"Gearing Down" with a CVT Transmission

I have a 2010 Nissan Versa Hatchback with a CVT Transmission. When my boyfriend drives it, he shifts it into neutral when slowing to a stop. He thinks it’s easier on the transmission by doing this because it’s not working as hard. I’ve heard the opposite and that it’s not good for the transmission, and that it’s harder on your brakes too.

Does anyone know if putting the car into nuetral when slowing down with this specific transmission has any negative effect on the vehicle, or is it harmless?

The more your bf shifts, the more chance that it’ll do something bad. You can be sure Nissan optimized the CVT for normal (non-shifting) driving, so I would bet there’s certainly nothing to be gained by shifting into neutral.

I LOVE the ‘engine braking’ ability on my CVT ( 06 Escape hybrid ).
Extremely much more accurate control over what the car does in traffic and close quarters than just freewheeling with NO control but brakes.

If I time the light right I can slow to 2 mph then -green light- and never use the brakes at all. ( in the case of the hybrid, all that CVT slowing below 40 mph recharges the drive battery and runs zero engine rpm )

Neutral is silly AND an unneccessary over use of the brakes. Albeit no big time mechanical issues. That constant shifting in and out does cause my left eyebrow to raise as I cock my head askew.

But on the other hand, it is guys like him who are my paycheck, so…

never mind.

Tell your bf to look up the term automatic in a dictionary. Then think about that word before “transmission.”

It’s time to stop letting your boyfriend drive your car.

Aside from the car issue, this is a relationship issue. It is your car, and if he won’t listen to you when you ask him not to abuse it, how is he going to treat you further down the road? He is showing a lack of respect.

Generally, transmissions are built to handle being shifted in and out of drive in normal use, but what your boyfriend is doing isn’t normal use. It is excessive use. Furthermore, CVT transmissions can’t be repaired. They can only be replaced, and they are expensive. It isn’t the worst thing you can do to a vehicle, but it isn’t “harmless.”

Print these out and give them to him to back up your request…ah-em DEMAND.
Do not ask him, TELL him ; " Do not drive this car that way. period. "
Then if he does it again…as the car rolls to its stop…reach over, turn off the key and state ; “my turn.”

( I used a similar method to teach the kids to buckle up every time, any time, any driver, any car. )

Your boyfriend appears to be a self-important busybody who should spend more time reading how the world really works and leave your car alone. Last year on this network there were many posters risking their lives by “hypermiling”, getting that last ounce of fuel savings. Some of that involved, erroneously, coasting. In modern computer equipped cars coasting uses more gas thna leaving the car in gear. It also wears out the brakes quicker. Ask any professional truck driver!

A generation ago there may have been some benefit in “coasting” with a car. With a CVT equipped car that’s an entirely different world which he has not caught up with yet. No driving instructor worth his salt would even suggest such a thing!

When I posted my question on here I was under the assumption that I might get a helpful answer from someone ?in the know?, not some jerks who are quick to judge and opine on what they THINK is happening. And to slander my boyfriend saying he is abusive, lacks respect for me and is a ?self important busy body?! How dare you! You are no way in a position to comment on my relationship like that. Screw you! I never said anything about me telling him, or asking him not to drive that way (in fact, I have never said anything to him about it, except to ask why he did it). This was a simple question, posed by me, so that I could attempt to educate myself more on the subject. Apparently, I?m asking the wrong people. Thanks for nothing.

No, you’ve learned plenty…if you care to.

1 - Don’t do it. No advantage gained with possible disadvantages. ( including incereased mpg if, on your car, you notice the rpms actually increase in neutral. )

2 - Many people ‘in the know’ have answered here, and the concensus is clear.

3 - Automotive CVT technology is new. there have been no side by side tech tests that prove or disprove your questions. Many ‘in the knows’ here are mechanics with 30- 40 years under their belts, but CVT is too new so we must apply our best technical analysis based on experience.

It is a technical given that the more you use a mechanism, any mechanism, the sooner it will wear out. In this case, totally unneccessary shifting and braking.
Your car. your choice.

4 - You left out key information that you are now berating us for as if we were to have read other words than you had typed.

5 - It’s called debating. You will get answers and opinions you do not like. listen to them anyway, put them all in a pool, derive you own conclusion upon investigation.

6 - If the bf responds as we assumed he may have, you are forewarned.

7 - Your need to practice effective writing. No one can “know what you meant” unless that’s what you write. It’s hard to proofread yourself because you know what you meant. But try to re-read ‘cold’ as though you know nothing on the page to see if you can get the whole story. If another person is reading your piece in your presence and you have to explain yourself, THAT’s the area which needs practice. Yes, I know this chat question was probably typed on the quick and may not be indicative of your usual, but it is a minor insight.

8 - Puting a transmission in neutral is not ‘gearing down’, it’s just neutral.

What sort of an answer would you like to hear ?

You may have gotten more answer than you wanted, but you also got the technical aspect of your question answered. How do you see that as “nothing?”

Sometimes when we jump the gun like that, the person who started the thread has a good laugh at our expense. Judging from your anger, I think maybe our responses hit too close to home. This reminds me of the line from Hamlet, “The lady doth protest too much.”

Ask the Service Manager how much it will cost to replace the transmission…Then ask your boyfriend if he has that amount of money…

You would be well-advised to treat your CVT VERY gently…

Never mind.

What does it say in the owner’s manual. Follow those instructions as they come from the people with the most knowledge on the subject.

It’s time to stop letting your boyfriend drive your car.

I agree with Whitey…it may not be causing enough excessive wear to the car that you might experience problems, but these newer transmissions still do not have enough of a history to do anything other than what the manual says. Let him play games with his own car…if he has one.

  1. Neutral bad, Drive Good.

  2. Your car, your rules.

  3. CVT not rebuildable, $5-6k to replace.

  4. Fluid and filter change (not flush) every 30k for long life.

Inoffensive enough for you.

Have a blessed day,

Ed B.

I suspect that Limara will not return because she did not like the manner in which responses were given, but overall I have to agree with virtually everything that has been said so far.

In essence:
Yes, what he is doing is harder on the brakes.
Yes, what he is doing has a negative effect over the long term on any automatic trans, including a CVT.
Yes, he is being overbearing by continuing to drive her car like this after she has apparently told him not to drive it like this.
Yes, CVTs–at this point–are not repairable in the US. If you experience transmission problems, the only solution will be a new transmission from Japan. Expect to pay something on the order of $4,500 for this new trans if the car is out of warranty.

Limara–If you are still here, simply print all of these responses to show to your boyfriend. If he is both intelligent and interested in maintaining a good relationship with you, he should learn a lot from our answers.

Advice to Limara’s Boyfriend:

  1. Place 2010 Nissan Versa in “Park”.
  2. Apply parking brake
  3. Turn key to “Off” position
  4. Detach seat belt
  5. Open driver side door
  6. RUN!
  7. Don’t look back!
  8. Find new girlfriend

VDCdriver is right, I won’t be back because of the manner in which responses were given. The question could have been answered very easily (and should have been) without negative comments about my boyfriend and my relationship. It was a question about a CAR and its mechanics, not about my relationship. Maybe you should read over the first “Discussion Rule”: If you can’t be polite, don’t say it; Focus your remarks on positions, not personalities; No personal attacks, name calling, libel, defamation, comments about someone’s mother (or boyfriend in this matter)?AND maybe you should also read over my question again too, I never said anything about asking him to not drive that way, therefore he has never gone against my wishes, or disrespected me. I have never said anything to him about it; you guys aassumed that all on your own. I wanted to educate myself first before asking him not to do it (who am I to argue with him when I don’t know the answer). Now that I know it is harmful, I WILL ask him not to do it…and ya know what?..He’ll stop because I asked him to.


Get over yourself.

Ed B.

…and ya know what?..He’ll stop because I asked him to.

How wonder that you have that kind of relationship! I am happy for you.

While we may have assumed facts not known, the only one who has made this personal is you. Please see your “Screw you!” statement above. Even after I admitted I was wrong, you still appear to be quite angry, which you can blame on us all you want. Unfortunately, blaming others for your feelings is passive-aggressive and emotionally immature. You need to grow up a little if people can get under your skin so easily.

Our advice may have been misplaced, but your reaction to that mistake says more about you than it does about us. I hope your boyfriend realizes what he is in for if you don’t mature. If he reads this, my advice to him is: Don’t walk away. RUN! My advice to you is: Don’t leave angry, just leave.