CVT vs. Automatic Transmission

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CVT vs. Automatic Transmission

Whether consumers want to buy a new vehicle or need to upgrade a current one, considering several aspects regarding its operation, including its transmission system, is incredibly important. A transmission, also known as a gearbox, of a motor vehicle controls the application of power to the engine and the vehicle overall. There are only two different types of transmissions, but different systems within each type exert control in different ways. Understanding the difference between CVT and automatic transmissions is important for any driver.


Understanding different transmission types

Although there are several names and types of transmission systems, there are only two broad categories: manual and automatic. Manual transmission, also called standard transmission, is the original type of vehicle transmission system. Over the years, automatic transmissions as well as subtypes of automatic transmissions such as CVT transmissions have replaced manual operation in many vehicles.

Manual transmission

While it has little to do with the distinction between CVT and automatic transmissions, it is important to note what a manual transmission is and how it differs from these other two types. As its name suggests, a manual transmission requires a driver to manually operate the gearbox of their vehicle. To do this, a driver depresses a clutch pedal while manually controlling a shifting rod to change the gear used.

Automatic transmission

Unlike manual transmissions, automatic transmissions require no direct action on the part of the driver in order to change gears. All a drive must do is put the car in "drive" and the vehicle itself does the rest.

Automatic transmissions work by using a specific system, usually hydraulic in nature, to detect vehicle speed and automatically lock and unlock the proper system of planetary gears needed for each driving situation. However, over the years, the development of automatic transmission systems has deviated from this conventional approach to include variations on this "no input" theme.

CVT system

CVT, which is short for continuously variable transmission, is a subgenre of automatic transmission systems. Therefore, a CVT system requires no input from the driver, other than increases and decreases in speed, to shift gear ratios and run the vehicle. However, a CVT system does not actually contain any gears. Instead it uses a setup in which two pulleys are connected by a belt, which simulate gears.

During the course of acceleration, the pulleys themselves change size, increasing as "gear" increases in conventional transmissions. Instead of using a set number of gears, like an ordinary automatic transmission system, a CVT precisely calibrates the necessary gear ratio along a variable continuum without any standard "gear shifts".


Automatic and CVT system advantages

Whether buyers want to use a traditional automatic transmission or opt for the CVT, it is important to understand the benefits of each. While the advantages of an automatic transmission extend to the CVT as well, since it is merely a subgenre, the CVT's advantages are unique.

Automatic transmission advantages

The advantages of using an automatic transmission mainly focus on convenience and ease of operation, and there are specific scenarios in which automatics really help drivers. For example, drivers who live in areas where traffic patterns force frequent acceleration and deceleration, such as cities with many traffic lights, benefit from the lower amount of work required to change gears.

Additionally, changing gears is often faster with an automatic transmission. This is especially helpful when drivers must rapidly accelerate, such as when they merge onto a highway.

CVT advantages

The purpose of a CVT system is to maximise the efficiency of the engine in terms of both power and fuel consumption, and it succeeds in both of these realms for a specific reason.  Basically, the lack of gears used in the CVT system maximises engine efficiency. Without a set gear ratio associated with a road speed or engine speed, CVT vehicles accelerate more rapidly, and in that process, use less fuel.


How to buy CVT and automatic transmissions on eBay

Whether you are looking to do a total overhaul or simply repair the transmission you already have, shopping on eBay is a great way to find automotive parts for CVT and automatic transmissions. Simply start a search on any page of the site by utilising the main search bar. Use general terms such as "automatic transmission", or be more specific, identifying vehicle make and model, for more targeted results. Either way, it is easy to limit the selections provided by the sellers according to important factors such as vehicle compatibility, price, and condition.

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