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 original equipment manufacturers (OEM) vehicles, we especially specialize in CVT issues for the manufacturers below.
Skip down to learn more about your CVT Transmission Repair Options.
We Specialize in CVT Issues for the Manufacturers Below
What is a CVT Transmission?
A 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.
Common Signs of CVT Transmission Failure
innocent one is a check engine light with a transmission code. Even if 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 but this minor repair comes with risks because if one seal has failed, it is likely other seals 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 disproportionately relative to the accelaration, it could indicate a CVT problem.
The below image shows the 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 on whether the more recent CVT design is the superior type of transmission.
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 available 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.
While it might be possible, in some cases it is exceedingly rare. We HOPE to provide this service to our customers in the future, however, it is unavailable today. 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 that allows our team to provide Fast Service with a Comprehensive Warranty to our Denver metro customers. That said, we will not risk the safety of our customers until parts are available reliably.
2. Remanufactured CVT Transmission
The right choice! Our partnership with Certified Transmission allows us to provide customers with a nationwide warranty for 100,000 miles or three years. This option is priced similarly or sometimes even lower than getting a CVT transmission replacement from a dealership, — the three-year warranty is an absolute necessity. Spending thousands of dollars on a CVT repair is not about having a reliable vehicle tomorrow; it’s about having a reliable vehicle for the foreseeable future!
We believe, in certain circumstances, a quality national remanufactured transmission to be a great solution. However, availability is limited to certain makes and models, so call us to determine if this is an option.
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. Additionally, this warranty is often limited to parts only. Nissan dealerships have been pumping out Nissan CVT transmissions non-stop over the last decade, making the price of these units go down over the years. However, after incorporating the price of CVT fluid and a limited warranty, we are generally uncomfortable with this option for our customers with Nissan CVTs.
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.
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 the Denver metro. Buying a used transmission with a limited or non-existent warranty is asking for another major problem shortly down the road.
It’s important to remember that CVT transmissions are most often found in small-to-medium vehicles, which typically have smaller engines and, therefore, less power. The lower oxygen content in the air for cities at high elevations across Colorado means these smaller vehicles are working vigorously to operate at higher altitudes, putting additional strain on your engine and transmission. Relying on a used CVT transmission for vehicles driving in Colorado can quickly turn into regret.
Used transmissions come with other issues as well. In some cases, the unit might not function correctly. If this happens, you’ll have to pay the transmission or general automotive repair shop several times over for the removal and installation of such units. This is where a comprehensive warranty and doing the work correctly the first time are very valuable.
5. Patch Repair
There are some limited situations in which it might be possible to replace a particular part inside of a failing CVT transmission in order to prolong its service life. There are a few common premature failures on some components that can be addressed without fully removing or replacing the transmission. For instance, there are some Subaru CVT units where a valve body replacement or repair is a viable, although not always successful, option. This would entail removing the “brain” of the transmission and repairing or replacing that unit. The Advanced Transmission Center team encourages this option only in appropriate circumstances where the unit type allows this type of repair, the vehicle has low mileage, and the customer is willing to gamble with whether or not this repair will actually solve their problem without replacing the CVT transmission.
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, temperature fluctuations, and increasing stop-and-go traffic, all support this view. At sea level and on 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. The CVT design is a product of that evolution.
Early models of CVT transmissions did not require PCM/TCM (Power-Control Module / Transmission Control Module) reprogramming. In recent years, this is a requirement. Failure to correctly provide OEM programming to a transmission on select models can void a warranty for an expensive repair and prematurely lead to the failure of a replacement CVT transmission. Our team is familiar with the specific circumstances requiring programming, so customers are not left guessing. Moreover, our team will complete a hot power flush of the transmission lines before installation of your CVT replacement to ensure the old burnt fluid does not contaminate the new unit. As important as it is to get a quality unit, it is equally critical a qualified transmission specialist handles the installation process.
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.