find it an inferior option due to the limited 12 month or 12,000-mile warranty. If a customer is going to pay thousands of dollars for a CVT replacement, they deserve the peace of mind that the transmission will work for at least a few years! Also, this warranty is usually parts only. Nissan dealerships provide Nissan CVT transmissions that are semi-reasonably priced yet after incorporating the price of CVT fluid and a limited warranty, we are generally uncomfortable with this option for our customers. Sadly, Subaru CVT transmissions are rarely remanufactured by 3rd party groups so often a dealer unit is a customer’s only solution. To make it worse, the cost of these units from a dealer can easily eclipse the value of the vehicle even before considering the price of installation or fluids.

2. Remanufactured CVT Transmission

This is the right choice! Our partnership with Certified Transmission allows us to provide customers with a nationwide warranty for 100,000 miles or 3 years. This option is similar or sometimes lower in pricing than getting a CVT transmission replacement from a dealership, however the 3 year warranty is an absolute necessity. Spending thousands of dollars on a repair is not about having a reliable vehicle tomorrow, it’s about having a reliable vehicle for the foreseeable future!

Availability is limited to certain makes and models so call us now to determine if this is an option.

We believe in certain circumstances a quality national transmission remanufacturer is a great option and this is one of those situations.

4. Used CVT Transmission

Buying a used CVT transmission is effectively playing Russian Roulette with your vehicle and wallet. CVT transmissions are known for high failure rates across Colorado and Denver metro. Buying a used transmission with a limited or non-existent warranty is asking for another major problem shortly down the road. In some cases, the unit might not function correctly, and you would have to pay the transmission or general automotive repair shop multiple times for the removal and installation of numerous units. This is where a comprehensive warranty and doing the work correctly the first time is very valuable.

Our Team’s Views…

Many of our team members do not believe CVT transmissions function well in Colorado conditions. Various contributing factors including overheating from lower vehicle oxygen intake, substantial elevation and temperature fluctuations, and increasing stop-and-go traffic all support this view. At sea level and flat terrains, a CVT transmission might be a fuel efficient and practical option, however neither of those conditions hold true across the front range or throughout Western Colorado.

Electronics & Programming

The CVT transmission is the product of increased R&D and computerization of the transmission. The Increased Electrical Complexity of Transmissions is a common theme in the future of transmission repair.

Early models of CVT transmissions did not require PCM/TCM (Power-control Module / Transmission Control Module) re-programming. In recent years, this is a requirement and failure to correctly provide OEM programming to a transmission on select models can void a warranty for an expensive repair and prematurely lead to failure of a replacement CVT transmission. Our team is familiar with the specific circumstances requiring programing, so customers are not left guessing.

Your Local Transmission Shop

Advanced Transmission Center shops have been addressing transmission problems, including CVT failures, for customers in Denver, Lakewood, Golden, Arvada, Littleton, Wheat Ridge, Westminster, Broomfield, Englewood, Thornton, Aurora, Northglenn, and other local municipalities since 1986. We are your Local Transmission Shop for any and all drivetrain needs.

Schedule a FREE Diagnosis via our TrueTest Inspection today!

Northwest Metro Denver: Call 303-647-5257
Southwest Metro Denver: Call 303-816-3856

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