CVT stands for Continuously Variable Transmission. It is also known as shiftless transmission. It works like an automatic shifter used for seamless shifting in a range of gear ratios. To keep the CVT at its best performance and more durable, you need to use a CVT fluid for lubrication. You might be thinking that you can use any lubricant on your CVT but that is wrong. CVT fluids are more model-specific and are different from lubricants used in other automatic transmissions. With the many choices in the market today, we shall guide you on the best CVT transmission fluid to use.
Best CVT Transmission Fluid
A CVT transmission fluid lubricates the transmission to prevent it from dissipating heat. The lubricant prevents the system from corrosion, wear, and assists in maintaining the viscosity and low-temperature fluidity. Here are some of the best CVT transmission fluids you should consider:
01. Castrol CVT Transmission Fluid
Castrol Transmax CVT transmission fluid is formulated with premium full synthetic oil and smooth drive technology. This oil is mostly designed for use in continuously variable transmissions. Since it is made with superior technology, the oil ensures longer transmission life.
Castrol CVT transmission fluid feature enhanced friction durability which makes your driving experience smoother. It protects the transmission against wear thus increasing its durability. This Castrol Transmax CVT transmission fluid lubricant is made with enhanced high-temperature protection helping it to resist oxidation effectively.
This Castrol CVT fluid is suitable for most passenger vehicles with push belt transmissions. Its superior variator torque prevents the chains and belts in the transmission system from slippage. It works well with certain Ford, Hyundai, Mini Cooper, Mazda, Chrysler, Daihatsu, Subaru, Mitsubishi, Nissan, and Toyota vehicles.
- Provides enhanced friction durability
- Offers superior high-temperature protection
- Has excellent variator torque capacity
- Ideal for a wide range of passenger vehicles
- Made with Superior technology
02. Idemitsu CVT Type N (NS-2) Transmission Fluid
Idemitsu CVT transmission fluid is specifically designed to meet high needs for the modern continually variable transmissions. This fluid is made with advanced technology incorporating synthetic base stocks and propriety additive technology. This enables this transmission fluid to offer excellent performance in JATCO CVTs with specified NS-2 fluid.
Idemitsu CVT fluid provides you with superior deposit control. This helps in the protection of the metal surfaces from corrosion and rust. The fluid is made with advanced anti-wear fluid which provides offers maximum protection to the pulleys and belt. Its exact frictional properties offer the CVT with high performance in high torque and demanding applications.
The CVT transmission fluid is accurately engineered to offer excellent viscosity control. It has less viscosity loss because of sheering, excellent lubricant film strength during high temperatures, and outstanding fluidity in low temperatures. It is ideal for older Suzuki and Isuzu vehicles which use a fluid that meets the NS-2.
- Have exact frictional properties
- Offer superior deposit control
- Made with advanced anti-wear technology
- Provide excellent viscosity control
- Have outstanding anti-shudder performance
03. Valvoline CVT Transmission Fluid
Valvoline CVT fluid is designed for variable transmissions made with modern sophisticated technology. This lubricant is formulated with shear-stable viscosity modifiers, long-life friction modifiers, premium synthetic base stocks, and special anti-wear additives.
This fluid is made with anti-wear technology to assist in improving transmission durability. It provides anti-shudder performance, wet-clutch performance, and great metal-to-metal protection in the CVT. One outstanding thing about this fluid is that it is not as expensive as other OEM fluids and does not void a new car warranty.
Valvoline CVT fluid is formulated with the best CVT transmission additive technology and full synthetic base stocks which enables it to fulfill the high demands of continuously variable transmissions. It is suitable for use in chain and belt-driven continuously variable transmissions. It is however not recommendable to use in hybrid CVT units such as Ford and Toyota.
- Made with advanced additive technology
- Formulated with fully synthetic base oils
- Offer anti-shudder protection
- Provides anti-wear performance
- Excellent protection at high temperatures
- Ideal for chain and belt-driven CVTs
04. Nissan Genuine OEM CVT-2 Transmission Fluid
The best CVT transmission fluid for Nissan Altima is Nissan Genuine OEM CVT-2 fluid. This transmission fluid for continuously variable transmissions is made by the Japanese automaker. The fluid is skillfully formulated and proven. It is an ideal use for trucks, SUVs, and trucks.
This CVT fluid for Nissans is made with unique formulation additives and friction modifiers to ensure precise and stable operations. Its excellent low-temperature fluidity enables smooth shifting. Nissan Genuine CVT fluid is simple to use and maintains proper pressure even in hot temperatures.
Nissan Genuine OEM transmission fluid is formulated to prevent the transmission of your Nissan from whining, slipping, and shuddering. It is readily available on local dealerships or online stores such as Amazon. It is crucial to note that this CVT fluid is only made for Nissan vehicles and may not be suitable to use on other vehicles.
- Designed for Nissan vehicles
- Made with unique additives and friction modifiers
- Offer excellent low-temperature fluidity
- It is simple to use
- Maintains right pressure in hot weather
- Prevents CVT from whining, slipping, and shuddering
05. Genuine Honda CVT-1 Transmission Fluid
Genuine Honda CVT-1 is the Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) fluid that comes with your Honda. It is the best CVT fluid for Honda. Using a genuine OEM fluid ensures you of the effectiveness and quality of the brand and product without having to guess what will work for the vehicle. This CVT transmission fluid is a suitable fit for all Honda models equipped with continuously variable transmissions.
This Honda CVT fluid is designed with the newest additives and technology base oils. It has excellent fluidity in cold temperatures making it easy for starting. This Honda Transmission fluid provides longer drain intervals, fewer deposits, and increased oxidation resistance in the CVT. It increases the transmission’s service life by reducing wear.
- Suitable for Honda vehicles with CVT
- Made with modern technology base stock and additives
- Has excellent fluidity in low temperatures
- Offer Longer drain intervals
- Minimize deposits in CVT
- Provide long-lasting oxidation resistance
CVT vs. Automatic Pros and Cons
Transmissions are of three types. There are automatic, manual, and CVT transmissions. CVT is the most recent transmission type found in modern vehicles. Each of them has its cons and pros. CVT and automatic transmissions are somehow similar since they do not need any driver input to change the gears but they also have their differences. So what is the difference between CVT vs. Automatic transmissions?
Continuously Variable Transmissions (CVT)
CVT unlike automatic transmissions uses two cone-shaped pulleys. One of these pulleys is connected to the engine while the other one joins through the transmission. The width of the pulleys varies depending on the power inputs and that’s why it is called Continuously Variable transmissions. The pulleys work in tandem allowing CVT to accelerate in strength and smoothness.
As the speed of the engine changes, the CVT enables you to change the gear ratio. This means that the engine performance is always at the optimum. The number of gear ratios in CVT is infinite. The flexibility and seamlessness help CVT to pull optimum horsepower from small engines which gives the drivers quicker and smoother acceleration compared to automatic transmissions.
CVT produces fewer emissions and works more effectively due to its ability to control engine speed range. They are lighter in weight compared to automatic transmissions and they have better fuel efficiency.
- Increased fuel efficiency
- CVTs are smaller sized and lightweight
- Less complicated and easier to assemble
- Offers Velvety performance
- Not designed for power
- Needs high routine maintenance
These transmissions are comprised of a complex series of clutches, brakes, gears, and principal devices. Normal automatics have a finite number of gears known as speed. For instance, a 6-speed automatic means that the transmission is equipped with 6 gears. The gears are set to reach the car’s speed only when the driver goes on accelerating.
As the driver accelerates, the transmission shifts up through the gears starting from the first one. Modern automatic transmissions contain up to 11 gears. The ratio helps the vehicle delivering responsive performance or maximizing fuel efficiency depending on the application.
Unlike CVT vehicles that need special parts, transmission fluid, and oil, automatic transmissions are much easy to maintain. The automatic transmission does not need as regular maintenance and repairs as the CVT. When the repairs and maintenance are done they are not as expensive as those of CVT vehicles.
- More engaging driver experience
- Less costly to maintain
- The more connected sensation between the speed and engine
- The driver is in more control with downshifting and upshifting
- Less fuel-efficient compared to CVT
- Produce more emissions
CVT transmission Fluid Buying Tips
It is easy to get confused about the CVT fluid to buy with the many brands in the market. Transmission fluids are made for specific CVTs and vehicle models. It is therefore important to learn the things to check to buy the right CVT fluid for your vehicle. Here are some of the buying tips:
Type of CVT Fluid
The first thing to check when buying a CVT lubricant is its type. Transmission fluids are available either vehicle-specific or universal. Vehicle-specific transmissions are specifically made for specific vehicles. In this case, you need to be very sure that the fluid you are buying has been made for your vehicle model.
Universal CVT fluids can be used on a wide range of vehicles. These fluids tend to be less expensive compared to vehicle specific. As the CVT transmissions are increasing, the numbers of lubricants are increasing as well. It is crucial to contact the car manual and see the recommended CVT fluid to avoid voiding the vehicle’s warranty.
It is crucial to check what the CVT fluid you are purchasing is made of. The best CVT transmission fluid should protect the system from corrosion, rust, and wear and tear. It should also feature high steel-to-steel protection. The fluid should also have cold temperature properties which will enable it to function easily in cold weather. Other properties to look for are oxidation stability, good shear stability, and foam resistance.
The best CVT transmission fluid is the one that is compatible with your vehicle. Make sure that you get a transmission fluid that is compatible with your vehicle’s model, make, and year. Using the wrong CVT on your vehicle may result to also of damage which ends up being quite costly.
The price of the CVT fluid mainly depends on the container’s size or whether the fluid is universal or vehicle-specific. It is more advisable to spend some more money buying an OEM fluid which you are sure is compatible with the vehicle and it may save you in the long run. Do not compromise the quality of the fluid because of the price.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q: Can You Put Regular Transmission Fluid in a CVT Transmission?
You should never use regular transmission fluids in a CVT since it will lead to damage to the transmission. In case you have put the wrong fluid in the CTV, the most advisable thing to do is to have it drained. In case there was a little CVT fluid and you happened to add an ATF fluid then it will work for a little while but later cause permanent damage.
Therefore, if you realize that you have used the wrong fluid in the CVT, remove it as soon as possible and it will save you from replacing the much expensive transmission. Some of the warning signs that you have used the wrong fluid for CVT are clutch locking up, gears slipping, rough shifting, gears refuse to shift, stalling after changing gears, and strange engine sounds.
Q: What Is the Purpose of CVT Fluid?
CVT fluid works as a lubricant for CVT transmission. It is made with friction modifiers which enables the belts in the transmission to grip on the pulleys. It offers engineered anti-shudder performance leading to a smooth transfer of power. The fluid also provides anti-wear and anti-oxidation protection for sophisticated CVT transmission.
Q: Does CVT Transmission Fluid Need to be changed?
Yes, the CVT fluids need to be inspected and change once in a while. It is advisable to read the vehicle manual to see after how long your vehicle manufacturer advises you to change the CVT fluid. Changing the CVT fluids as recommended offers you optimal vehicle performance and also increases the life of the transmission. CVT fluids produce more fiction since it runs a pulley system that runs by belts. The fiction is therefore needed to prevent the belts from slipping from the pulley.
Q: Is CVT Fluid the Same as Transmission Fluid?
No, CVT fluid is not the same as transmission fluid. Transmission fluids are designed to be used on automatic transmissions while CVT is specifically formulated to be used in CVT transmissions. Transmission fluids should never be used on CVT transmissions and vice versa is true.
Q: How Often Should CVT Transmission Fluid Be Changed?
How often you should change CVT fluid depends on the type you are using and how often you use your vehicle. Most of the CVT fluids made by renowned automakers last up to 5 years which is around 100,000 miles. However, the CVT transmission fluid change period will also vary with the build quality and owner’s maintenance.
The best CVT transmission fluid helps in dissipating heat in the transmission. On top of this, the fluid protects the surfaces from wear and corrosion and also provides consistent belt friction. A good CVT fluid should be able to maintain low-temperature fluidity and viscosity. Make sure you choose a transmission fluid that is compatible with your vehicle model. The above-discussed CVT fluids are some of the best from reputable companies and they will not disappoint you.