Continuously variable transmissions (CVT) tend to have better longevity and be more reliable than standard transmissions. Honda has been using their own version of a CVT transmission for decades and it is one of the strongest and most reliable ones on the market, especially compared to Nissan.
Despite the bulletproof reliability of the Honda CVT, it does suffer a number of problems that typically come from poor owner maintenance. These transmission are prone to slipping and jerking from worn out gears, power loss from dirty fluid, and coolant leaks which can result in complete failure. We’re going to discuss each of these problems in depth below and teach you how to prevent CVT transmission issues.
Honda CVT Transmission Problems
- Jerking & Slipping
- Power Loss
- Transmission Coolant Hose Failure
Many transmission jerking issues may be attributed to the fact that your transmission fluid needs to be changed or that the fluid itself is low. However, other various components can also be the catalyst for jerking or slipping transmissions. Different catalysts for a slipping transmission can include:
- Solenoid issues
- Clutch Problems
- Worn out gears
- Broken or worn transmission bands
- Torque converter issues
With the various causes of transmission issues, it’s important to identify the cause before it progresses into more costly and time-consuming repairs. Transmission issues can hide various other engine system faults, just another reason for timely repairs. In summation, a jerking transmission carries its symptoms in its name: a driver may experience difficulty changing gears or in the case of the Honda CVT: a jerking reaction to the engine transitioning between gears. Furthermore, drivers may experience abnormal engine shaking if the problem is severe enough.
2) Power Loss
Slipping or jerking is also a symptom of overall CVT power loss. Additionally, abnormal engine noise or shaking may be contributory to the overall loss of a transmission’s power. It is important to identify that transmission fluid is not muddy or low when experiencing loss of acceleration or engine power. Once fluid issues have been cleared, loss of power may indicate faulty or failing components within the Honda CVT system. Again, this is a problem that will less commonly occur on vehicles that are driven less aggressively and vehicles in which good maintenance has been sustained.
3) Coolant Hose Failure/Leaks
CVT coolant hose leaks are another problem that may likely result from the improper flow of transmission fluid or low levels of fluid. Abnormal transmission fluid can result in an overheated transmission and potentially the CVT completely ceasing function. Due to the fact that this results in more expensive repairs, it is imperative to identify and repair any transmission coolant hose problems in a timely manner.
This problem may carry a variety of symptoms including:
- Low transmission fluid
- Visible breaks or damage on the cooling lines
- Puddles of fluid gathering underneath the car
- A burning smell emits from the engine bay
- Abnormal noises from the engine bay
- Slipping or Jerking transmission
Overall Reliability of the CVT
Many drivers consider Honda to be one of the most reliable manufacturers on the automotive market. Part of this impressive reputation is in part due to the quality of the CVT systems Honda utilizes. Even our most commonly occurring problems listed above are likely due to improper maintenance rather than design flaws or poor structural components.
Typically, continuously variable transmission systems are more reliable than regular automatic transmissions. Honda’s CVT transmission frequently make it 250,000 miles without any major issues or repairs needed, just occasional fluid flushes.
For further information on the CVT’s design and required maintenance, check out our previous guide on automatic transmission maintenance.