Nissan Rogue CVT fluid change

I took my 2008 Rogue (40K miles) to the dealer for a recall, and they came up with $1000 worth of non-warranty work they wanted to do. Included in that was changing the CVT fluid, which they said was “looking discolored”. Since there’s a sensor that’s supposed to tell me exactly when to change the fluid, I nixed that, along with all the other work.

Has anyone else had their dealer attempt to get them to change the very expensive CVT fluid early?


If you think the fluid is expensive, wait until you replace the transmission…

Many of us here think ATF changes around 30K miles keeps your AT in good shape, so I would change it now, regardless of ATF cost or what the monitor says. Are you sure you have a sensor monitoring your ATF and it is not an oil change monitor for your motor oil?

Please itimize the $1000 worth of work, and we can comment more intelligently them.

Fluid and filter changes on a normal transmission, even with special fluids, runs anout $100 or so.

At 40,000 miles your vehicle will need some FACTORY DESIGNATED maintenance (read the manual), for which you don’t need to go to the dealer, except maybe the transmission.

The complete 40,000 miles service on my Nissan Sentra at the dealer was about $500.

If there is any question at all about that fluid, I would have it changed.  Frankly I would worry about what damage may have already been done if it looks or smells bad. In my book with CVT I would not want to go over 30K without a change.

Note:  I'd bet you can have that work done for far less if you don't use the dealer.

 Dealers are no better (or worse) than independent mechanics for almost anything you might need done on your car.  They will almost always charge more per hour and often more for parts and supplies.  They also tend to look at repairs a little different than the independent. 

A dealer may well recommend work that strictly may not be needed, but could be connected to the problem or maybe replace a part when a little repair would fix it ALMOST as good a new.  

There is no need to bring your car to the dealer for any service other than service that is going to be paid for by a recall or original warrantee.  During the warranty period be sure to have all required (as listed in the owner's manual) maintenance done and to document all maintenance work.

I suggest that most people would be better off finding a good independent (Not working for a chain) mechanic. 

Note: Never ever use a quick oil change place. They are fast cheap and very very bad.

"There is no need to bring your car to the dealer for any service other than service that is going to be paid for by a recall or original warrantee. During the warranty period be sure to have all required (as listed in the owner’s manual) maintenance done and to document all maintenance work. "

Indeed. Have them do the recall work. Then find your best local - i.e. non-national chain type - transmission shop. Drive on in there and ask them what they think. Also ask for details including price on a basic transmission service.

It would be interesting to see a breakdown of this 1000 dollars worth of work that is allegedly needed. You may or may not need some or all of this.

Should the trans fluid be changed? Yes, back at the 30k miles mark. You should not rely on sensors, on board reminders, or even the factory owners manual to tell you what should or should not be done as they have a vested interest in making car owners think their vehicles need little maintenance. PR at its finest.

As Caddyman says, wait until you see the price on a new transmission… :frowning:

My oldest son lives in another state and I’ve been telling him the same thing. His '07 vehicle has a CVT and I started telling him around the 25k miles mark the fluid needs to be changed at 30k miles. The car sits right now at about 55k miles and this service has not been performed yet.

No doubt that if the CVT drops dead at 75k miles there will be much whining about why it happened.
Comments about the timing belt also appear to have fallen on deaf ears and I’ve been accused by my wife and kids of being “too negative” more than once.
Par for the course; darken the rosy tint on the glasses and everything will be fine.

Hi Callebaut,

This is strictly regarding the Nissan CVT transmission:

Do NOT have any shop, EXCEPT a Nissan Dealer replace the fluid in your CVT transmission.
Currently, no one offers the proper fluid for this transmission in the aftermarket.

What you should do, however, is call up a couple other dealers in town, and see if they will beat the price of your dealer for this service. Then after you have a couple quotes, even if they are much further away, go back to your dealer, and say “Hey, dealers X, Y and Z all said their price would be $xxx.xx. Meet the price, or i go elsewhere for the service.”

This is your best bet.

And yes, now that your car has a 120k mile warranty on the CVT transmission, I Highly recommend that you replace the fluid at 40k, 80k, and once again at 120k. This way they won’t even attempt to say you didn’t service the transmission properly during the warranty period.

Nissan USA’s Customer Service isn’t very customer oriented.
Don’t risk having to have a conversation with them you truly don’t want to hear their answer for.


There is some good information at this site.

According to a Nissan forum, the transmission fluid change is a straight drain/refill and pretty straight forward and less work than an oil change. The heavy use change interval is 30K, otherwise, it’s inspected and advised of change which seems what they are doing. The posts said the fluid can get “nasty” (whatever that means) if left unchanged.

It seems to be something you can easily do yourself, and as such 40k doesn’t seem unreasonable. I’m still struggling with everyone’s fear of the high cost of repairing, replacing these things when a regular auto work is one of the most expensive component work already. Subaru feels theirs is so maintenance free and durable, it will save cost of repair and maintenance over the life of the car. There certainly are fewer moving parts. I say we’re just giving “chicken little” opinions.
Change it yourself ! Move on…

What I will give everyone is that the high repair/replacement cost is related to having work done by a dealer and not unprepared independents. That’s the basis of the fear, not the transmission itself IMO.