Best of Deals Car Reviews Repair Shops Cars A-Z Radio Show

2012 Nissan Maxima moves slowly from a stop

At a red light and then the light turns green, my car goes very slowly before transmission kicks into gear.

If your car moves at all, the transmission is, indeed, in gear so maybe something else is the problem. Could you describe this a little better?

And give us a bit more info on your car like; Is the check engine light on? How many miles on this car? Is it actually an automatic transmission or is it a manual? Have you checked the fluid level in the transmission? Have you ever changed the fluid in the transmission? Did you just buy this car?

I have a 2012 Nissan Maxima with with 290 hp engine. My car has 67,500 miles on it. No lights come on. It is an automatic transmission. Yes, I have had the fluid level checked at the Dealership and at a transmission repair shop. The fluid is clean and good and measured at recommended levels.

When the traffic signal light turns green, I step on the accelerator and the car crawls at 5 mph for 15 - 20 seconds before the transmission engages and kicks into gear at 30-40 mph. Also, on the freeways over 70 mph, the car does not accelerate for 15 seconds then lurches into gear at a higher speed.

Mark Komoto

Mark, you actually have the CVT transmission and this sounds like a CVT type of problem. If you haven’t had the fluid changed, it is way overdue. I believe these require fluid changes every 60,000 miles in the best of conditions and every 30,000 miles (or 24 months) in severe or dusty service.

If you haven’t gotten a fluid change, you are overdue. That might fix the problem you are having.


Since I bought the car new from a Nissan Dealer, I have been taking all maintenance to Puente Hills Nissan in City of Industry, CA. As soon as the mileage hits a number, it tells me to do the maintenance program. I already had my transmission oil changed at least once or more (50,000 miles last time). I change my air filter every 10,000 miles. I change my oil every time the dash light comes on.


Then you likely have a transmission problem that needs more than a fluid change. Take it to you preferred shop and tell them what the car is doing so they can make the diagnosis. Be prepared, it likely won’t be cheap. After all, they are Nissan techs and I’m just a guy from the internet that hasn’t so much as sen your car let alone driven it. I might be wrong. Good Luck!

1 Like

step on gas pedal and revs go up and car does not move? or revs do not go up? could it be a throttle issue? drive by wire? if my motor rev’d and car did not move than i would say trans.

Have someone try cleaning the electronic throttle body.



Step on accelerator, car goes at 5 mph only for 15 seconds, REV needle goes up during this period, then the car engages and goes to 35 mph. Like a delay! This is repeated at traffic signals when light is red then light turns to green, car goes thru the same routine!


That is a sure sign of transmission slippage.
I recommend that you take your car–a.s.a.p.–to an independent transmission shop that has been recommended to you by friends, neighbors, co-workers or relatives. Do NOT go to Lee Myles, Cottman, Mr. Transmission or–God forbid–AAMCO, unless you want to be overcharged for substandard workmanship.

VDC driver,

Thanks, your advice hit the nail on the head! After reading Google’s thread on similar issues with a 2012 Nissan Maxima 3.5 litre CVT 290 hp engine, the issue became apparent that the transmission is the problem. Other people who had a Nissan CVT engine with over 75,000 miles experienced the same issue. Nissan is well aware of this problem as many other owners had this problem. My Nissan has only 68,000 miles, too young to get this issue in my opinion. I finally took the car into Nissan Dealership in City of Industry, California on Monday July 16th @ 8 am. On Tuesday July 17th @ 5 pm, Nissan stated that it was the transmission. It also stated that Nissan may cover the cost of replacing all the parts contained inside the transmission housing for only $ 500 including labor as my engine had less than 100,000 miles on it. Nissan let me know on the morning of the 18th that it will warranty the transmission. I want to thank all previous Nissan owners who complained to Nissan about this problem as their voices helped me in my case.


That is excellent news regarding Nissan’s coverage of the problem, Mark. Unfortunately, Nissan’s CVTs have been far more problematic than those of other car companies, but at least they are owning-up to the problem and offering assistance with the repair cost.

honda makes good cvt trans. Too bad

Hi Cavell,

My car is a Nissan Maxima with a CVT engine and not a Honda.


That is great news!

Now I’ll be blunt . . . keep maintaining the car by the book, but at around 120K, I’d start considering another vehicle

I doubt the dealer will be so generous the second time the transmission needs to repaired/overhauled

oops. i made a reference to another car in your thread. nissan cvt trans fail. what make is next? not applicable to this thread.