Faulty CVT Transmission: a Common Problem with Nissan Altima
Your Altima. One reliable car, quintessentially Nissan. A proven performer -- the 2023 model's 2.5-liter, four-cylinder can be paired with Intelligent AWD, for instance -- and no less comfortable a ride, and roomy. Tech-savvy as well -- the latest offering boasts everything from a 12.3-inch, multi-touch HD color display to wireless phone charging and a Wi-Fi hotspot.
Coupe or sedan, it's not without a few issues over the years, though. One of the commonest: a faulty continuously variable (CVT) transmission, in models ranging from the Altima of the late 2000s (most often, those from between 2007 and 2010) through the 2020s, at least (2013 to 2022, specifically). Good thing you came to us for info on it; here's what to keep an eye out for, and what to do about it.
The Signs a CVT is Failing
More general symptoms of a bad manual transmission can range from a slippery clutch, high engine rev, and burning following clutch release to hearing grinding or feeling a delay when shifting or even being unable to find the right gear at all. Humming, whining, or clunking, though, or gears slipping, or fluid leaks -- these can mean automatic transmission failure.
Nissan Altima CVT problems show up a little differently. You might see the above signs, sure, but you should also look for:Delay when speeding upStallingLurching, shaking, or shuddering while drivingCoolant and other leaksTransmission overheats
Possible Fixes for a Bad CVT
See any such symptoms, and you should run an inspection, plugging in a code reader to check for error codes (usually, those starting with U0, U1, P0, or P1). If it turns out the transmission's the trouble, and it's out of warranty, you can try a few things.
- Reprogram the transmission control unit (TCU). This job most likely needs to get done at an authorized Nissan service center. It can stop the transmission belt from slipping, which might solve the problem.
- Replace the CVT assembly. This means rebuild the entire transmission, basically.
- Replace the gearbox's valve body. On later Altima models, this is a better option than repair.
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