How to Inspect a CVT Clutch

A CVT (continuously variable transmission) system is popular among modern ATVs and UTVs. It uses a belt drive and two pulleys to change the gear ratio on a unit by squeezing a belt that rides up and down a set of sheaves.

Checking the sheaves, internal components and belt every now and then helps keep a CVT clutch unit working as it should. The specifics vary among manufacturers, but the basic components of these systems are the same.

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Signs of a Worn CVT Clutch

  • Unit lurches when you apply throttle
  • Needs excessing RPMs to trigger engagement
  • Squealing from inside clutch compartment

Watch the video above and follow the steps below to learn how to inspect a CVT clutch. 

How to inspect a CVT clutch

Inspecting a CVT Clutch

Step 1. Remove the cover, and use your fingertips to feel along the inside of the sheaves on the drive and driven clutch. 

CVT clutch type inspection

When we removed the drive and driven clutch, we could see and feel several grooves near the inside of the drive clutch sheaves. These grooves can prevent free movement of the drive belt, causing jerky acceleration. Deep grooves can start to shred the belt and scatter debris through the entire clutch system.

Step 2. Check the pivot points both for the weights (top photo) and main carriers (bottom photo). You’re looking for side-to-side play in the pivot points that indicates wear. 

CVT clutch inspection weights

CVT clutch inspection carriers

Step 3. Check for wear on the buttons on either side of the carriers. If they’re worn away and the carrier is metal on metal inside the clutch body, they’ll need to be replaced. 

CVT clutch inspection

Step 4. Run your hand along the sheaves to feel for grooves that could damage the belt.

CVT clutch inspection sheaves

Step 5. Inspect the condition of the rollers on one side and the helix (or track) on the other. These rollers ride along the helix to move the sheaves together or apart, which effectively changes the gear ratio.

CVT clutch inspection helix rollers

Step 6. Inspect the sides of the belt for wear. Cupping (worn areas) can mean that one side of the clutch is turning and driving the belt, and the other isn’t. This tends to wear the belt in one place. 

CVT clutch inspection drive belt

CVT clutch inspection belt check

A CVT clutch system is just one of several different types of clutches. Watch the video below to learn more about different clutch types and how they work. 



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