Suzuki's continuously variable transmissions (CVT) are running hot and entering temperature protection control, a fail-safe mode that slows the vehicle's speed and ability to accelerate.
CVTs are designed to take the performance and efficiency of a manual transmission, and blend it with the convenience of an automatic. It sounds nice, but it’s not without its own quirks and problems.
Temperature Protection Slowdown Recall
One of the major issues with Suzuki’s CVT is how it enters temperature protection control due to overheating. In protection mode the vehicle’s speed and ability to accelerate are both greatly reduced.
Resistors are soldered onto lead frames in the CVT module and then mounted on internal boards. The soldering helps protect the resistors from heat stress. CVT manufacturer JATCO left some resistors unsoldered, leading to a recall of 5,800 vehicles in 2018.
The recalled vehicles include the 2013 Kizashi and SX4.
Module exposure to heat
When the resistors are left unprotected, stress cracks can form. From there a solenoid that controls the hydraulic pressure of the transmission fluid has been known to increase the pressure, increasing the transmission fluid’s temperature and triggering the temperature protection control. From CarComplaints.com:
“Suzuki blames the CVT problem on the manufacturer that stored components that were exposed to humidity, causing formation of an oxide film containing moisture. Formation of this film on the lead frames in soldering locations caused the resistors to have unsoldered areas.”
The JATCO Connection
JATCO also produces CVTs for Nissan, and let’s just say they aren’t making any fans over there. So it’s not surprising to hear that some Suzuki owners are experiencing similar issues to their Nissan counterparts.
- Shuddering acceleration particularly accelerating at low speeds.
- It runs too hot and triggers fail-safe modes (yep, this checks out)
- Slow response from the time you press the accelerator pedal to the time the CVT actually responds
- Incredibly loud whine that is all too common amongst all CVTs.
There are some benefits to a CVT, however, and Suzuki runs through them in this video: