Monday, July 4, 2016

Know How To Change Your CVT Belt

A typical CVT from a Can Am (Primary Clutch on left, Secondary on right)
In my younger years riding sport quads, we never brought tools with us. And to be honest, we rarely had break downs. Those machines were simple, less moving parts and less electronics. Although easier to ride, modern ATV's are much more complicated and the chances of breakdowns have increased.

You need to be prepared! For a list of tools and supplies to bring along with you are your rides check out our article "What's in your bag?"

One of the things that has made modern ATV's easier to ride is an automatic transmission called a CVT (Constant Variable Transmission). First used in snowmobiles as far back as the 1950's, CVTs are now the most popular transmission choice for ATV manufacturers. Even the automobile industry has seen the advantages of the CVT and many current models have them.

In a CVT you have one large belt, primarily composed of rubber which connects the engine (the primary) to the wheels (the secondary). It is a much simpler set up than a geared transmission and rather than just 5 or 6 forward gears, there are an infinite number of gears as the belt rides up and down the sheaves.  

This is a great video for understanding how a CVT works

There are many positive attributes to a CVT but one big negative is that a CVT belt will wear and eventually break as compared to a geared transmission. Any ATV with a CVT is prone to a belt failure over time, but even more so if the ATV has been modified with bigger tires. A CVT belt failure will result in a complete disconnect from the engine to the wheels and leave the ATV unable to move.

  This video is what happened to me when my belt broke
was at the Bruno Rally in 2015

The upside of a belt replacement is that it is a relatively easy part to replace yourself, even on the side of a trail. If you know what you are doing.


The key is to learn how to do it when you are under ideal conditions like in your garage when you have time, so that you know how when the conditions are not ideal like on the trail while all your buddies are waiting for you.

Make inspecting your CVT belt a part of your regular maintenance on your ATV.

The procedure to change a belt isn't much harder than it is to inspect it. If you learn how to remove the various body parts blocking the cover and remove it, you are 90% there.

Search on YouTube for how to change the belt on your specific ATV, I can almost guarantee you will find one. 

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