One of its best-selling cars of Nissan is the Nissan Altima. However, throughout its history, some issues have troubled buyers of this vehicle. In this article, I’ll discuss Nissan Altima transmission problems.
Nissan Altima owners have experienced issues with their vehicles, the worst of which is problems with its continuously variable transmission (CVT). They complained about feeling a jerking sensation or a shudder when accelerating and delayed throttle response. Some Altima models also experienced transmission failure.
Before a Nissan Altima displays issues with its transmission, it will first show one or more symptoms. These symptoms include transmission producing a growling noise; the gear shift being stuck in the ‘Park’ position, vibrations in the transmission, delayed or hesitant acceleration, transmission not working, and many more.
Read on to learn more about the transmission problems of the Nissan Altima and the transmission problems of specific models of the Nissan Altima.
Nissan Altima Transmission Problems
Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) Issues
While the Nissan Altima is one of Nissan’s best-selling cars, it has one of the worst problems that an owner can experience. This car has issues with its continuously variable transmission (CVT). Owners have felt a jerking sensation or a shudder when accelerating.
They also experienced delayed throttle response. Some owners even have their Altima’s transmission completely failing.
If you are considering buying one, you need to know the signs that point to a future transmission problem in a Nissan Altima.
Symptoms of a Failing Transmission of an Altima
Some of the symptoms of a failing transmission of an Altima are the following:
- Leaks in the transmission fluid
- Engine hesitancy when accelerating
- Vibrating transmission
- The gear shift is stuck in the ‘Park’ position
- Torque converter failure
- Strange growling noise coming from the transmission
- Not working transmission
Nissan Altima’s Physical Attributes
As far as its physical attributes are concerned, you cannot find fault in the Nissan Altima. It has a sleek design, it has a roomy interior, and ample space in the trunk, and it will give you remarkable fuel economy.
However, the Nissan Altima has its share of problems and shortcomings, just like any other car. So, if you are considering buying a Nissan Altima, you should be aware of the issues that may impact its cost of ownership. Its transmission problems are one of the issues that you should focus on.
When Did Nissan Start Using CVT?
Nissan’s CVT Was Launched in 2002
Nissan launched its version of CVT in 2002. The car manufacturer was one of the first car makers that adopt the CVT in most of its vehicles, including its SUVs. So, Nissan was considered the car maker that ushered in the CVT in the car industry.
CVT Was Developed in 1992
Nissan started developing its CVT in 1992. It only deployed the CVT in its vehicles around 2003. But contrary to what they had envisioned, their CVT version seemed to hinder their ability to grow and advance.
Reliable and Durable CVT Due to Less Friction and Heat Exposure
Altima’s manufacturer was constantly enhancing its CVT version, and consumers were forced to deal with the adverse effects of the CVT in its developmental stage. The company believed its CVT version is reliable and durable because it has less friction and heat exposure.
However, many Altima owners felt that the defect of the CVT had negated its reliability. It seems that Nissan’s CVT is exposed to friction and heat more than what they were designed to withstand initially.
Advantages of Having a CVT
1. Offers a Smoother Ride
As its name suggests, CVT uses continuous variable transmission. This transmission system uses a pulley or heavy-duty steel belt that allows the gears to move smoothly and continuously.
The CVT does not have gears, so they differ entirely from manual or automatic transmissions. As a result, a vehicle with a CVT transmission offers a smoother ride. It’s just the natural outcome since the transmission shifting is done by a pulley transmission that moves constantly.
2. Improved Fuel Efficiency
The biggest advantage of CVT transmission is improved fuel efficiency. This was the claim of Nissan. It boasts that the Nissan Altima can get between 29 and 32 miles to the gallon.
3. More Powerful Drive
And due to the pulley system design of the CVT, the Nissan Altima can accelerate with power. So, in theory, the CVT transmission system will provide a smoother and more powerful drive.
Did Nissan Extend the Warranty on Its CVT Transmission?
In Nissan’s real-world experience, however, especially for the owners of Nissan vehicles with CVT transmissions, the most costly and consistent issue they have to deal with is their vehicles’ CVT transmissions. Starting with its 2007 models, Nissan has been dealing with CVT transmission issues.
Nissan modified its powertrain warranty for Nissan model years from 2007 to 2010 to deal with CVT issues. The vehicle warranty was amended to 10 years or 120,000 miles.
In other words, Nissan was forced to extend the warranty for the powertrain of its vehicles from 5 years or 60,000 miles to 10 years or 120,000 miles.
What Are the Common Failures in a Nissan CVT Transmission?
Despite the claim of Nissan that its CVT transmission is reliable and durable, many owners of Nissan Altima have reported that the vehicle is unreliable and has issues that can result in costly repair costs.
The most common issues that Nissan Altima owners have reported include:
- Stuttering and shaking,
- Difficulty accelerating, and
- Engine running low and shutting down without warning.
Other Reported Issues
Owners of Nissan Altima also reported the delay in throttle response and spasmodic movements when accelerating. Other reported issues with the Nissan Altima include:
- Transmission belt slippage
- Loss of power
- CVT error message
- Coolant hose leakage
- Transmission jerking
- Premature full transmission issues (in some models)
Does Nissan Have a Recall on CVT Transmission?
Nissan Ignored the Issues Despite Several Complaints
Nissan was aware that its CVT had several defects. However, the car manufacturer ignored the issues and customer complaints instead of admitting them and developing a solution. All the while, it continued to deploy its CVT version in its new vehicle model lineups.
Some Buyers Filed a Class Action Lawsuits Against the Company
Even as some buyers filed class action lawsuits against the company, Nissan still equipped its vehicles with defective CVT components. To this day, the root cause of Nissan’s CVT problems is still unclear. Nissan never shed light on the causes of the transmission issues.
So, some owners and other car manufacturers conducted their investigations to seek answers to the transmission issues of the Nissan Altima.
Investigators Found That Nissan Altima Is Prone to Overheating
These investigators found out that the CVT transmission of Nissan Altima is prone to overheating. This is interesting because Nissan claims its version of CVT is not exposed to too much heat.
While Nissan’s CVT is not exposed to too much heat, the cooler of the CVT may not be able to keep the transmission fluid cool enough to provide the cooling effect that will prevent the system from overheating. If the CVT overheats, it will not function properly.
When this happens, the vehicle will be put in a fail-safe mode or experience a complete failure of the transmission system. Nissan never acknowledged this to be the case.
However, a lot of Nissan Altima owners who took their vehicles to independent mechanics for fixing confirmed that many mechanics have confirmed that this is the primary issue.
How Much Does Transmission Repair Cost?
Fixing CVT transmission problems is a very costly proposition. The cost can range from $3,500 to $5,000 to repair a Nissan CVT transmission.
You should also be aware that a class action lawsuit representing lessees and owners of Nissan Altima, model years 2013 to 2016, has been settled.
However, the Nissan Altima model years 2017 to 2012 is still facing the same safety issues related to Nissan’s CVT transmission. Some buyers are even calling for a recall on their Nissans.
2017 Nissan Altima Transmission Issues
The 2017 Nissan Altima has its share of CVT problems. Here are the details of the CVT issues that this particular Nissan model has encountered:
1. Shuddering and Shaking
Without any warning, the vehicle starts to shake and shimmy. While jerking vigorously, the car slowed to about 10 miles per hour. The car was regularly serviced at a local Nissan dealership. When they examined the vehicle, the dealer said the transmission failed.
The mileage of the car was less than 100,000. This is a safety issue because it happened in traffic.
2. Power Issues
The Nissan Altima SR experienced a delay when accelerating at a stop. It revved up to around 3,500 to 4,000 rpm for a few seconds, even as the pedal was down to the floor. The car is only able to get up to around 20 mph. Then, at last, it will go.
There are no codes on the dash and no Check Engine light. If the driver stops the car, it will reset and have more power.
This was the same thing that happened 14 months ago, and the owner had to fix the transmission. The car has not even run 18,000 miles, and the same issue has cropped up again.
3. Delayed Acceleration
When trying to accelerate fast, the vehicle is long delayed. There is a 5-second delay when it takes off. During idle, the transmission produces a gurgling sound. The rpms were way too high than they should be during acceleration.
This causes the transmission to jerk during slow acceleration, such as when parking. The vehicle pulled out into traffic slowly since it wouldn’t go. But then it took off at full speed.
4. Jerking CVT Transmission
The CVT transmission jerks, stalls, shudders, and hesitates while driving. There is only a total of 65,000 miles on the odometer. This has been happening for around one week. It does not feel comfortable driving this car. Any time it malfunctions, it can cause an accident.
Again, what are the signs of Nissan Altima transmission problems? Thsymptomsns that your Nissan Altima has transmission issues include stuttering, improper shifting, complete transmission failure, and more.
2018 Nissan Altima Transmission Issues
Likewise, CVT problems were also experienced by owners and drivers of the 2018 Nissan Altima.
According to the Nissan dealer, this 2018 Nissan Altima has experienced CVT failure. The dealer claimed that the car’s computer brought up a diagnosis code of P17F0, representing a failed CVT. The vehicle has 73,694 miles, and its warranty expired at 60,000 miles.
The dealer offered to give the owner a 50% goodwill discount since the VIN is different from the other Nissan Altimas that also have failed CVTs.
Another 2018 Nissan Altima owner had their CVT fail while driving. This put their family at risk while stranded on a busy highway. The car stopped functioning without any warning light or indication of an issue.
The dealer acknowledged the issue and said other owners had had the same experience. Even then, the dealer fixed the issue at the owner’s expense. The dealer used an OBD scanner to diagnose the issue, and the scanner turned out transmission failure codes.
2019 Nissan Altima Transmission Issues
The 2019 Nissan Altima also has its share of CVT problems.
The CVT of a 2019 Nissan Altima failed when it stalled at a traffic light in the middle of traffic. When the owner took it to AutoZone for vehicle scanning, they confirmed that the faulty transmission was the culprit.
There were no warning lights or warning messages before the transmission failed. A CVT message only appeared after the car stalled. The car wouldn’t move faster than 5 miles per hour. Sometime, it wouldn’t move at all, even after stepping on the gas pedal.
2020 Nissan Altima Transmission Issues
In the same vein, transmission problems also plagued the 2022 Nissan Altima.
The owner of a 2020 Nissan Altima said that the vehicle would lunge forward. The owner brought the vehicle to a Nissan dealer. When the dealer examined the vehicle, they said it was a transmission failure.
What Are Signs of Nissan Altima Transmission Problems?
You need to know the symptoms of a brewing CVT problem for your safety. Before the CVT of a Nissan Altima go bonkers, some signs will warn you that you are about to face this issue.
Here are some of the warning signs that something is going wrong with the CVT of your Nissan Altima.
- Surging and jerking
- Delayed or poor CVT response
- Strange noise when turning
- Loss of acceleration can be in the form of low idling, difficulty in shifting, vibrating transmission, shifter locking up, defects in the fuel system, or engine dies while driving.
- Warning lights
- Burning smell
- Transmission failure
Will Nissan Pay for Your Transmission?
If you have encountered issues with the CVT of your Nissan Altima, there are certain things you can do to mitigate your problems. You can use the Lemon Law to your advantage. Lemon Law lawyers are experts in helping consumers with their car lemon law claims.
But to benefit from the car Lemon Law, you must do your part. This is how you can do that:
- Keep copies of your vehicle’s repair records and receipts
- Keep track of your vehicle’s condition. Not all defects are the same. There are symptoms that you can’t readily see. You can also misjudge symptoms.
- Ensure that the dealer accurately records all your concerns on your vehicle’s repair or service record.
- Ensure you bring your vehicle for the needed recalls and repairs at an authorized Nissan dealership.
Suppose you take your Nissan Altima to an authorized Nissan dealer for warranty work connected to CVT transmission issues on two or more separate instances. In that case, you may have a lemon that falls under your state’s automotive Lemon Law. This could entitle you to a refund.
Frequently Asked Questions
Perhaps, after reading this article, several questions have come to your mind. Keep on reading, and you may find your answers below:
Does the Nissan Altima Have Transmission Issues?
Unfortunately, the Nissan Altima has several issues with its transmission, especially its CVT transmission.
Owners of this vehicle complained about delayed throttle response and a shudder or jerking sensation during acceleration. Some owners have even complained about complete transmission failure.
What Are the Most Common Cvt Issues Reported by Nissan Altima Owners?
The Nissan Altima CVT transmission seems to have encountered a lot of problems. Some of the most common ones are the following:
- Shaking and stuttering
- Difficulty in accelerating
- Engine running low and shutting down with no warning at all
- Loss of power
- Slipping transmission belt
- Jerking transmission
- Leaking coolant hose
- CVT error message
- Premature full transmission failure
Will Nissan Fix My Transmission?
Yes, Nissan will fix the issues with your Nissan Altima’s CVT. However, the cost of fixing the issues is a different story. If your car is still under an Extended CVT Warranty or the Manufacturer’s Powertrain Warranty, they should replace its transmission for free.
But if your Nissan Altima is already past these warranties, you must shoulder the repair expenses.
Can They Rebuild the Cvt of My Nissan Altima?
Yes, Nissan, or its authorized agent, can repair and rebuild a CVT that has already failed. However, it’s not worth rebuilding the CVT if the transmission cooler of the vehicle caused the failure.
In Closing: Transmission Problems of Nissan Altima
While the Nissan Altima is one of Nissan’s best-selling cars, its owners have experienced issues with their vehicles. The worst issues they have experienced were related to its Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT).
Nissan Altima owners complained about feeling a jerking sensation or a shudder when accelerating, delayed throttle response, and total transmission failure.
A Nissan Altima will first show one or more symptoms before it manifests a transmission problem.
These symptoms include gear shift being stuck in the ‘Park’ position, transmission producing a growling noise, delayed or hesitant acceleration, vibrations in the transmission, and total transmission failure.