What Does A Volvo CVT Transmission Mean?

You must have heard car dealers use the acronym CVT several times. Mechanics and car enthusiasts also use the acronym a lot. There’s nothing complex about the acronym. It simply refers to Continuously Variable Transmission which is a special type of automatic transmission. It can seamlessly change through a continuous range of different gear ratios, which explains why CVT Volvo models have been dubbed as ‘efficient’. The system can also be referred to as shiftless transmission, pulley transmission or stepless transmission. Read on to learn more.

The Concept

The technology behind CVT is simple, clever and revolutionary mostly because it features fewer moving parts compared to other transmission systems. That’s not all though. CVT also changes the gear ratio seamlessly without any form of interruption. As a matter of fact, you can change gears in a CVT transmission Volvo without feeling anything. The only thing you will note is perhaps change in speed. This goes on a long way to improve fuel economy.

CVT Vs Automatic Transmission

This is where things get complicated because as already hinted, CVT is actually a type of automatic transmission. Key differences only emerge when you look at how these two systems work. To better understand what sets these two systems apart, one must first understand how transmissions work in general. In nearly all modern automatic transmission vehicles, the driver does not have to perform any actin so as to shift gears. It is in simple words, the exact opposite of what happens in manual cars.  As such, automatic transmission vehicles are extremely easy to drive. They are also easy to maintain as they experience less wear and tear.

You operate a Volvo CVT car pretty much the same way you operate a Volvo model with a normal automatic transmission. The actual inner works are different though. CVT systems rely heavily on a belt and pulley system. So instead of having gears, it has two pulleys connected by a strong belt.  The engine simply turns one pulley and the other pulley gets connected to the rest of the transmission which goes on to power the wheels.


CVT systems allow the car engine to run at the most efficient and reliable revolutions per minute. It doesn’t matter the speed. Note that because CVT can easily vary the hear ratio infinitely as speed changes, it can keep your Volvo engine at peak power. You will most likely love it if you have to drive for miles at a high speed.  There is also the fact that CVT produces fewer emissions mainly because of its ability to efficiently control the engine’s speed range.  The ride is as you would expect, smooth compared to the usual automatic and manual systems combined.

CVT Maintenance

CVTs use a hydraulic system to manage the intense and high pressure placed on the pulleys. This leaves you with no choice but to ensure the hydraulic fluid is changed regularly. Remember that though the CVT maintenance schedule tends to extend beyond 100,000 miles, experts recommend fluid changes after every 15,000 to 20,000 miles.