Over the past few years, CVT transmissions have become more popular. The CVT has a completely unique design, and each manufacturer has built in a set of inherent problems. Producing a rebuild or remanufactured CVT transmission is no more difficult than a typical automatic unit, and in many cases is easier. Here is a video describing CVT transmission operation. These jobs are usually more expensive than a typical repair or replacement. Prices at the dealership are often 50% to 75% higher than for a conventional automatic transmission. The high cost associated with producing a rebuilt CVT is due to the cost of the parts, which is controlled by the dealer. CVT prices could be attributed to the relatively low volume of these transmissions, or could be due to the lack of after-market parts availability.
Although CVT technology is over 100 years old, it has only recently been introduced into the mainstream automotive domain. A few years ago, CVT parts were not readily available, so the only options were to get a rebuilt unit from the car dealership, or install a used transmission. Early on, car makers did not sell the internal parts necessary to provide rebuilt Nissan Murano and Toyota Prius transmissions. Now, internal parts are available for most CVT transmissions, including the Ford Freestyle and the Honda Civic. Many of today's models have design problems, which have to be corrected to provide long term benefit for the customer. When CVT transmissions began having problems and failures, there was no technical advice or bulletins available to service repair shops. The past few years have provided the industry with the data and expertise to permanently correct CVT transmission problems. ATRA and ATSG are now considered authorities, with technical bulletins for solving these problems.