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2016 Nissan Altima - CVT Problem

My transmission in my 2016 nissan altima with 79,000 miles is having issues as well. It will not accelerate at times more than 35 to 45mph, i cant tke it on the freeway for fear that it will not move or the RPM’s will Rev up. Its not safe to drive and I have to keep paying for this car that I cant drive. Nissan has known about this issue for years and will do nothing about it. I cant affrd to pay the car d get a new transmission. How do I even know the new CVT transmission isnt going to fail well?

Have you ever changed the fluid in your CVT? If not, why not? The owners manual says you should, at 60,000 miles if I remember correctly. Failure to change the fluid on schedule is pretty much a guarantee the transmission will fail and Nissan will leave you to foot the bill.

Do you have a check engine light on?

A proper transmission service is the place to start. If that doesn’t solve the symptoms and no other problems are discovered (like coolant leaking into the transmission from the radiator) … some ideas:

Problems related to Nissan cvt’s do seem to get some posts here. Suggest to use the forum search feature (above right) to see what other posters are saying about this topic. Search the Dear Car Talk newspaper columns too, click “blogs” above left.

There’s a few service bulletins, be sure your shop is aware of these

can-16-109, 12-103e, can-15-84c, 16-073, can-17-002

Nissan has apparently extended the warranty on some vehicles, maybe yours is one of them.

I found the following in a Nissan maintenance schedule cut and pasted below. As far as I’m concerned every CVT and normal automatic transmission should be serviced at 30k miles intervals. A friend of mine who is strictly a transmission rebuilder says the same thing. He also said that almost every transmission failure he’s seen over the past 40 years was due to not changing the fluid regularly or running the fluid low because of a leak.

Cut and paste below. So should I ask if the trans has ever been serviced?
Replace the CVT fluid every 30,000 miles or 36 months.


You got a lot of miles quickly. I wonder why did you buy a Nissan with CVT? They have problems for many years.

A 2016 could be almost 4 years old so that mileage is not that unusual. As for buying a Nissan with a CVT , how many people even know what king of transmission is in their new vehicle . People just expect the vehicle to operate and last for a long time.
After all even you Mr. Debasisg have a thread asking complete strangers what vehicle to buy.


Maybe if the transmission was serviced regularly then CVT complaints would be few and far between.

Some friends bought a new car with a CVT years ago. While talking with them I asked to see the owners manual. The manual stated to change the CVT fluid every 30k miles and I advised them very strongly to do this.

They did not do this. A few years later with about 75k miles on it they traded it off because the CVT was failing and they could not understand why. They blamed the car.

I strongly suspect that many CVT complaints could be traced back to this kind of neglect.


We can add that possibility to the situations where people’s engines fail due to a low oil level, and then they blame the failure on the car mfr., in the mistaken belief that it is not necessary to check/correct oil level between changes–despite the fact that their Owner’s Manual states that the oil level should be checked frequently.

As Pogo the Possum stated many years ago…
We have met the enemy, and he is us.
(present company excepted!)


@ConnieG doesn’t seem to be responding to our questions.

@ConnieG did you just buy this vehicle?

I wonder if @ConnieG didn’t just buy the vehicle and is just not used to how a CVT feels. It does take a little getting used to. If the check engine light is not on, the transmission is working as it should and she doesn’t have a problem.

Keith , I doubt if Connie will return but the problem is that at times the vehicle will not go faster than 35 or 45 MPH . So is not a driving or shifting feel that she is not used to.

@VOLVO_V70, notice I said IF the check engine light is not on. The fact that she is not accelerating over 35 -45 may be due to her not stepping on the gas pedal hard enough because she feels like the transmission is slipping when all it is doing is changing gears. It takes a little getting used to.

I’ve never owned a CVT transmission, and I don’t plan on ever buying a new vehicle with one, but my brother had one on his Saturn ION up in Chicago. He had all his servicing done at the dealer by-the-book and still, the transmission failed WAY before its time! He ended up getting a buyout from Saturn, so he was lucky.

But if fluid is so critical to these transmissions, and it needs to be changed so often, why don’t manufacturers put OIL LIFE warning messages on the cluster to remind owners? With the level of computerization in every make and model vehicle on the road today, there’s really no excuse for not doing this.

It’s like these manufacturers want these transmissions to fail - and then point to an obscure blurb in the Owner’s Manual and say, “see??? It says it right here! You should’ve known better! It’s all your fault! $4,000 please!”

I expect the reason is b/c the transmission fluid life isn’t related to the vehicle’s emissions. There are a number of obvious things the manufacturer could do to assist the owner with needed maintenance and repair warnings, but they don’t b/c those things don’t much affect the emissions ratings. The most common complaint we get here is probably “fails to crank”, but there are no dash warning messages to alert the owner the cranking system needs to be checked.

CVTs are an emerging technology. The last time Saturn’s were manufactured, CVTs were very problematic. They are finally coming into their own, even Toyota is starting to use them on some models and Toyota is very conservative when it comes to new technologies.

CVTs change gear ratios so smoothly and quickly that they feel like they are slipping when they are not. That can make a driver that is new to them very uncomfortable at first. But the input shaft speed to output shaft speed is compared to the selected ratio and if it doesn’t match, then the CEL is lit and the code stored. Basically no CEL, no problem.

I checked the ATF in mine at around 60k, looked brand new. It is not easy to check BTW and a real PITA to refill. I don’t know who came up with the refill procedure for the CVT used by Subaru but it couldn’t possibly be made more difficult. It took real creativity to make it this difficult.

You have to have a scan tool that monitors ATF temp, and when the temp reaches a certain point, about half way between operating temp and cold, you measure the level at that exact moment.

Yeah - even with non CVT transmissions, you’re supposed to measure the fluid level at a particular temperature. For my 2011 Equinox, it’s between 180 and 200 F degrees. But I don’t have a way to verify that, so all I’ve been doing is replacing exactly what comes out … and then checking the level on the dipstick (fortunately, it has one). But this is not ideal, I know.

I’m looking at my next vehicle purchase and it has a transmission fluid temp reading in its cluster - so that’ll remove the guesswork … finally.

Unfortunetly they have made a lot of even conventional ones a pia to check because they removed the dipstick in a lot of auto’s which is stupid .

I’m guessing the reason the dipstick is removed is b/c with the way newer auto transmissions are designed, with the large number of gears, the dipstick method isn’t accurate enough. There may also be another problem – what with all the gadgets needed in these 6, 7, 8+ speed diabolical contraptions – it may be hard to find a clear path to pass the dipstick through the transmission.

I hear what you’re saying in regards to many conventional automatic transmissions no longer having a dipstick to check the fluid level

That said . . . many cvt transmissions also don’t have a dipstick to check the fluid level

That is why many are programmed to “feel” like a conventional automatic

I drove my 2012 jeep compass for 5 years and put 140, 000 km on it before doing a fluid change on cvt. And after the change they didnt reset my computer and my tranny blew. Its hit and miss on those transmissions. Ur best bet is to go to a tranny place. $ 3500 to rebuild it with a three year warranty. Thats i got. And just keep up on the maintenance. Once its paid off… Sell it and buy something with a standard at transmission. Cvt are garbage. Built to break. And expensive to fix.