Nissan Rogue and Nissan Pathfinder – Defective CVT Transmission 

Nissan CVT Fail

It comes as no surprise that the number of Nissan Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) consumer complaints and class action lawsuits continue to grow. Initially, consumers experienced CVT transmission issues with the Nissan Sentra, Versa, Versa Note, Juke and Altima.  However, this list has grown and recently expanded to cover models such as the Nissan Pathfinder and Nissan Rogue. Nissan has released various Technical Service Bulletins (TSB) and recalls to address this issue, but despite Nissan’s attempt to resolve these problems, consumer CVT issues and complaints persist.  

Unfortunately, regular service and maintenance may not prevent the predetermined fate of a faulty CVT transmission.  Regardless, it is crucial to understand how these machines function and why Nissan is using them in their vehicles.

How Does a CVT Transmission Work and Why Are They Being Used?

The origins of the Continuously Variable Transmission dates back to 1879. American Inventor Milton Reeves initially created this machine when he observed that saw workers were unable to control the speed of the pulleys on the saws they worked with. He implemented this design into vehicles completely changing the automobile industry. 

The Continuously Variable Transmission functions by automatically adjusting the width of the steel belt between two pulleys depending on the speed of the vehicle. When driving at a lower speed, the distance between the pulleys decreases and while driving at a higher speed, the distance between the pulleys increases. This innovative type of transmission operates without manual gear shifting by automatically detecting which gear ratio would best fit the needs of the vehicle and driver. 

The shifting on these transmissions is said to be flawless, creating a smooth driving experience for consumers—thanks to the technology that methodically selects the appropriate gear ratio. There are many benefits to a transmission as such that are not found in less complex transmission systems, such as a decreased amount of friction and heat. This unit also contains fewer moving components than other types of transmissions, making it lighter in weight as well. These benefits coupled together create the biggest advantage of all compared to other transmissions: increased performance and decreased fuel consumption. 

Other Types of Transmissions and How They Operate

Manual Transmission

Perhaps the simplest and most mechanically direct of all transmissions, the Manual Transmission, also referred to as a stick-shift or standard transmission, seems to be the trustiest apparatus in terms of not malfunctioning. This is because the driver has complete control over the shifting of the gears, which in CVTs, are controlled by a computer.

 These transmissions are controlled by a shift lever that the driver moves to engage the rods which in turn control the forks, making the vehicle change gears. These transmissions also typically include a synchronizer, which ensures the speed of both the collar and gear are in harmony before the teeth physically engage. Another component of this device is the gearbox, which is controlled by a clutch pedal that the driver controls with their foot. It connects to the rotational energy of the engine which subsequently connects to the input shaft of the vehicle’s transmission. These transmissions are arguably more advantageous in terms of performance and fuel consumption; however, they do require more effort from the driver. 

Automatic Transmission

The Automatic Transmission is undeniably the most frequently used transmission type in modern day vehicles. As opposed to a manual transmission, an automatic transmission does not use a clutch pedal to momentarily disconnect from the engine. Instead, this aspect of the transmission is controlled automatically by a torque converter. A torque converter contains an impeller, a turbine and a stator which aid the engine by circulating the transmission fluid, giving the transmission more power. Once the transmission receives this power, it is time for the planetary gears to do their job!

Contrary to the manual transmission, the automatic transmission does not contain separate gear wheels to change between speeds and gears. This is accomplished by combining different gears instead. The small friction clutches inside of the transmission engage these gears when they need to turn and the bands inside stop them from turning when they are not supposed to. Finally, the transmission receives the power from the engine to send to the output shaft which directs it to the wheels, increasing or decreasing that power appropriately before the wheels receive it. 

Semi-Automatic or Dual Clutch Transmission

The Semi-Automatic Transmission is known as the intermediary between a manual transmission and an automatic transmission. This type of transmission has two different clutches, similar to the manual transmission, but operates without a clutch pedal, unlike the manual. These clutches are controlled automatically, but unlike an automatic transmission, the clutches function separately from one another—each controlling either the odd or even set of gears. These clutches can operate independently because each has its own separate transmission shaft. 

Unlike the automatic transmission, the semi-automatic does not use a torque converter, but instead uses a wet clutch to control the gears with hydraulic pressure. This hydraulic pressure pushes the coil springs apart in order to move the clutch plates and friction discs against the fixed pressure plate. The friction discs function by latching on to the clutch drum which transmits this force to the gearset. 

The Reason for Nissan’s CVT Transmission Malfunction

While Nissan chooses not to disclose much information on the reason for its transmission malfunction, the repairs and replacements they have made for consumers with these issues tells us all we need to know. To function properly, the transmission needs a cooling system to make sure that this component of the vehicle does not overheat. When the transmission overheats, this often causes the transmission to judder, jolt, shake, or fail completely. The transmission then enters fail safe mode to protect the vehicle by decreasing the number of RPMs, or revolutions per minute, the engine can make. 

Many consumers have experienced these issues meaning that the transmission cooler is either too small to cool the entire transmission, or it is simply defective in some way. Nissan has clearly known about this issue for a while, based on the Technical Service Bulletins they have released. Consumers have also mentioned that when taking their vehicles to the dealership, Nissan has encouraged them to purchase a second external CVT oil cooler kit, which serves as evidence of the fact that the primary cooler is not sufficient in cooling the transmission. If you have experienced these issues, know that you are not alone and many consumers across the United States have also had the same problem. It is important to look out for the symptoms of a malfunctioning or failing transmission. 

Common Transmission Issues Experienced by Nissan CVT Consumers

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

What To Do If You’ve Experienced These Transmission Issues

Maybe you have experienced CVT Transmission Issues with your vehicle, or maybe you have yet to experience these issues but are worried that you may 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.

Below is a brief list of what you should do if you have experienced issues with your Nissan CVT Transmission:

  • Take your vehicle in for repairs 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!

List of Affected Nissan Vehicles

2018-2021 Nissan Armada

2018-2021 Nissan Leaf

2018-2021 Nissan Maxima

2018-2021 Nissan Murano

2014-2020 Nissan Rogue

2015-2016 Nissan Pathfinder

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.  Call the Lemon Law Experts today at 877-885-5366 to learn more.

Contact Us Today!

If you are interested in pursuing a potential lemon law claim, 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.