Nissan's continuously variable transmission (CVT)

Nissan is often considered the usher of the continuously variable transmission (CVT), an automatic transmission that uses computer software to regulate the ratio of gears chosen for the ideal driving experience. The manufacturer first began developing their CVT back in 1992 but did not begin to implement the part routinely until about 2003.  While the CVT is an ingenious milestone in the optimization of modern vehicles, Nissan’s CVT transmission is only hindering the company’s capability for growth and advancement. 

The constant enhancement of the device has no use for Nissan consumers who are incessantly forced to deal with the detrimental effects of the CVT, even after its many developments. The company notes that CVTs are more reliable due to their longevity and durability—which they relate to their decreased exposure to heat and friction. Unfortunately for many consumers, the defects of this component have canceled out Nissan’s belief that their CVTs are reliable, exposing them to more heat and friction than they were originally designed to withstand. 

Nissan Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) Defect

The manufacturer has been aware of the defects with their CVT for quite some time now, but instead of acknowledging the issue and finding a solution, Nissan has ignored the defect and consumer complaints—all while continuing to implement the defective CVTs in their new vehicles. Some consumers have gone as far as to file class action lawsuits against Nissan, but that has not stopped the manufacturer from distributing and equipping their vehicles with these dangerous parts. What is the root cause of this defect? Nissan hasn’t shed any light on the situation, but we have a few ideas that we’ve gathered from consumers as well as other automotive companies who have investigated the problem themselves. 

Many say that the transmission is prone to overheating, which is especially interesting considering that Nissan claims their transmissions do not receive too much heat exposure. Well, while they may not be exposed to too much additional heat than your average transmission, the CVT transmission cooler is not always capable of keeping the transmission fluid cool enough for the machine to properly function. Without cool transmission fluid, the transmission overheats—often resulting in automatically placing the vehicle into the fail-safe mode or complete transmission failure. The company has never confirmed this, but many consumers take their vehicles to third-party mechanics out of desperation to fix their vehicles. Many mechanics have found this to be the primary issue.

Nissan CVT FAQs

How does the Nissan CVT, Continuously Variable Transmission work?

This type of transmission functions by using a pulley system to automatically switch between gear ratios, based on the information received from the computer software inside the vehicle. The distance between the pulleys constantly changes based on the vehicle’s needs. One pulley links the transmission to the engine while the other is linked to the wheels by sending power to them. 

Will Nissan fix or replace my Transmission?

Nissan will typically fix or replace a transmission, whether there is a cost associated with the repair or replacement is a different story. If you are still under the Manufacturer’s Powertrain Warranty (5 years, 60,000 miles) or an Extended CVT Warranty from the Manufacturer (10 years, 120,000 miles), Nissan should replace or repair your transmission free of charge. If not, Nissan will still fix or replace the transmission, but they will charge you to do so.

How much is a Nissan Transmission?

Depending on your vehicle year and model, as well as the type of CVT transmission you have, a Nissan transmission typically costs between $1,500 and $4,000. 

Can Nissan Transmission be repaired or rebuilt?

A Nissan transmission is capable of being both repaired and rebuilt; however, it may not be worth it to repair or rebuild the transmission when the defect seems to stem from the vehicle’s transmission cooler. 

Who makes the Nissan CVT Transmission?

Nissan’s CVT transmissions are manufactured by JATCO- The Japanese Automatic Transmission Company. The Vehicle Manufacturer owns approximately 75% of JATCO and together they make a devastating, whirlwind of a team. 

Is My Nissan a Lemon?

Many consumers have presented lemon law claims for the defects they have experienced with their CVT transmissions.  If you have repeatedly presented your Nissan vehicle for repairs to an authorized Nissan servicing dealership, your Nissan may be a lemon.  If your Nissan is a lemon, you may be entitled to a refund and the payment of your attorney’s fees and costs.  

Common Nissan CVT Symptoms

  • Transmission Failure
  • Poor CVT Response
  • Loss of Acceleration
    • Shifter Lock-Up 
    • Not Shifting
    • Fuel System Defects
    • Engine Dies While Driving
    • Vibrating
    • Low Idle
  • Burning Smell
  • Noise When Turning
  • Stalling 
  • Warning Lights
  • Surging and Jerking

What Consumers are Saying

If you’ve experienced any of these symptoms with your Nissan’s Continuously Variable Transmission, you are not alone! Tons of Nissan consumers have dealt with these issues, and this is what they have to say:

“The Transmission will not properly shift gears which causes the vehicle to stall in traffic. This is the second time this has happened with this vehicle. The first time, Nissan replaced the transmission, now it is happening again”. -2018 Nissan Armada Owner

“My transmission begins to jerk when I accelerate over 40 miles per hour. It also jerks at speed cruising when going up and down hills, and when decelerating from 70 miles per hour. It occurs more often when I am on the Cruise Control setting.” -2016 Nissan Quest Owner

My vehicle is at about 10,700 miles. The transmission has an extreme delay on acceleration and due to this, I have almost been T-boned at least four times. When driving in slow traffic, the vehicle tends to leap forward regardless of which pedal I am pressing. When I shift the vehicle into reverse, the transmission jerks a lot, especially when on a hill.” –2017 Nissan Rogue Owner

“My Transmission slips. At low rotations per minute, I hear a loud noise and experience a loss of power, specifically when turning. I’ve taken my vehicle to the dealership on three separate occasions, and they are unable to identify or fix the problem. They told me once that the heat shield was the issue and it was fixed, but the issue persists.” -2018 Nissan Pathfinder Owner

“My transmission slips at only 50,000 miles. I constantly notice hesitation and jerking while driving. I pulled over to the shoulder of the highway today because I was worried my vehicle was going to shut down while I was driving. When I stopped at a red light and then accelerated, the vehicle did not accelerate for a few seconds. I had to drive with my hazards on. I’m terrified of driving this car because if it stalls out while I’m driving on the highway, I could be hit from behind.” -2017 Nissan Altima Owner

“My had only 25,000 miles on it when it began to shudder and randomly lose power. The vehicle wouldn’t accelerate above 40-50 miles per hour. -2018 Nissan Sentra Owner

“My vehicle struggles to go up hills and jerks when shifting gears at only 45,000 miles. At times the vehicle does not move, and I am forced to turn it on and off for it to function properly. It also makes loud noises when accelerating.” -2019 Nissan Versa Owner

List of Affected Nissan Vehicles

2018-2021 Nissan Armada

2018-2021 Nissan Leaf

2018-2021 Nissan Maxima

2018-2021 Nissan Murano

2015-2017 Nissan Quest

2014-2021 Nissan Rogue

2015-2021 Nissan Pathfinder

Nissan CVT Class Action Lawsuits Were Previously Filed For

2013-2016 Nissan Altima

2013-2017 Nissan Juke

2013-2017 Nissan Sentra

2012-2017 Nissan Versa

2014-2017 Nissan Versa Note

The class action opt-out period for the Nissan CVT cases listed above was February 2020.  However, if you own or lease a 2018 or NEWER Nissan Sentra, Versa, Versa Note, Juke, or a 2017 or NEWER Nissan Altima you may be able to pursue your case against Nissan.  

Nissan Lemon Law Claim? What to Do If You’ve Experienced Nissan Transmission Defects

Have you personally experienced Nissan continuously variable transmission defects? Or are you worried that you may experience them soon? At the Lemon Law Experts, great help is just a phone call away! Our team of Lemon Law Experts have been helping California consumers with their automobile lemon law claims for over a decade.

Here is a brief list of what you should do if you have experienced CVT defects:

  • Pay attention to your vehicle! Not all defects are created equally, and sometimes these symptoms are more subtle than you think. 
  • Ensure that you always take your vehicle in for repairs and recalls at an authorized Nissan dealership.
  • Make sure all your concerns are noted accurately by the authorized service dealership on the repair records.
  • Keep copies of all your repair records and receipts!

If you have taken your vehicle to the dealership for warranty repair work related to these issues on two or more separate occasions, you may have a lemon under California Lemon Law and you could be entitled to a refund!

Contact the Lemon Law Experts Today!

If you are interested in pursuing a potential lemon law claim or have experienced continuously variable transmission defects yourself, call our team of Lemon Law Experts today. We do not charge you for our representation and our consultations are always fast and free. At our law firm, Lemon Law is all that we do. We have the proven track record, results, and team to provide you with excellent lemon law representation to get you the results you deserve.