The Top 6 Problems You Should Know About the Nissan CVT Transmission

The transmission system plays a crucial role in the operation of any vehicle, and Nissan understands this quite well. That's why the company has introduced several car innovations such as its CVT technology.  Continuous variable transmission (CVT) is an automatic transmission technology that  utilizes a system of belts or chains connected to pulleys or cones. These pulleys can adjust their sizes and positions, allowing for adaptive gear ratios. 

In a Nissan CVT transmission, hydraulic pumps are connected to the pulleys, controlling the movement of the transmission fluid. When the driver accelerates, the hydraulic pumps manipulate the pulleys to find the optimal gear ratio based on the vehicle's speed and load.

The transmission control module also considers engine speed, throttle position, and vehicle movement to adjust the gear ratio.

nissan car

Nissan Transmission Lifespan

Various factors, including driving habits, maintenance records, and environmental conditions can influence the life span of a Nissan transmission. Generally, if it's well-maintained, the transmission system can endure up to 100,000 miles or even more.

However, it's essential to emphasize the significance of adhering to the manufacturer's recommended maintenance schedule.

This is particularly true when it comes to transmission inspections. Additionally, adopting conservative driving practices, refraining from excessive speeds, and avoiding overloading the vehicle can extend the transmission's life span.

Is Nissan CVT reliable?

Nissan has faced transmission problems with some of its models over the years. Examples include the 2004-2009 Nissan Murano, the 2004-2006 Nissan Maxima, and the 2005-2007 Nissan Pathfinder.

Nevertheless, Nissan has been proactive in addressing these issues. The company extended warranties and even issued recalls to resolve the problem. Also, it should be noted that Nissan has since improved its CVT technology, reducing the number of reported issues with more recent models.

If you're considering purchasing a Nissan vehicle with the continuously variable transmission technology, it's best to test drive the car beforehand. Pay attention to the transmission's performance during acceleration and shifting to assess its smoothness and reliability.

Common Nissan CVT Transmission Problems  

While Nissan's CVT is known for its smooth and efficient performance, it has its notorious side. Here are some of its common issues:


Some Nissan owners have reported experiencing shuddering or vibrations in their cars. You can feel this abnormal movement or jolt through the steering wheel, seats, pedals, or other parts of the vehicle. It is most noticeable at low speeds or when starting from a stop.

Fluid Leaks

Reports have surfaced regarding transmission fluid leakage in Nissan's CVT. Transmission fluid is vital for lubricating moving parts of a car and in regulating temperature. Leakage can lead to overheating, gear slipping, and potential damage to the entire transmission system.


Nissan CVTs are known to overheat, causing the transmission fluid to break down and lose its ability to lubricate and cool the different components effectively. This can result in accelerated wear, internal damage, and transmission failure. Overheating can degrade or melt seals and gaskets, leading to fluid leaks and further transmission damage.

nissan car

Whining Noise

A common complaint with the CVT is a whining noise during acceleration or deceleration. This may indicate worn-out bearings or gears within the transmission, suggesting potential system failure, for which you may need services for auto repair in Centennial, CO.

Delayed Engagement

Some Nissan CVT transmissions exhibit delayed engagement when shifting from park to drive or reverse.

This problem can make it challenging to operate the vehicle smoothly, as the selected gear may not engage promptly, affecting safe driving.

Loss of Power

Transmission failure, particularly while merging or passing on a highway, can be hazardous.This issue poses severe consequences for Nissan car owners, especially when they are on the road.

The Nissan Response

Nissan has acknowledged the issues experienced in some of their vehicles that have been equipped with CVT technology. To address these concerns, the company has taken several proactive measures. This includes extending the warranty on vehicle models running on CVT to demonstrate their commitment to customer satisfaction. In addition, the powertrain warranty on 2003-2010 Nissan cars has been extended to 10 years or 120,000 miles, providing owners with additional coverage.

Furthermore, Nissan has actively issued technical service bulletins (TSBs) to their dealerships. These serve as guides when diagnosing and repairing Nissan transmission problems, ensuring that customers receive effective solutions.


Nissan's CVT technology delivers a smooth and efficient driving experience while offering improved fuel economy compared to traditional automatic transmissions. However, proper maintenance is crucial to ensure its long-term reliability, just like any transmission system. It is advisable that you schedule regular servicing for your Nissan vehicle and have any potential issues promptly addressed to prevent further damage.

If you encounter Nissan transmission problems, it's best to bring the car to a reputable Nissan auto shop for a thorough diagnosis and immediate repairs as covered under warranty or recall programs. It's also worth noting that you can easily resolve transmission issues through diligent maintenance. By taking a proactive approach, you can help ensure the optimal performance and longevity of your Nissan CVT.

Author - Aleksandra Djurdjevic
Aleksandra Djurdjevic          

Senior Content Creator

Aleksandra Djurdjevic is a senior writer and editor, covering motorcycle adventures, biker tips and tricks and general exploring on two wheels. She has previously worked as ESL teacher for English Tochka. Aleksandra graduated from the Comparative Literature department at the Faculty of Philosophy in Serbia. Aleksandra’s love for the biking and adventure, getting out on the open road, year after year across the planet helps her continue to be a top expert at RMJ.



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