New Transmission at 44,000 miles? Why?

I purchased my 2011 Nissan Cube almost exactly 1 year ago. It was used, but “certified pre-owned”, which, to me, means Nissan did a bunch of fancy stuff to it to make it “like new” before I purchased it.
I purchased it at 25,000 miles, and the previous owner was a car rental company in Vegas.

A few months ago (yes, months - I ignored the problem for a while) the car started making a loud buzzing/humming/growling sound when accelerating or decelerating. Only when the car is in drive, and the sound got louder and softer as I accelerated or decelerated.

My dad said it’s the transmission, I took it to Nissan, and they agreed. I need a new transmission.

Good news!! The new transmission is fully covered on my “certified pre-owned” warranty with Nissan. Gotta love that!

Bad news…wait a minute!! Why does my 2 year old car need a new transmission??

I tried to Google the subject and have found nothing about 40,000 mile cars needing new transmissions. It seems to be almost unheard of! So, I thought, Click and Clack! They would know! Or, hopefully, someone on here has some insight.

I don’t understand what would go wrong for a transmission to be shot at 44,000mi.
I have flushed the fluid in the past year. I do keep up with my car maintenance.

Is my car a lemon? Is this the beginning of a very expensive relationship with my vehicle?
Did I do something wrong, like put too many miles on the car this year?

Help! I love the car, but if this is a bad sign of more problems to come? I gotta sell my Ruby Cube.

“The previous owner was a car rental company in Vegas”.

You never purchase a used vehicle that was once owned by a car rental company. The people who drove the vehicle didn’t own it but rented it. So who knows how the vehicle was treated while it was being rented?


Does this car have a CVT, or a, “conventional”, automatic transmission?
If it is a CVT, I do recall a higher early failure rate on CVTs, as compared to “conventional” automatic transmissions.

I congratulate you on having had the transmission serviced, because very few people seem to do this. However, there is a possibility that the servicing of the trans had something to do with its early failure–IF the wrong fluid was used. A CVT requires a fluid specific to that type of trans, and if the shop used Dexron, or some other type of more-commonly-used trans fluid, that would have led to an early demise for the trans.

What can you tell us about the transmission, and its servicing?

Well, don’t bother to sell it now. You’ll get a new transmission, and you still have the Nissan warranty. Take care of it now, change the engine oil regularly and service the transmission regularly. It’ll be fine.

Next time, do like Tester said and don’t buy a rental.

“I purchased it at 25,000 miles, and the previous owner was a car rental company in Vegas.”

Sometimes, rental cars become a whipping post for the renters pent-up frustrations and fantasy fulfillment…As in hold it to the floor in neutral and drop it into gear…See how much rubber you can burn…Rental cars can be a crap-shoot…Especially in a place like Vegas…

Well, that would be why I was able to purchase at 13,000 dollars instead of the regular 15,000. Good deal for 25,000 miles, 2 year old car, all the fancy stuff included. Besides, I like to think that the good of humanity treated the car with respect. Who takes a Cube for a crazy joy ride, anyway? The thing has what I call “pony power”, rather than horse power. =P

I once rented a vehicle in Vegas. And once out of the city there’s all sorts of open spaces where you can have all kinds of fun with the vehicle. And since I didn’t own it, I did!


Things break. Even good things sometimes break. You have a used car with a new transmission, presumably with a warranty. Drive happy.

Thank you, VDC Driver, for actually attempting to answer my question, instead of scolding me for purchasing the only car that fit my needs and price range at the time I needed to buy.

It is a CVT. I only have my servicing done at Nissan (I’m hoping this will help when I go to sell the car back to them) so I’d like to think that they use the correct type of fluid on their own vehicles! Especially knowing that, if something goes wrong with the car, it’s under warranty, and the fix is on the house!!

So you don’t think this is a bad sign? Probably just a fluke, and (with proper maintenance) the car will last the 5 years that I need it to? Haha.

Clearly you have too much faith in the good of humanity. Prepare for further disillusionment. :wink:

All I know is, take a turn too hard or too fast in my living-room-shaped car and, you’re toast!

By the way peeps, the warranty only lasts to 50,000 miles.

My biggest concern is if there is a correlation between a transmission failing early, and an abundance of future problems.

A CVT? That’s a different story…44,000 miles is almost normal…

Yes, Ruby, hopefully the car will last for 5 years, given good maintenance and careful driving.

Something that you should be aware of is that CVTs (unlike “conventional” automatic transmissions) cannot currently be overhauled/rebuilt in the US, so failure leads to complete replacement. My theory is that, because Nissan had to replace a whole lot of these CVTs in their early existence, there is a very good possibility that the one being installed has, “improved”, components in it.

No, I can’t prove this theory, but… ;-))

As to abuse of rental cars, even though I also like to believe in the good of humanity, the abuse of rental cars is a very real phenomenon. It does happen.

In fact, some immature people even abuse cars that are not rentals. I can recall a high school friend (no longer a friend, due to his behaviors) who used to delight in revving the engine of his father’s Rambler station wagon, and then dropping it into Drive.

Yes, that Rambler (which also had “pony power”) died a premature death, and…yes…he was a jerk. And, yes…unfortunately, jerks and immature people do exist, and they do rent cars, so it is entirely possible that your car was abused when it was a rental.
Just don’t obsess over this possibility.
Continue to maintain it flawlessly, and it will probably serve you well for as long as you need it.

…A Rambler…That’s just wrong! Poor thing!

Yes, I suppose, someone could look at the goofy frame and lacking specs of my vehicle and, after losing one too many rounds of poker, think “I wonder how fast this box can fly!!” or “what’s the 0 to 60 on a living room?? I’ll use this Cube to find out!”.

Thank you (all) for your wisdom. I look forward to a much quieter sounding vehicle that, as far as I can help it, will last longer than my final monthly payment on it. =)

By the way, if you’re skidding around on the original (crappy) tires, you’ll be amazed at what a good set of tires will do for the car. When those wear out, go to and check out the user surveys/ratings and order yourself a decent set of tires.

We needed a new transmission at 56,000 miles on one of our cars. Fortunately, it was inner warranty and the repair didn’t cost us anything. We even got a free loaner car for a week and a half. About 100,000 miles have gone by since then and the transmission still works well.

“Tragedy of the Commons”. Don’t buy a rental return.

Things go wrong with machinery for no apparent reason. My dad purchased the newest car he had owned since WW II–a 1954 Buick which he purchased in 1955 from a family friend. The car had been meticulously maintained and had 24,000 road miles. On our first ride, the fuel pump quit and left us stranded. My brother and I were given strict instructions not to say anything about the fuel pump that would get back to my dad’s friend. My dad drove that car to 120,000 miles and sold it to me. I then drove it to 160,000 miles. It was a wonderful car. The heads were never off the engine in the time we owned it (good service back in the 1950s and 1960s).
Our neighbor bought a new Norge refrigerator back in the late 1940s. It had the compressor replaced 3 times under warranty, but the third time was the charm and it then soldiered on for 20 years without problems.
As far as rental cars are concerned, I purchased a 1988 Ford Taurus that had been a rental car and it gave very good service. Unfortunately, it was totaled in an accident. I bought a 2006 Chevrolet Uplander in 2006 that was a “program” car. I’ve never been exactly sure what a “program car” is, but the Uplander was a great vehicle. My son needed a better vehicle, so we sold it to him. The Uplander now has 120,000 miles and no major problems.

It seems to me that you made a reasonable choice in the Nissan Cube, based on the experience of a colleague who had an office next to my office and had earlier been one of my students. The Cube fit his needs and the last time I saw him, his car was doing just fine. My experience with purchasing a vehicle that had been a rental was good and I saved money. I would bet that your car will do just fine from here on out.

jesmed - no worries. Nissan gives new tires with their certified pre-owned agreement. I am huge on safety and car maintenance, seeing as my job involves driving other people’s children around. No way I’d let those tires get dull.

I did a little more research and found that Nissan has done or admitted some sort of an “unofficial recall” on their original CVT system/design. I am apparently not alone in my early transmission replacement. Usually, they die around 60,000 miles, right after that warranty expires, so I’m one of the lucky ones really.

I like the success stories! Things are replaced, then the whole machine works fine for tens of thousands of miles. Good stuff.

I’ve known several people who purchased rental cars used and were completely happy with the result. Rental cars get all their fluid levels looked at least once week week, get their routine maintenance service on time. Why? It’s in the rental car company’s interest. When I’ve looked at rental cars as used cars, I find it’s impossible to buy one with a manual xmission, which for me big deal-breaker, and overall they seem a little pricey, but you seem have gotten a good deal.

And most rental car customers don’t abuse the cars for the simple reason that they are there, out of town, on business. When doing out of town business, time is money, and you definitely don’t want car break-down distractions, ticket distractions, or traffic-accident distractions. So the rental car driver will more likely drive the car normally or even a bit gingerly. The only downside to purchasing rental cars I can see is that each rental customer is a different size, so adjusts the seats differently, the mirrors differently, adjusts the radio stations differently, the sunscreens, etc, so all the driver related adjustments are adjusted lots more times than for a single owner car. Expect perhaps some of those kinds of thing to fail prematurely. But I doubt the transmission failure is not related. And at $13K, with a good warranty, it sounds like you got a good buy.

If you could get a non-CVT replacement under the warranty, consider doing that. At least look up the Nissan CVT history for that make/model/year in the Consumer’s Reports Used Car guide. If it shows above average repair bills, definitely consider to get a non-CVT replacement.