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CVT and Automatic question

I just watched a YouTube video disassembling a Subaru CVT. While CVT’s are conceptually easy to understand (just like my bicycle gears), I found the overall complexity surprising.
My question is: does anyone make a CVT good for 300,000 miles? Same question for the old-style automatic.

Of course, there are automatic transmissions which will last for 250,000 miles or more with proper maintenance. Some will last longer than that, but 250,000 miles is pretty much the outset of what you can reasonably expect. I am, of course, talking about 3-speed and 4-speed models, which were made from the early 1990’s to the late 2000’s.

Modern automatic transmissions have more gears, more complexity, and probably won’t go more than 200,000 miles, if that–and that’s assuming proper maintenance and sensible driving.

CVTs are a mixed bag. Some such as Nissan appear to be disposable after 100,000 miles. Some may very well be reliable, but I would not buy a car with a CVT.

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Some would say 60,000 miles! :wink:

I’d prefer 6, 8 or 10 speed automatic rather than a CVT. CVT durability is an issue… but they drive weird, IMHO.

My Focus made it 215K or so and was going strong before it got totaled, my Odyssey made it 203k before we traded it (and Honda Automatic transmissions aren’t known for being robust). I think most modern automatic transmissions with proper maintenance can expect at least 250k (of course this is assuming there isn’t a defect in the transmission). I know @MikeInNH has mentioned cars with automatic transmissions going over 300k with routine maintenance.

Did I read something somewhere about Ford going back to 8 speeds because of the problem with 10? At any rate like I said, I had my Riviera transmission overhauled at about 300,000 just because I was driving all over the state and didn’t want a break down in the winter 400 miles from home. The shop said it didn’t look all that bad. Of course that was with a lot of highway miles, so miles on a transmission is probably not a good indicator. All depends on how many times the thing has shifted. So you’d never get that on a car that drives around town all the time.

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OP=300k cvt?

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10 speeds are overkill anyway . 8 speeds are more than enough in modern applications .

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My 2017 Accord EX-L with the 2.4L has a CVT, and it is usually difficult to tell it from an old style auto transmission. Many manufacturers simulate shift points, and that’s done well on my Honda.

It isn’t CVTs lack of shift points but the funny way they feel pulling away from a stop. Not like an automatic, not like a manual.

Drove a work truck, not sure how many gears, I suppose you could get used to it but is shifting every 5 to 8 mph was annoying to me.

I had 42K on a Nissan’s last-gen CVT (2013 Sentra)…

No complaints about “disposable” term :slight_smile:


When comparing the multi-speed automatic transmission with the CVT automatic, I think back 70 years ago when the Chevrolet Powerglide and Buick Dynaflow which depended on the torque converter were compared with the GM 4 speed Hydramatic. The transmission debate never ends.

It seems like Nissan’s biggest mistake was not recommending regular oil changes for the CVT. Now they have changed that and Honda is doing the same and it seems like this has extended their life. Same can be said about conventional automatics.
Niece has a Sentra with CVT with well over 100K miles, not particularly maintained well either but still running.
Also, there is the Prius with something like a CVT that goes well over 300K miles.

Prius “eCVT” is not at all related to “CVT” - it’s a totally different mechanical concept, yet it makes for smooth torque control over wide speed range.
Moreover, Prius’ transmission has no wear parts working with slippage, only full-time-meshed planetary gear-set, which makes it to be compared to classic manual transmissions in highway application.


But, you have to suffer with a Prius. Most boring car on planet. I had one. But, soon, we will all be forced to have e-car.

You do not need to settle for Prius if it is too plain.
In regular consumer segment, I test-drove last-gen Camry and I definitely preferred hybrid one over 4-cyliner version as it was both smoother and “torque-ier” :slight_smile:

Nah, I would prefer the xse Camry.

Then get the XSE hybrid. I’ve also read where the RAV4 hybrid is more enjoyable than the non hybrid.

The eCVT could be made to work without the hybrid battery, transferring power directly between the two motor/generators.
Yes, there would be a disadvantage in cost and weight over a conventional CVT, so maybe not so practical.
It would be more reliable than conventional CVT, and eliminate the conventional ICE engine starter.

I had a hybrid. Don’t want another one.
I have a suv. I don’t like driving a suv.
Don’t know what’s next