aaaugie

does anyone like the cvt?

53 posts in this topic

Sometimes I think maybe it's better to buy an old classic car that is very simple and layed out easy . I remember if I was going on a long trip with my Roadrunner I would keep common spare parts in the trunk . Starter , fuel pump , ignition parts even a spare carb . All stuff you could fix in a parking lot or side of the road with common hand tools . Lot more maintenance and repair with those cars but at least easy and fast  to fix when they needed repair .

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
   


On Thursday, August 25, 2016 at 1:11 PM, sparkfanatic said:

Once you drive a good CVT it's hard to ever go back to a conventional automatic. It's just better in every way I can think of . Smoother , better performance , durability . Far less moving parts .i have had CVTs for many years , lots of experience with them and there's lots of myths and unfounded fears about them .

i know i have to change the way i drive. but before i buy the car i need to know the best practices when driving a CVT: start and stop, driving in traffic jam,  starts and stops in uphill traffic 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just bought a 2017 Spark LS with CVT. Handles superbly for a tiny car, and tracks exceptionally straight. The tranny is silky smooth. In parking lots, the computer does seem to be hunting for proper gear ratio, but nothing unpleasant or scary. Through city traffic, the car is a joy. Visibility all around is best of all cars I have driven since 1964. Ride is smoother than my bigger Pontiac G5. The radio sound quality with only 4 speakers is very good. 

 

Only comment I have for posters who hate the CVT but love the "durability" of geared automatics, is why are there thousands upon thousands of shops doing a bang up business servicing geared automatics? Ask AAMCO how profitable is their business.  

Edited by Bobby MSME

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I like my cvt, the car just doesn't have enough torque to make it run smooth so you got to keep that gas pedal down when you need it to respond. But I prefer it over a regular gm automatic any day. It works how its supposed to kicks down when I want it. Gm just doesn't know how to tune tcms to run their automatics. gm transmissions just feel lazy and clunky on the stock tune. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
9 hours ago, Bobby MSME said:

Only comment I have for posters who hate the CVT but love the "durability" of geared automatics, is why are there thousands upon thousands of shops doing a bang up business servicing geared automatics? Ask AAMCO how profitable is their business.  

There are vastly more conventional auto tranny's out there..that is why more are being worked on..that's the math. The 2014-2016 Jatco-7 trannys never worked properly mostly due to a programming issue but also due to a defective belt and material design...After over 120Kmi on my 2013 conventional 4sp auto tranny..still very responsive and solid connection while going through the gears..kickdown works better than some larger cars I have has..2-3 levels depending on how fast and far you do the gas kick-down..non of that "computer trying to find the right gear" as that Jatco-7 CVT experiences in 2014-2017 Sparks with the CVT. Slippery unit but smooth when it works once you get it rolling..

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Looking at the CVT transmission design through my mechanical engineer eyes, my best guess is it is designed for small cars. It works with friction between the belt and the pulleys, and there is no positive engagement between 2 gears such as in the geared automatics. But fewer moving parts and no jerky shifting between gears should be a positive.

 

For drivers who hate the CVT because some of them had problems with it, and wish to get a geared automatic, keep in mind outfits like AAMCO and a bunch of other transmission shops have flourished over many decades servicing geared automatics. When you buy a car like Spark, it is a mass produced car. It is not a $300,000 hand crafted Rolls Royce. The reason Spark is cheap because it is mass produced, and it will not receive

100% inspection of every little part. So a small percentage of CVT's can be lemons, and will be lemons. That is just how mass production works. 

Edited by Bobby MSME
format

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 3/19/2017 at 9:58 AM, Retired old Gearhead said:

  .After over 120Kmi on my 2013 conventional 4sp auto tranny..still very responsive and solid connection while going through the gears. 

 

Happy for your experience with the geared automatic.  Before I bought the new Spark LS 2017, I test drove a used 2014 Spark with CVT with 60,000+ miles. It was in great shape and drove flawlessly. However I hated the color, and more than that at 60k miles, there will be lots of replacements needed such as tires, battery, coolant flush, alignment, may be even shocks and transmission maintenance. At my age I have given up DIY work on cars. Love driving the 2017 CVT around town. Drove it out off the dealer's lot with payment of $7600, brand new including all taxes, dealer charges. That was with $3000 trade in and another $3000 rebate from my GM credit card. That GM card has now saved me $12000! It builds 5% rebate credit on every purchase, $500/year max, for upto 7 years. 

Edited by Bobby MSME
the usual afterthoughts lol

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ya, seems us older guys are better at financial management and squeezing out a deal whenever we can, always been that way and it's paid off in retirement  ... I'm fairly sure that by now they have figured out and remedied Jatco-7 CVT issues that plagued the earlier versions of both hardware and control software. Nice work on the GM card redemption..I'm older but still like to do some DIY on my boat..not so much the car..get oil changes done the garage I use, both Spark and Rover, but still like to work on my older boat with an easy to work on engine, generator and fittings..but that's pretty well it..

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
11 hours ago, Retired old Gearhead said:

Ya, seems us older guys are better at financial management and squeezing out a deal whenever we can, always been that way and it's paid off in retirement  ... I'm fairly sure that by now they have figured out and remedied Jatco-7 CVT issues that plagued the earlier versions of both hardware and control software. Nice work on the GM card redemption..I'm older but still like to do some DIY on my boat..not so much the car..get oil changes done the garage I use, both Spark and Rover, but still like to work on my older boat with an easy to work on engine, generator and fittings..but that's pretty well it..

Keep those great posts coming! You have experience with the  Spark, which I do not. So I learn from your posts. When I was (much) younger and had houses with garages, I have done everything DIY from brake jobs, tune ups, oil changes, coolant flushes, belt replacements, adding extra fuel filters (those tiny bronze fuel filters in GM cars get plugged up easy with bad gas), changing snow tires (necessity in Chicago driving). That in-line see through fuel filter instantly diagnosed why my car would not start on a cold evening in Chicago after work. There was no visible flow of fuel!

 

Without boring you, once I am driving home from work on my 25 mile one way journey, and my Chevy Nova starts to eminate hammering sounds from the engine. I had may be 70k miles on the V8. I pulled into a GM dealer, driving very slow, and 2 mechanics played around with my engine problem, and told me my rod bearing was broken, causing the very loud hammering sound. The remedy was basically complete engine overhaul. More dollars than my Nova was worth. It was Friday evening, and I decided against the repair. The mechanic advised me not to drive home, another 15 miles. He said if I tried to drive it, the piston rods could break through the engine block. 

 

So I drive home, as slow as I could. The noise was more the faster I went. At home on the weekend, I read through my car manuals. I found out that if rod bearings are shot, the sound will be louder when accelerating or decelerating, because of the gap formed between the piston rod and the bearing. My engine was making sounds directly proportional to speed. Less speed, less sound. More speed, more sound. So I concludes it was not the rod bearing. My best diagnosis based on that very good car manual was bent or broken rocker arms. So Monday morning I drive to another dealer, a Buick dealer, and told the service writer, to check the rocker arms. After only 2 hour wait in the lounge, I hear my name announced and I walk up to the cashier, and she hands me the keys to the car with the bill. The problem was a bent rocker arm, and the bill was exactly 1/20 th compared to complete engine overhaul.

 

I have more stories like this of incompetent/shady mechanics. I learned quickly never to walk into a repair shop by saying "there is problem in my engine or transmission". Read a good manual, and determine what the problem really is. The mechanics are pretty good to fix the problem, after you diagnose it for them.

Edited by Bobby MSME
typo's made by stubby fingers

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I just filled my 1st gas tank in the new Spark 2017 with CVT. 240 miles driven, and required only 6.34 gallons of regular unleaded, which boils down to 37.85 MPG. The dealer had filled my tank per negotiations, before I drove out of the car lot. 80 of those miles are highway, other 160 miles of city driving in Saint Augustine.

 

For a tiny car, it drives solid, no rattles or vibrations, tracks very well. The 1.4 liter engine makes it peppy, and the CVT is silky smooth. I am loving it!!

Edited by Bobby MSME
line formats

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
12 hours ago, Bobby MSME said:

I just filled my 1st gas tank in the new Spark 2017 with CVT. 240 miles driven, and required only 6.34 gallons of regular unleaded, which boils down to 37.85 MPG. The dealer had filled my tank per negotiations, before I drove out of the car lot. 80 of those miles are highway, other 160 miles of city driving in Saint Augustine.

 

For a tiny car, it drives solid, no rattles or vibrations, tracks very well. The 1.4 liter engine makes it peppy, and the CVT is silky smooth. I am loving it!!

Thanks for the nice words Bobby...As you said the Spark is solid on the road and handles well..That is the main reason we got this as well as the ease of parking and moving around in tight traffic..OK..well, actually I got the car since my wife wanted something smaller to drive than my big, hard to park v8 chevy and after a while I found it a fun and easy car to drive as well..drive it more than the big V8 Rover..Rover is used on highway longer trips but is just a comfy but boring land cruiser. I didn't think we'd get 100Kmi from the spark as it was new on the market..but turned out rock solid engine and after around 120Kmi..still runs like new with nearly perfect & even compression on all four. I would buy another.

Thanks for the story.. Still always retained a passion for mechanical stuff..not so good with electrical though. Newer cars need less attention and are harder to work on so I leave that to the shop I deal with..but my older boat is still interesting to keep in 'ship shape' with open space engine area, tranny/convertor and shaft bearings to deal with..Lots of deep cycle batteries for aux power so the gen or engine does not need to run in dock or anchored and my beer stays cool in the fridge for days without the gen or engine needed then an  hr. or so to recharge the batts..anyways..'Nuff said on that.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have a 2017 Spark with the CVT, because driving in DC metro traffic with a stick shift is for the birds.  Compared to the horror stories I've read on here, the tranny in my car is butter smooth. The only jankiness I've encountered has been either right after startup on a cold morning, or when decelerating almost to a stop then accelerate, which is clearly the transmission control unit downshifting to the low range after (incorrectly, but not unreasonably) anticipating I was going to come to a full stop. 

 

Engine braking under idle idle throttle is somewhat greater than what I'm used to. The engine control unit aggressively cuts fuel trim to zero when the car is coasting (you can see it in the driver information center as the instantaneous fuel economy pegs to 99 MPG) This is done for fuel economy and is not out of character compared to other late model cars. 

Bobby MSME likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 3/31/2017 at 10:16 AM, JonBoy470 said:

 The only jankiness I've encountered has been either right after startup on a cold morning, or when decelerating almost to a stop then accelerate, which is clearly the transmission control unit downshifting to the low range after (incorrectly, but not unreasonably) anticipating I was going to come to a full stop. 

 

 

Astute observations. If the programmers could do a better job, the CVT in Spark coupled with a Torqi 1.4 Liter 4-banger would be simply unbeatable. There are many variables involved, including current speed, change in gas pedal position whether accelerating or decelerating, going up slope or down slope, how loaded is the car, ambient temperature, foot on brake or not, turning or going straight, etc. The computer has access to all these variables and many more. 

 

Over my 37 years in the engineering profession, I came across many brilliant engineers and a few brilliant programmers. But it was extremely rare to come across individuals who were brilliant in both. The same problem exists in medical field, accounting field, air traffic control, timing of traffic lights, etc.

Edited by Bobby MSME
typo's

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I am liking the CVT more every day. If it lasts 70-75k miles without any problems,

I am never going back  to a geared automatic. Better gas mileage, better acceleration,

less engine wear due to lower RPM's for the same vehicle speed, less cost to buy new,

smoother operation without the jerks of gear changes, and a sporty feel due to noisier operation when stomping on the gas pedal, no need to tighten bands in a geared automatic, etc.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Bobby MSME said:

I am liking the CVT more every day. If it lasts 70-75k miles without any problems,

I am never going back  to a geared automatic. Better gas mileage, better acceleration,

less engine wear due to lower RPM's for the same vehicle speed, less cost to buy new,

smoother operation without the jerks of gear changes, and a sporty feel due to noisier operation when stomping on the gas pedal, no need to tighten bands in a geared automatic, etc.

I like mine too, and so far it has been working smooth, and other than the getting stuck in second issue, which happens very rarely on mine I dont have anything to complain.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If the CVT only lasts 75k miles, I'll be very disappointed. Any transmission that craps out before 150 or 200k miles is garbage. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, JonBoy470 said:

If the CVT only lasts 75k miles, I'll be very disappointed. Any transmission that craps out before 150 or 200k miles is garbage. 

 

Change transmission fluid at recommended intervals, if you want CVT to last as long as geared automatics.

 

In my own situation, 75k miles equals 9-10 years of driving. I seldom keep cars over 10 years old. So if CVT lasts 75k miles without a problem, I would have enjoyed better gas mileage, better acceleration, smoother operation all the way from 0 to 75 mph with no gear changing jerks, and the sporty noise when gas pedal is goosed.

Edited by Bobby MSME
on=at

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Small correction in your otherwise very good post...I think my 2017 Spark LS has 1.4 liter engine. Only issue after driving the new car for 5 months occurs  when I am slowing down into 10-15 mph range, and for whatever reason instead of coming to a full stop, I wish to speed up again. If I press the  gas pedal hard in that situation to speed up, many times the CVT fails to increase torque ratio. So the car fails to accelerate quickly.

 

I have found a solution. Simply accelerate gently, instead of stomping on the pedal when car is slowing down in range of 10-15 mph.  It seems to give enough time for the software to adjust to the needs of the driver. But I always wait for a good opening before making a left turn in front of oncoming traffic, just to be safe.

 

Initial car quality is excellent so far. Everything works like it is supposed to, doors close with a solid thunk, all car panels fit nicely, no fluid leaks, tires have not lost psi, no squeaks, no rattles, no parts have failed. That is pretty good for one of the cheapest cars on the market.

Edited by Bobby MSME
ICQ

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi,

 

I've only had my 2017 LS with CVT for about a month, but I am extremely happy with it.  After test driving both a manual and a CVT my mind was made up pretty quickly to go with the CVT event though all my daily driver cars since the mid 80s have had manual transmissions.

 

In my previous Fiat with a manual transmission the owner's manual gave to recommended shift patterns, one for good efficiency and one for good acceleration which I tried to more or less follow. 

 

So far in driving the Spark, I have found that if I try accelerating a bit more quickly, similar to how my Fiat felt when following the shift recommendations for "good acceleration" I sometimes will notice just a bit of "whirring" and maybe a little hesitation around 25-30mph or so, where I assume that the CVT pulleys are shifting to provide a different "gear ratio", kind of similar to how in a normal automatic you can feel the transmission shifting from one gear to the next.

 

However, if I accelerate gradually, similar to how my old Fiat felt when shifting in accordance with the manufacturers recommendations for good efficiency, the CVT in my Spark is extremely smooth, and any "adjusting" of the "gear ratio" in the CVT is frequently difficult to even notice. :)

 

Pat

 

Edited by PFJN

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, PFJN said:

Hi, 

So far in driving the Spark, I have found that if I try accelerating a bit more quickly, similar to how my Fiat felt when following the shift recommendations for "good acceleration" I sometimes will notice just a bit of "whirring" and maybe a little hesitation around 25-30mph or so, where I assume that the CVT pulleys are shifting to provide a different "gear ratio", kind of similar to how in a normal automatic you can feel the transmission shifting from one gear to the next.

 

However, if I accelerate gradually, similar to how my old Fiat felt when shifting in accordance with the manufacturers recommendations for good efficiency, the CVT in my Spark is extremely smooth, and any "adjusting" of the "gear ratio" in the CVT is frequently difficult to even notice. :)

 

Pat

 

Those are brilliant observations. My usual driving habits are also to accelerate gradually, and the CVT is very smooth without any slipping, which parallels your observations. Actually the CVT responds so quickly and smoothly to my gentle acceleration demand, this 2017 Spark LS is a joy to drive. The 1.4 liter engine gives the right amount of "pep". 

Edited by Bobby MSME

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On ‎8‎/‎25‎/‎2016 at 6:11 AM, sparkfanatic said:

Once you drive a good CVT it's hard to ever go back to a conventional automatic. It's just better in every way I can think of . Smoother , better performance , durability . Far less moving parts .i have had CVTs for many years , lots of experience with them and there's lots of myths and unfounded fears about them .

The CVT is more advanced than a conventional automatic, yes, but the problem is that most mechanics who work in transmission repair and specialize in it are setup and tooled for the traditional automatics or a manual. Since the CVT is still gaining popularity and isn't a majority at this time, most repair shops are still not specialized in CVT maintenance and repair.

 

That means you are left taking all repair issues to the dealer or just a total replacement as opposed to any servicing. Even dealers have a hard time repairing a CVT since the industry still doesn't have the training and tooling to work on CVT's. That's unfortunate, and hopefully can change.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On ‎3‎/‎20‎/‎2017 at 9:01 AM, Bobby MSME said:

Looking at the CVT transmission design through my mechanical engineer eyes, my best guess is it is designed for small cars. It works with friction between the belt and the pulleys, and there is no positive engagement between 2 gears such as in the geared automatics. But fewer moving parts and no jerky shifting between gears should be a positive.

 

For drivers who hate the CVT because some of them had problems with it, and wish to get a geared automatic, keep in mind outfits like AAMCO and a bunch of other transmission shops have flourished over many decades servicing geared automatics. When you buy a car like Spark, it is a mass produced car. It is not a $300,000 hand crafted Rolls Royce. The reason Spark is cheap because it is mass produced, and it will not receive

100% inspection of every little part. So a small percentage of CVT's can be lemons, and will be lemons. That is just how mass production works. 

I generally enjoy the CVT, it feels smooth, and its responsive on my 2017 Spark. The only thing I haven't been able to figure out is this odd shift that occurs when you aren't accelerating hard, when you are around 40-50km in speed and the CVT has this whining sound, it loses power slightly, then it shifts into a higher ratio/gear? I thought it was a defect, but then I read somewhere that the CVT is a 'two-step' CVT and my understanding is that this is a feature, not a problem? If its a feature where there are two ratios - one for lower speed acceleration and another one for highway speed driving - that's great. But I have had CVT's in the past where this was not present. It literally whines a bit, loses some power, then feels like a shift as the whine goes away and goes into a higher speed.

 

Does everyone with a Spark CVT (mine being a 2017 model) experience this?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yep, I have a 2016 LT model with the CVT, it does the same. 

I think the gearbox for low speed sometimes has trouble engaging/disengaging. 

You can refer to this thread I created a while back, with schematics for the transmission. 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted (edited)

On 3/16/2018 at 9:39 PM, sparkto said:

 this odd shift that occurs when you aren't accelerating hard, when you are around 40-50km in speed and the CVT has this whining sound, it loses power slightly, then it shifts into a higher ratio/gear? 

Yes indeed the CVT has a 2 speed gear box as far as I know, and it attempts to change gears at about 40mph. My 2017 does the exact same thing. I usually do not notice it since I drive like there is an egg between the gas pedal and my foot :lol:

Edited by Bobby MSME

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I

On ‎3‎/‎19‎/‎2018 at 5:38 PM, Bobby MSME said:

Yes indeed the CVT has a 2 speed gear box as far as I know, and it attempts to change gears at about 40mph. My 2017 does the exact same thing. I usually do not notice it since I drive like there is an egg between the gas pedal and my foot :lol:

 

My daily commute doesn't give me much of a choice, I have to accelerate fast sometimes, and other times I get the chance to drive more patiently. Traffic in Toronto is terrifically bad, but that's par for the course in a city of this size.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now