2016 Nissan Versa sedan, 165K miles, transmission issue?

Good afternoon,

2016 Nissan Versa sedan, 165K miles.

A couple of months ago it would make a weird rattling sound only while idling. Garage said it’s the transmission, said a fluid flush may fix it, and that it may need one or two flushes.

They did the flush and the noise went away, yay!

2 months later, the noise is back, boo!

I know nothing about transmissions, I’ve been lucky thus far to not have to deal with a transmission issue.

What could be happening that it would need a 2nd flush 2 months after the first? What are the chances a 2nd flush will alleviate this problem forever?

I’m trying not to freak out. I still owe $$ on this vehicle, getting a new one is not an option right now. It will be paid off by end of 2022, I need it to last until then.

I have an appointment for the 2 flush on Friday. Local, well known, highly recommended garage.

Thanks in advance,

Rather than repeating the flush treatment, ask the shop if a procedure where they drop the transmission pan, drain all the old fluid out, then replace the pan and replace the fluid might be worth a try.


Yes, but this car has Nissan’s flukey CVT, which has the worst reliability history of any of the various CVT units.
If this trans never had its fluid flushed until 165k miles, I am surprised that it lasted that long.

I suppose that a flush is worth a try, but I strongly suggest that the OP take his/her car to an independent trans shop (NOT a chain-run joint like Lee Myles, Cottman, Mr. Transmission, or AAMCO) for evaluation. A good trans shop will know far more about the OP’s transmission than his/her regular mechanic.


Nissan CVT transmissions are known to fail too early, so if it made to 165K miles and was not serviced before… well, it’s good result, but it also means that likely the transmission is on its last leg

I would make sure that fluid used is the original Nissan’s fluid (NS-3 for that year I think) and not a “compatible substitute”, also I see no reason for more expensive “drop pan” option, as AFAIK it has no fine filter, but a simple “sock”, simple drain&fill will be cheaper and give the same result

from what I learned about Nissan CVT when I used to be a “happy owner” of 3 units, from which 1 had a hard failure and 2 were traded in pre-failure state, is that these CVTs get damaged the most when doing jack-rabbit starts or driving over ice - anything creating jerk-load on the pulleys will make them fail substantially faster.

“slow and easy” is the name of the game to get more miles from this car

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Thanks everyone for your helpful advice!

My bad, I pulled the report, it was a drain and fill, not just a flush. This was on 04/01.

“The whine/whurring noise is coming from the transmission”

“Transmission fluid
Finding: Manufacturer recommends replacing
Recommendation: Recommend change/flush

Notes. This would be drain and fill.”

Should I have it done a second time? Or wait until there is an issue other than this rattling when idling?

Performance is fine. I guess my fear is that I am doing more damage right now.

are you bring this to a local garage or the dealer? if its a garage, you may be better off to bring it to the dealer this time.

I will share my wife’s 2013 Nissan Sentra story, 42K on the clock at the time.

We observed rattling when coming to stop and then it became worse and rattle at idle showed up too.
The car was literally pampered with maintenance, transmission fluid was replaced at 30K miles, as appropriate for “premium” service schedule.

From my observations, it was transmission all alone, and it was a clear warranty case.

I showed that to dealer and their mechanic declared it is a catalytic converter heat-shield, which was clearly fine, but they demanded $200 parts&labor to replace that.

FINE… I considered that to be a “surcharge to get access to warranty service”…

The moment I paid that $200, they suddenly reclassified the issue into the transmission warranty case and they apparently replace “tens of transmissions on this new generation”… but sure it was not clear before the unneeded head-shield “surcharge” (not sure they even replace it at all, it was still all new and shiny).

When I asked if I’m getting a new replacement unit, I was told it is “Nissan refurbished” and to my question how much I would have to pay when my warranty lapses and it fails again, I was told “between $4200 and $4500”.

That car was traded away for Mazda 3 within 2 weeks and we decided not to look at Nissans until they stop putting failing CVTs on their cars.
The unit failed was the third generation unit, and both prior generations had the same dismal history on the failures.

@H.kris45, I would suggest NOT to go to the dealer, but find good/reputable transmission shop (not the chain one!) and get their advise. I think the dealer way will be an exercise in frustration and unneeded costs.You have post-warranty car after all, you are not specifically bound to the dealer and the only repair they will know is to “replace”.

If you decide to go to the same garage for the second fluid replacement - that’s fine too, just make sure they use original Nissan’s fluid, as this unit is picky to the fluid type.
When drain&fill is used, only around 60-65% of fluid can come off, so second “flush” is definitely not gonna hurt.


If you drove the car for 165k miles while never having the transmission serviced, that right there could be the cause of the current problem. Offhand, I suspect the fluid changes are a temporary crutch.

Nissan says 60k miles trans service and IMO even that is way too long.


Damaging a transmission by changing the fluid is an Old Wives Tale.
It is very possible that it won’t help, but it definitely won’t hurt the transmission.

And, I will repeat my advice:
Go to an independent trans shop that has been in business for several years, and that has a good reputation.

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Car is averaging 30k miles each year. How many miles are you planning on in next 18 months?