Summary: transmission light, drives fine
We have a 2011 base model Rogue with 90k miles (sadly now aware of it’s hideous reputation for its CVT). A few months ago, the transmission light came on; the car drove fine. We took it to our trusted garage and essentially got the answer: “It’s a Rogue so you need a new transmission, $5k please.” Not having $5k, we start saving and take our chances. The error light was cleared and I didn’t think to get the code.
We crossed our fingers hoping the dealer would be able to give us a better diagnostic on the transmission, but we got the same answer (new transmission, but the service writer was clueless overall so no help). It was pretty obvious this answer was about money rather than getting to the bottom of the problem.
The transmission light has come on again. The car still drives fine. For what it’s worth, we had the fluid and filter changed just a few thousand miles ago - I’ve been trying to baby it. So onto the question…
Should we expect:
- The transmission to suddenly drop out of the car (exaggerating, but practically what the dealer said).
- The transmission to fail gradually, with some periods of lost power and other obvious issues ending in limp mode?
- Some other problem that might not actually require a completely new transmission?
I know the error code would be helpful. I’m happy to order a code reader but I’d like to double-check to see if there’s any specifics I need to know before ordering.
We’re getting close to being able to afford the new transmission, but obviously we’d prefer to avoid it!
You can still get the code.
Ask the shop to hook a scanner up and look at the history codes.
Yeah… that’s not gonna happen.
The only way to avoid it is to sell the car during one of those times when the car drives and the light is out… but trade it and not dump it on some unsuspecting rube.
But is there any point in selling it since we’d have to buy another car? Supposedly the rebuilt transmissions are ok. I’m feeling like I’d just be buying another set of problems, rather than a relatively young car with a new transmission. If the rebuilds are trash, please set me straight.
The rebuilds are Ok compared to original equipment. If you change the fluid every 30K miles, you might get another 90K.
You don’t mention the condition of the car overall nor your goal for the car… Is the rest of the car in good shape? Do you plan to keep the car until it dies? Or sell it in 50K miles.
But you asked if there was any way to get around dropping $5K on this car…I gave you a way.
Common Consumer Complaints Reveal Potential Loss of Acceleration Power Due to an Overheating CVT
An extensive problem for the 2011 Nissan Rogue is its acceleration loss. The NHTSA site and several enthusiast forums offer numerous reports of drivers who experienced a total loss of acceleration power while driving. It took Nissan a while to diagnose the problem, but the issue is believed to be due to an overheating transmission. Thankfully, a service bulletin from 2016 provides a fix.
The CVT utilized by the 2011 Rogue had a defect where it could easily overheat, and the CVT would go into failsafe mode. This is simply one in a long list of CVT troubles for Nissan since the turn of the century. Dealerships will repair the issue by installing an oil cooler and replacing the CVT fluid cooler. Nissan says the issues typically arise from vehicles driving in certain conditions, including:
- High speed or high rpm driving for extended periods
- Ambient driving temperatures of 96ºF or more
- Steep hill climbs over six miles
Nissan’s fix appears to have done the trick. Although, it’s worth noting Nissan did not extend warranties for 2011 Rogue owners with a CVT problem. Over 10 years out from release, it’s almost guaranteed that you’ll be paying out-of-pocket should an overheating CVT problem arise.
“But you asked if there was any way to get around dropping $5K on this car…I gave you a way.”
You absolutely did and I appreciate it! Just working through the options with you…
Mechanically the car seems to be in good shape (cosmetically is another issue, but it’s a family car and I really couldn’t care). We put new front axles in last year, new tires all around, etc. No signs of other major problems. If we put $5k into this thing, I will drive it until the body falls off. Actually, it might wind up being the first car of our soon to be teenager.
Any other huge bills coming up that you can think of? With today’s car market being what it is, $5k for 9k miles doesn’t sound too bad.
I actually experienced this once when I was towing something I probably shouldn’t have been from Palm Springs to Phoenix - so if it was ever going to happen that it. But otherwise, it drives fine (unless the brake light switch goes out - but that’s an easy fix).
The control valve assembly mentioned in the service bulletin caught my eye. If that valve assembly is wonky but still working well enough… I’ll get that code read tomorrow.
Thanks so much for your help.
This may have damaged the transmission. Maximum towing capacity is 1500 pounds.
It’s possible nothing needs to be done, other than ignoring the warning light. But if the transmission is overheating, best bet is to solve that problem, otherwise transmission will eventually have to be replaced. No Nissan CVT experience myself, other than seeing comments about it here from quite a few posters, but Tester’s link above looks like where to start.
When a shop says the solution is to replace the transmission, what they mean is that in almost all cases when a customer comes in the a similar complaint, the transmission ends up being replaced. It might be possible in theory to only fix what is broken, but the cost of the labor hours to decide what that is makes it more economical to just replace the transmission. It is still fixing what is broken, just the fix happens on your old transmission, which then gets re-sold to another Nissan owner with a broken transmission. So it works out ok in the end. Other than you incurring the $5,000 expense.
Fair enough! But in retrospect, I think it was an 800 or so pound piano and maybe a 500 pound trailer at most. And summer in the Sonora desert. But I’m glad to go back and think about it, as it’s perfect proof of the overheating problem. Living in Phoenix, I think getting the cooler makes sense no matter how I approach this.
The code is P0744 as specified in the service bulletin. And we live in Phoenix, so we drive in temperatures well in excess of 96 degrees for months at a time. From the pics I’ve seen, it looks like the new fluid coolers would be a good investment even if we do get a new transmission a bit further down the road (they wouldn’t need to be replaced at that time?).
So, having taken it to the dealer, they should have caught this. Obviously they didn’t. Can this fix only be applied by the dealer? Thoughts on whether to to take this back to the dealer and try to get them to work through the service bulletin, or could a reputable shop handle this?
Thanks again for all of this help!
@George_San_Jose1 Tester’s solution is extremely promising as the error code matches. Either way, it seems like a cooler would be a smart idea in a climate that routinely reaches 115. I’ll just have to figure out the best way to go about getting one.
Followup: when these transmissions fail, do they tend to go catastrophically all-at-once or show worsening symptoms over time?
Also, I’ve realized that I’ve been assuming that this car has the original transmission. I’ve only had it for the last 20-30k (bought it around 60-70k), so perhaps that’s not the case.
Still definitely getting the cooler though.
The transmission in our 2008 Altima (mechanically very similar to your Rogue) started making a high-pitched whine when it started to fail. It was replaced, gratis, before we experienced any other symptoms. This was at around 60K miles. The replacement transmission started making a similar noise at around the same mileage but a fluid change made the noise go away.
Moral of the story: change the fluid more frequently than every 60K miles whether the manufacturer recommends it or not. And use only the proper fluid, not some so-called universal fluid.
Funny. That trans cooler in the link looks identical to the one Mitsubishi Outlanders have in the 2.4L 4WD models. They have the Jatco CVT but not the same problems as the Nissan. Mitsubishi must do something very different with their development and electronics. Rated to tow 3500lbs.
Should also note the Mitsubishi Service Schedule for vehicles using the Jatco CVT stipulates trans fluid drain/refill every 30,000Miles.