2013 Nissan Altima - CVT FUBAR

Our 2013 Nissan Altima SV with 81000 miles on it all of a sudden started acting weird. It seems to hesitate at low RPMs and even dies sometimes when at a complete stop. It has also died going in reverse but no warning lights come on when it dies. We brought it to the dealership and they ran a full diagnostic on it only to tell us that replacing the transmission is the recommended course of action. I am not a mechanic by any means but it sounds odd that the car would die because of a failing transmission. I have done the research that the Nissan Altima’s do have a lot of issues with the CVT. I know it’s difficult to diagnose without the car being here but any other possible suggestions? Things to look for? Thanks in advance for any info you can give me.

If you hadn’t told me the dealer already told you the transmission needs replacing… that’s what I would have told you is the likely problem. CVT’s have caused a lot of issues for Nissan. See if you can get Nissan to pay part of the cost of replacement.

I almost bought a 2012 Nissan Altima instead of the Camry I wound up with but changed my mind when I found out it had a CVT. I could not tell it was a CVT when driving it, It felt like it had steps programed into it.

Nissan builds steps into the cvt to make it seem like a normal tranny. Words of wisdom to Nissan , junk the CVT and go back to a conventional tranny . You are missing a lot of sales because a lot of us wont touch a CVT .

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Nissan has extended the warranty on some of the transmissions/models. I guess you are not in that camp. Worth looking into and escalating it to higher corporation levels.
What does your owner’s manual say about transmission fluid change and if one was needed at a certain mileage, did you get it done?

@galant hit on a key factor. These transmissions seem to be very sensitive to fluid quality. When the CVT in our '08 Altima started whining before 60K miles, it was replaced for free. The car now has 150K on it with no further trouble from the transmission, but I’ve had the fluid replaced twice since the replacement. Maybe coincidence, but maybe not. There are many similar stories out there.

Since there’s no clutch, there’s some other part in the drivetrain that separates the connection from engine from the transmission when you come to a stop. If that part fails the engine will be trying to move the transmission gears, but the transmission gears won’t be able to move b/c the brakes are on, and this engine vs transmission battle will stall the engine.