CVT’s, short for Continuously Variable Transmission, have become increasingly popular in newer, smaller capacity vehicles. One of the main advantages of a CVT box is its ability to continuously change its gear ratio – which means that no matter what the engine speed may be, your car is always performing at peak efficiency. This equates to a far better fuel consumption, especially in urban driving conditions.


I have previously written an article which compares the pros and cons of driving a CVT transmission. Those interested, can read it here . Perhaps the biggest drawback we found was the cost of replacing a CVT.  CVT units do not have the lifespan of a typical automatic box, and when they fail, 9 times out of 10 they must be replaced. The reason for this is because parts are very expensive, can be difficult if not impossible to locate, and generally see so much damage they are not even worth attempting to rebuild.


The reason I mention this is to stress, should you own or drive a CVT, the importance of regular maintenance, which means inspecting and replacing the CVT oil.  CVT fluid will wear out over time and requires changing much sooner than manual or automatic transmission oil. CVT fluid needs to be in an acceptable condition in order to adequately protect against metal-to-metal contact, and to provide the correct frictional properties.  Once the CVT fluid has broken down, poor performance and accelerated wear can start.


CVT Fluid Change Intervals

Most vehicle manufacturers recommend changing your CVT Transmission Fluid between 50,000kms and 90,000kms, and a quick look at your service book will confirm the specific intervals delineated by your manufacturer. Personally, changing the fluid a bit earlier then recommended is prudent and will help provide consistent operation and improved transmission longevity. If you intend to keep your car for a long time, it’s a good idea to schedule regular CVT fluid changes.


Severe Service

Certain vehicles are used in conditions that could be defined as “severe service”. In those cases, the CVT fluid should be regularly inspected, and may need replacing at half of the interval suggested by the car manufacturer. Regular operation in the conditions shown below would be defined severe service.

✓  Steep climbing

✓  Operating in heavy mud or snow

✓  Off-road use

✓  Carrying heavy loads

✓  Towing

✓  Operating in a very hot climate


CVT fluid is bombarded by extreme heat and shearing forces during its service life. Over time, the viscosity breaks down, the frictional properties decline, and deposits may develop. New CVT transmission fluid lubricates, cools and cleans internal components of the transmission. By replacing your CVT fluid, you

✓  Remove old, worn-out fluid from the transmission system.

✓  Extend the transmission life by providing resistance to oxidation, sludge formation and varnish.

✓  Reduce the risk of premature transmission failure, and

✓  Promote smooth shifting.


What CVT Fluid Should You Use?

The best fluid to use is a fully synthetic CVT fluid, delivering steel to steel optimized friction, torque transfer capacity and component durability for today’s automatic transmissions over their standard service life.  At Start My Car, we recommend the Petronas Tutela Multi CVT 700.


The Tutela Multi CVT enhances your vehicle availability while significantly reducing your operating costs through:


Fuel Economy performance by optimized transmission efficiency:

✓   A lower viscosity fluid to help reduce operational energy losses.


Extended Transmission Life driven by:

✓  Exceptional thermal and oxidation stability under high temperature, providing viscosity stability and preventing formation of deposits and sludge to prolong oil life

✓  Enhanced shear stability for a constant film strength and effective lubrication to protect all moving parts

✓  Excellent anti-wear, gear and bearing protection to extend components life o Extended transmission fluid life and prevention against fluid breakdown at higher operating temperatures for a total protection of the transmission

✓  Seal compatibility for better leakage prevention

✓  Outstanding control valve cleanliness to keep optimal operating conditions.


Provides outstanding Driving Experience through:

✓  Balanced torque capacity for an efficient power transfer –

✓  Extended friction durability for superior anti-shudder performance and enhanced driving comfort

✓  Exceptional low temperature viscosity for improved lubrication during start-up and shifting comfort in cold conditions

✓  Significantly reduced transmission noise


Manufacturer Approvals

Of course, you should check your manufacturer recommendations to see what fluid is specified. The Petronas Tutela meets or exceeds the following specifications, to name but a few:

✓  Audi Multitronic, Audi/VW TL 521 16 (G 052 516), Audi/VW TL 521 80 (G 052 180)

✓  BMW Mini Cooper EZL 799 / EZL 799A / ZF CVT V1 / 83 22 0 136 376/ 83 22 0 429 154

✓  Ford WSD-M2C-199A

✓  GM/Saturn DEX-CVT, GM CVT

✓  Honda HMMF (without starting clutch), HCF2, Z-1 (CVT model, without starting clutch) CVT

✓  Hyundai/Kia CVT-1, SP III (CVT model)

✓  Mazda JWS 3320

✓  Mitsubishi CVTF-J1 (MMC Diaqueen CVT Fluid J1), CVTF-J4 and -J4+ (MMC Diaqueen CVT Fluid J4 and J4+), (Diaqueen) SP-III (CVT model only), CVTF ECO J4

✓  Nissan KTF-1, Nissan NS-1, NS-2 and NS-3

✓  Renault Matic CVT

✓  Subaru iCVT, iCVT F and FG, ECVT, Lineartronic chain CVT and CVT II Fluid (K0425Y0710), Lineartronic High Torque (HT) CVT Fluid (K0421Y0700), Subaru NS-2

✓  Suzuki CVTF TC, CVTF 3320, CVTF 4401, Suzuki NS-2, CVT Green 1, CVT Green 2, CVT Green 1V

✓  Toyota CVTF TC, CVTF FE, Toyota Hybrid • Volvo CVT 4959

✓  Volkswagen (see Audi)