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Yaris 1.33 CVT smell!

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Apologies if this seems to have been done to death on here, I have done several searches and just got a few clues 😉

My young lodger has the car in the title, a "12" registered one and yesterday she messaged me about a burning smell as she climbed a local hill. I didn't know that the car had a CVT, just assumed it was a conventional auto! So this morning I went to check the ATF level but can't find any way to do this, but as Toyota sell CVT fluid it must be possible to check/top up the fluid?

Anyone able to throw any light on this?

To fill in a few more details, she has just changed her job, her previous employment was lots of stop start motoring in Exeter, drive ten minutes, park, work for half an hour, repeat all day. While the new job involves driving 20 miles, work all day them drive home. The route is dual carriageway, M5, dual carriageway and includes the BIG climb of Haldon Hill (800ft), this is where she is getting the smell.

I am quite prepared to believe that the smell is just things getting hot that haven't been hot for a while, but she is also telling me that the gearbox does "odd" things! Though that could just be a CVT characteristic, her previous mount was a conventional geared auto.

Thanks in advance, Goffy.


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I don’t think it will be the cvt that is smelling, since it contains the lubricant and you would expect it to leak and then you would get the smell.

I take it you haven’t smelled anything, that suggests a problem.

Sadly without being in the car, while it is driven up the same, it’s difficult to guess where the smell is coming from. It is possible that the smell is nothing to do with the car.

Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

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I have had the same for the past four years. Every time I travel up and over the Pennines on the M62 and give the engine a bit of welly. Running hotter than normal and burning off dust etc.

C.V.T does some getting used too, especially after a traditional auto. 


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Hello again and many thanks to all who have looked at the question and given it some consideration :-)

Particular thanks to Anthony and Bemused for their informative replies!

Unfortunately it is all irrelevant now, young Katie wrote her car off against the central armco of the M5 near Bristol yesterday afternoon, having aquaplaned at speed!

She is largely OK, battered and bruised, but not broken.

Thanks again everyone.


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