Nissan Transmission Problem: The Common Problems with Nissan CVT Gearbox Issues

Posted on

Nissan Transmission Problem: Nissan has used continuously variable transmissions (CVT) in most of its vehicles since the early 2000s. CVTs are great because they provide smooth, continuous power transitions to improve fuel economy.

However, Nissan CVTs are also known to fail early on often, which is why there are so many lawsuits against them. Transmissions are notorious for vibrating, making strange noises, overheating and forcing the vehicle into “limp” mode.

CVT technology innovation is intended to create a smoother and more fuel-efficient experience than traditional automatic transmissions. A CVT allows the engine to operate at the most efficient rpm by eliminating gears.

Although the CVT is a good concept, it often runs into problems when practiced. This is especially true for Nissan, which uses CVT gearboxes across its range. Nissan CVT Gearbox Problems compact. This transmission suffered from countless issues and was so poorly designed that a class action lawsuit was filed against Nissan.

As a result, many people think that Nissan’s CVT is the worst transmission ever made.

Essential Points in Nissan Transmission Problems

  • Nissan’s CVT uses a steel belt and a pair of adjustable pulleys; this is very different from a standard automatic transmission, which uses a planetary gear set.
  • Damaged Nissan CVTs are the target of many lawsuits, even though the CVT is still new.
  • Nissan CVTs can experience problems such as overheating, abnormal noises, and alarming vibrations.

What is CVT

A continuously variable transmission (CVT) is a type of transmission widely used in Nissan vehicles. Although many people consider CVTs automatic because the driver doesn’t need to change gears, they are different because they don’t operate using traditional drive gears. As the name suggests, a CVT is a belt-driven transmission with a constant or continuous gear ratio, which results in efficiency and a smoother ride.

CVTs have become popular, with most car manufacturers promoting their transmission versions. Nissan, for example, has released several models that use CVT, including the Altima, Maxima, Rogue Sport, Kicks, Murano, Pathfinder, and many more.

The CVT transmission model in Nissan is connected to a hydraulic pump that controls the movement of transmission fluid. As the driver accelerates, the hydraulic pump changes the position of the pulley to provide the optimal gear ratio for the vehicle’s speed and load. The transmission control module also considers factors such as engine speed, throttle position and vehicle movement to adjust the gear ratio as needed.

Nissan’s CVT is also equipped with a torque converter, which helps the engine maintain smooth and consistent power output even when the vehicle is stationary. The torque converter uses a fluid coupling when sending power to the transmission from the engine, resulting in a smooth transition between the two.

As you can imagine, this transmission type is a popular choice. In addition to a smoother ride, the advantages of a CVT include improved fuel efficiency, better torque and improved power response. Unfortunately, despite its many benefits, CVT certainly also has its weaknesses.

Nissan CVT Problem

How CVT Works

A CVT is an automatic transmission that uses belts and pulleys to create unlimited gear ratios. Because it can adjust gear ratios quickly, the engine can operate in the most efficient range, regardless of how fast the vehicle moves.

One pulley receives power directly from the engine, while the other sends power to the wheels. Like traditional automatic transmissions, CVTs use a torque converter between the engine and transmission and gear shifters to engage and engage/lock the transmission at specific ratios.

Hydraulic pressure moves the pulley, allowing it to shift between overdrive and underdrive positions and in between.

How Long Does a Nissan CVT Transmission Last?

Of course, this can vary depending on several factors, such as driving habits, maintenance history, and environmental conditions. However, a maintained Nissan transmission lasts 100,000 miles or more.

However, it is essential to note that following the manufacturer’s recommended maintenance schedule is critical, especially when checking the transmission. Additionally, driving carefully, avoiding excessive speeds, and overloading can help extend the life of the transmission.

What year did Nissan have transmission problems?

Nissan has experienced various transmission problems over the years with its different models. Some known transmission problems include the 2004-2009 Nissan Murano, 2004-2006 Nissan Maxima, and 2005-2007 Nissan Pathfinder.

Is Nissan CVT Transmission Reliable?

It is essential to understand that Nissan authorities addressed this issue quickly by extending the warranty and even issuing a recall in some cases. More importantly, companies have improved CVT technology over the years, and newer models are generally reported to have fewer problems.

However, consider buying a Nissan car with a constantly variable transmission. In that case, it’s a good idea to do a test drive, paying attention to how the transmission feels when accelerating and shifting gears.

What Differentiates a Nissan CVT Transmission from a Traditional Automatic?

All internal combustion-powered cars require a transmission to manipulate the rotational forces from the engine and transfer those forces to the drive wheels. Unlike traditional automatic transmissions, which rely on a planetary gearset, Nissan’s CVT uses a steel belt and a set of adjustable pulleys.

Each pulley changes its groove width to vary the transmission “gear” ratio. The secondary pulley rotates a final drive gear set connected to the axle shaft connected to the drive wheel.

Aside from the belt and pulley, Nissan’s CVT is similar to a traditional automatic transmission in many ways. For example, like a regular automatic, this unit has a torque converter that functions as a fluid liaison between the engine and transmission. There is also a planetary gear set that allows the driver to switch between forward and reverse.

For more details, watch the video in the Video Discovery section at the end of this article.

Nissan Transmission Problem

Here, Our Team presents a detailed review of the Nissan Transmission Problem. To find out more about general and specific problems with CVTs. Because there are several case studies present, such as on the forum

“Our transmission failed on our 2016 Rogue (87,000km/55,000 miles). We like the vehicle but don’t think we’ll buy another one if the problem isn’t fixed.”

“One of the users with the username Working_Repair_8757 owns a 2016 Nissan Rogue. After the 4th year with this vehicle, I was sent a letter regarding an extended CVT transmission warranty, seven years/8000 miles, whichever comes first. I was highly recommended at 50,000 to get a transmission flush. I did and spent almost 200 on it. At 76212, which is not entirely accurate, but above 76000, the transmission slipped so badly that on the way to have it checked by Nissan, I had to park it in a nearby garage because of the letter sent to me about the CVT transmission. I got a diagnostic test, and the transmission failed. This is my second Nissan to have this problem. The first was a 2006 Pathfinder. I contacted Consumer Affairs, had a few conversations, and told them about my 2016 Rogue, and they said the warranty had expired because it was produced 09/2015. Something that should have been mentioned in my original documents at purchase. So, I am out of pocket 4289.93. Be careful with the Nissan Rogue, Sentra, and Murando. They are destined to fail. Of course, I needed help to get good customer service from Nissan.”

Identifying Nissan CVT Problems

Nissan Transmission Problem: Your Nissan vehicle may fail if Nissan or its dealer cannot repair the defective part within a “reasonable” number of attempts. Common Nissan CVT transmission problems include:

  1. Delayed Acceleration
  2. Lurching and Jerking
  3. Transmission Slipping
  4. Shaking and Shuddering
  5. Vehicle Hesitation or Stalling
  6. Burning Smells
  7. Coolant/Fluid Leaks
  8. Transmission Overheating
  9. Engine Revving
  10. Strange Shifting Noises
  11. Premature Transmission Failure

When power or acceleration problems occur in places such as bus stops, freeways, intersections and highways, drivers face a greater risk of being rear-ended or causing an accident.

These problems may require a Nissan transmission recall and should be taken seriously.

The type of vehicle identified is a Nissan CVT Problem

Nissan Transmission Problem: Despite having settled several class action lawsuits, Nissan continues to equip these vehicles with CVT transmissions:

  • 2022–2024 Nissan Sentra
  • 2019–2024 Nissan Altima
  • 2017–2029 Nissan Maxima
  • 2017–2024 Nissan Murano
  • 2019–2021 Nissan Pathfinder
  • 2017 Nissan Quest
  • 2019–2024 Nissan Rogue
  • 2019–2014 Nissan Versa

If you own one of the Nissan vehicles above and are experiencing transmission problems that seem beyond repair, your vehicle may be considered defective.

Nissan CVT transmission problems so far may also entitle you to legal compensation or a new vehicle.

Common Nissan CVT Transmission Problems: Nissan CVT Problems

Nissan Transmission Problem: Nissan’s CVT transmission can experience various problems. However, the most common issues are overheating, abnormal sounds and the infamous “vibration.” Whenever there is a transmission problem, you will notice it. Whether it’s a new smell, sound, or a change in how your car drives, it’s usually easy to tell if something is wrong.

Although Nissan CVTs are designed to provide smooth and efficient performance, some problems have been reported. Here are some of the most common Nissan CVT transmission problems that you should be aware of:

  1. Shuddering
    Some Nissan owners have reported experiencing shaking or strange car vibrations.
    If this happens, it means the car is experiencing abnormal movement or shaking while driving. This can be felt through the steering wheel, seats, pedals, or other car parts. The problem is most noticeable at low speeds or starting from a stop.
  2. Fluid Leaks
    There are reports that the Nissan CVT has a transmission fluid leak. Transmission fluid is a vital transmission system component, as it lubricates moving parts and helps regulate temperature. If it leaks, it can cause various transmission problems, including overheating, slipping gears, and damaging the entire system.
  3. Overheating
    In some cases, CVTs are known to overheat. A too-hot CVT can damage the transmission fluid inside, losing its ability to lubricate effectively and excellent transmission components. This can cause accelerated wear, damage to internal components, and transmission failure.
    Moreover, the heat produced by a too hot CVT can damage seals and gaskets or even melt them. This can cause fluid leaks, which can further damage the transmission system.
  4. Whining Noise
    This is another common Nissan transmission problem. Car owners report that the whining Noise is especially noticeable when accelerating or decelerating.
    This could indicate transmission damage, as the Noise is usually caused by wear on bearings or gears in the system.
  5. Delayed Engagement
    Some Nissan CVT transmission systems are said to exhibit this when shifting from park to drive or reverse. This can make it challenging to drive the vehicle smoothly. Ideally, the transmission should engage the selected gear quickly so the car can move safely.
  6. Loss of Power
    Transmission failure can be hazardous, especially for drivers entering or passing on significant highways. Of course, this is one of the Nissan transmission problems that can have severe consequences for the car owner, especially when on the road.

Nissan CVT problems have several symptoms, which will be highlighted below:

Nissan Transmission Problem Shudders

Nissan Transmission Problem: When the belt and pulleys inside a CVT start to wear out—a common problem with Nissan transmissions—the belt may slip, causing a “vibrating” sensation. In its technical service bulletin (TSB), Nissan describes the phenomenon as “single or multiple shocks, vibrations, impacts or vibrations.”

Nissan issued a software update for the transmission control module (TCM) to address these concerns. This update lets the module recognize vibrations and set the appropriate diagnostic trouble code (DTC) in its memory.

Two judder codes can be set: P17F0 and P17F1. Nissan has issued a TSB telling dealer technicians how to approach both codes when there is vibration. According to the docs:

  • P17F0: The technician must replace the CVT assembly.
  • P17F1: A technician should check the CVT belt for wear to determine whether the valve body or entire transmission needs to be replaced.

Nissan CVT Gearbox Problems

Abnormal Grinding or Whining Noises

Nissan Transmission Problem: Another frequently reported problem with Nissan CVT gearboxes is a whining or rattling sound while driving, which can change depending on how fast you are driving. Typically, these noises are caused by worn bearings, but problems with the CVT belt can also cause them.

Overheating Results in “Limp” Mode

Nissan Transmission Problem: Nissan CVTs are known to overheat, especially after traveling at high speed on the highway for a long time or when climbing steep inclines. When the transmission overheats, the vehicle often goes into a fail-safe or “limp” mode, resulting in a loss of power. Of course, this is a potentially dangerous scenario and could harm the occupants.

The belt and pulley system inside the transmission generated more heat than Nissan engineers anticipated, and the cooling system couldn’t keep up.

To solve the overheating problem, Nissan released a TSB that recommended installing an external transmission cooler. Dealership technicians often diagnose an overheating condition using a scan tool to look at the CVT fluid temperature “calculation” recorded by the TCM.

However, adding an external cooler only sometimes solves the overheating problem. In many cases, the entire CVT assembly must be replaced to correct the problem.

Overheating, Burning Smell, and Limp Mode

Nissan Transmission Problem: Overheating is The main problem with Nissan CVTs. This problem usually occurs when traveling long distances at highway speeds or putting the transmission under a lot of load, such as when climbing a steep hill.

An overheated transmission can create a burning smell while you drive. The bigger problem is that high transmission temperatures put the vehicle into limp mode. The cooling system on a CVT cannot withstand the heat generated by the belt and pulley.

Nissan offers a more astounding external transmission upgrade as a solution, but that doesn’t always help. The entire unit may need to be replaced.

Nissan Response

Nissan admits that several of its vehicles with CVT technology have experienced several problems. In response to these concerns, the company has extended the warranty on CVT-equipped vehicle models. For example, the powertrain warranty on 2003-2010 Nissan cars has been extended to 10 years or 120,000 miles, whichever comes first. Additionally, Nissan has issued several technical service bulletins (TSBs) to dealers to guide them in diagnosing and repairing Nissan transmission problems.

Nissan has also introduced several improvements to its CVT technology over the years. For example, a torque converter on some models has been retrofitted to improve low-speed acceleration, and the shift programming feature has been updated to reduce engine noise and improve fuel economy.

Has Nissan Extended its CVT Transmission Warranty?

In 2010, after several class action lawsuits and countless customer complaints—Nissan agreed to extend the warranty on CVTs found on specific models made between 2003 and 2010. The extended warranty covers the unit for up to 10 years/120,000 miles. Of course, all of these transmissions are now out of warranty.

A few years later, Nissan extended the warranty on certain vehicles between 2012 and 2017 from 60 months/60,000 miles to 84 months/84,000 miles.

Numerous class action lawsuits are underway regarding Nissan CVT transmissions that are no longer under warranty. The owner hopes to receive compensation through this process.

What can be done

If you suspect your Nissan CVT transmission is faulty, be sure to follow these steps:

  1. Take your vehicle to the dealer for repair. Report your concerns to the technician.
  2. Make sure the concerns you report (no matter how small) are noted in the correction order.
  3. Keep a copy of your repair order. If you lose it, contact the dealer for a copy of the repair order and receipt.
  4. Gather other documents, such as vehicle warranty information.
  5. Contact and consult with a lawyer if necessary.

Key Takeaways

Nissan’s CVT is designed to provide smooth, efficient performance and fuel savings compared to traditional automatic transmissions. However, like any transmission system, a CVT requires regular maintenance to ensure reliable operation over the long term. Therefore, it is a good idea always to service your vehicle regularly and address potential problems immediately to prevent further damage.

If you experience Nissan transmission problems, it is recommended that you take it to a trusted Nissan auto repair center for diagnosis and possible repair under warranty or recall. In this regard, it is essential to note that some transmission problems can be effectively resolved through proper maintenance and timely repairs.


We are sure the Nissan authorities will continue providing exemplary service by presenting their attractive vehicle models and extended warranties. This is anticipated to cause Nissan Transmission and CVT Gearbox Problems to become thinner yearly. Lastly, if your vehicle experiences something similar, we recommend contacting and consulting with a Nissan dealer immediately for support.

We’ll be back soon with more information on the Nissan Car Guide, so bookmark our website to stay updated.

People also ask: Nissan Transmission Problem

Q: What years did Nissan have transmission problems?

A: The difficulties were generally reported between 2012/2013 and 2018. There were some issues in 2003 when Nissan started employing this transmission and in the 2007-2012 CVT generation. Specific models include the Murano, Sentra, Altima, Rogue, Versa, and Versa Note.

Q: Do Nissans still have transmission problems?

A: A recent class action settlement was struck between Nissan North America and consumers who own certain Nissan cars equipped with defective continuously variable gearboxes (CVT).

Q: Is there a recall on Nissan transmissions?

A: Nissan North America, Inc. recently announced two recalls due to distinct issues. The first involves a transmission issue, and the second involves an estimated 203,223 Titan and Frontier vehicles from the 2020 to 2023 model years.

Q: What are the signs of a failing CVT transmission?

A: Strange noises during operation, such as banging, clanging, shrieking, and gurgling, indicate a problem with your CVT. A lousy bearing, used or low-quality transmission oil, a failing CVT belt, worn or damaged gears, or something else could be to blame.

Video Discovery

The video below shows how the belt and pulley system works on a typical CVT

Gravatar Image
Sean Tucker is a writer specializing in consumer-focused coverage of the automotive and energy industries. As an automotive news journalist, I have contributed to US News and World Report, Yahoo Autos, MSN, Dub Magazine, and other publications. He has been on TV news as an expert guest to talk about automobile shopping.