Transmission fluid?

It’s my understanding that I need to change the transmission fluid to my little Nissan Versa every 60,000 miles. It’s now over 80,000 so hopefully it’s not too late to change it? Also, as far as what kind of shop has the expertise with transmission fluid, can a Firestone do an adequate job? I called one and said that transmissions wasn’t their specialty and decided that “no” they wouldn’t do it. I called another one who said “yes” they could. I’m thinking that changing a fluid is probably not a big deal so maybe a tire shop, like Firestone, could probably do it? On the other hand, if I took it to a AAMCO (or some other transmission specialty shop) they could find something wrong with it when, in fact, they’re just cheating me over something that I don’t truly need. Since Firestone doesn’t specialize in transmissions then they might not be as likely to find anything particularly wrong when there’s no motivation to do so as they wouldn’t be able to fix it. Make sense? (I have good luck with my local Firestone in the past which is why I’m leaning to have them service it.) Thanks.

Forget about all the places you mentioned and find an independent transmission shop.


And make sure they use Nissan CVT fluid. I’d pay extra if need be.


Definitely take it to a transmission shop. Preferably one that only works on transmissions, since you have a CVT.

My local garage told me they are “getting out of the transmission business”, especially on higher mileage transmissions. His logic is if the customer’s old transmission suddenly blows up after they do a fluid change, suddenly he’s buying the customer a new transmission. Can’t say I blame him there.

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I second that comment… which leads me to suggest you do this at a Nissan dealer.


… and if Nissan decides to roll a “voluntary warranty period extension” for your car in the future (which they did more than once for their never-ending CVT disaster), you will get better chances they will honor the warranty


I do tranny fluid every 30k regardless.


These CVT transmissions are extremely picky when it comes to using the proper fluid and keeping it filled correctly. I would take no chances trying to save a little money, and instead have the fluid and filter changed at a Nissan dealer, who will use the official Nissan CVT fluid. Other shops will often use a so-called “universal” transmission fluid, which in reality is anything but universal.

Nissan has been having trouble with CVT trannys for years. we had a 2008 altima. we got a letter from Nissan extending the tranny warranty to 10 years or 100k miles. we went through 3 trannys under the warranty. 1 every 25k. and sold it at 89k miles. I have heard people with 2018 vehicles still having problems with the Nissan CVT.

manufacturer fluid is often colored very differently from the “generic” one, mostly to make sure that at the point where warranty related question is raised it’s very clear that the maintenance was done “somehow else”… with quite predictable outcome in claim denial…

Is there any record of excess trouble with Toyota or Honda CVTs?
I have one of each.

the new Pathfinder is proudly marketed as NOT having CVT :slight_smile:

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Nissan CVT problems continue — Ricks Free Auto Repair Advice Ricks Free Auto Repair Advice | Automotive Repair Tips and How-To

The best shop for this imo is either the dealership or a well-recommended independent shop. It can be somewhat technically complicated, and it must be done absolutely correctly. Avoid taking it to a shop for which you have no personal recommendation. If you don’t want to use the dealership, ask your friends, co-workers, family members etc which inde shop they use for their cars.

Yes, it is a good idea to always follow the manufacturer’s maintenance intervals. And, yes, it is better to do this late than not to do it at all.

Just my 2 cents, but I believe that every automatic should be serviced at 30k miles intervals with 40k being the max. If severe conditions are present then more often than that. This is especially true of CVTs.

I personally know someone who bought a new Dodge over a decade ago with a CVT. I saw the owners manual on that vehicle when new and it stated 30k miles on CVT fluid changes. My suggestion was you better do it.
They did not do this and at around 80k miles the CVT was beginning to fail so off as a trade-in it went…

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Nissan seems to be abandoning CVT’s on some vehicles. Their new 2020 Pathfinder now has a 9-speed tranny.

can you do it yourself? buy the fluid at WMT or dealer and do it yourself. There are lots of youtube videos that will show you how to do it.

I know you mean well but the CVT is a whole different problematic animal, not a standard transmission. The fluid will not be at Walmart and the kid at a transmission shop should not be trusted on one of these, if for no other reason, warranty when they break. Just take it to the dealer and pay the price.

I have had a trusted transmission shop that I’ve used for probably 30 years. Last time there to have my fluid changed my normal guy had retired. Paid the bill which was a little less than expected and on my way. After looking at everything when I got home, I found out the kid changed my engine oil not transmission fluid. Yeah sure they were sorry etc. but still just take it to the dealer and let them screw it up.


I’d investigate doing it yourself. I’d buy the fluid at the dealer. If it has a drain plug, no problem. Measure what drains out, pour that amount back in. If there’s no drain plug, it might be more of a pain than it’s worth. I wish they still put a drain plug in all of them.

My wife’s “sealed for life” trans on her Toyota has a drain plug. That’s kinda weird, if you think about it. Why would something that’s touted as “sealed for life” have a drain plug? :thinking:

what I dont like is when they seal the dipstick tube and you cant even check the fluid level.