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Old 02-11-2013, 03:57 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: Vancouver, Wash.
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Default Jerky Insight

We bought our '10 Insight in April 2010. A month later we drove up to Mt. St. Helens. When we reached the visitor center after a climb of about 2000 feet, I noticed a heavy smell of burned clutch. I checked around and found nothing wrong and the car drove just fine. When I had a chance I dropped the car off at the dealer to have them check it out. They could find nothing wrong and sent us on our way. A couple months later I noticed the car jerked while slowly moving away from a stop. They agin found nothing wrong. I took it back to the dealer several more times with the same problem and was told there is nothing wrong. The tech explained that the drive system is designed similar to a motor scooter's centrifigal clutch and I needed to get used to the CVT transmision. Now several years and 17000 miles later, it jerks more frequently and harder below 5 mph. Other than the jerking, the car still drives great and gets about 42 mpg around town. Has anyone else experienced this?
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Old 02-11-2013, 04:01 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Change CVT Fluid

Have you (or the dealer) ever changed the CVT fluid? If not, try starting with that. Also, ask the dealer to apply the three available software updates for the 2010. One of those updates is for the CVT transmission. I had mine updated last week and the jerkiness is gone.
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Old 02-11-2013, 08:52 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Welcome aboard.

The smell under a load is partly the crap burning off the exhaust and the typical smell of the CAT itself. We have like 3 CATS on these cars.

The CVT fluid should be changed with the engine oil. Its 3 qts and easy to do. Unlike the prius which has an ECVT or digital CVT, we have just an analog CVT, like the scooter setup, so its prone to some "feed back".
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Old 03-05-2013, 08:00 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Location: Metro DC Area
Posts: 236

While I think it is likely a good idea to change the tranny fluid every 30-50K, I very much doubt that changing it every 9K miles or so with the oil (assuming synthetic with the computer-suggested 9K intervals) is an overkill, waste, and unnecessary pollution... Best is to do oil analysis and base oil changes on that, but who does that

I changed my tranny fluid at about 25K miles or so and I don't think it would have hurt had I waited another 25K... Same on my Prius, where the tranny oil was just fine looking at 27K miles and my Camty's auto oil - looked nice at 50K miles...

I would agree about the smell likely being due to burning off residue, but if you did get the jerky behavior after that climb, there might indeed be some connection... On my '11 Insight the dealer said there is no software update available, yet mine has the annoying jerkiness. Perhaps I can persuade them to hook it up to a computer when they check what's that rumbling noise in my gas tank when full...
2011 Honda Insight Base
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Old 03-05-2013, 09:44 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: West Virginia
Posts: 786

I've changed my CVT fluid twice so far, once at 30k and 60k.

It was definitely a lot darker at 60k, it's to the point where I'll have to change it every other oil change to keep the fluid looking half decent.

wheelsport: If you haven't had your software updated in a while (or ever) go to your dealer and have the latest CVT update installed. It's pretty awesome.
1989 Accord Coupe, 260k+ miles & going.
2011 Insight EX, 180k miles, RIP.
2012 Lexus CT200h, 80k+ miles & going.
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