Nissan Transmissions:
Top 9 Things To Know About CVT Problems

Does your Nissan slip, jerk, lurch or stall?
It may be your CVT transmission. Learn how to defend your lemon law rights.

The first automaker to popularize the continuously variable transmission (CVT), Nissan promised that the CVT-equipped vehicles would have better fuel economy, easier driving on hills and a smoother driving experience. However, as early as 2009, Nissans with CVT transmissions were riddled with issues such as slipping, jerking, lurching and stalling.

Class action lawsuits filed against Nissan alleged that there was a stark difference between how these Nissan transmissions supposedly worked and how they actually worked. The actual performance – slipping, jerking and stalling – puts drivers at increased risk of crashes and injuries. These lawsuits allege that Nissan refused to admit the CVT transmission was defective and tried to disguise the CVT defects with shoddy repairs. Certain lawsuits have since settled, but Nissan continues to put these faulty CVTs in newer models.

If your Nissan slips, jerks, stalls or overheats, the problem may lie in your CVT transmission. If Nissan or its dealerships cannot seem to fix your vehicle problems, you may be entitled to cash compensation, a vehicle replacement or a full refund under the California Lemon Law. Complete our consultation form to learn more about your rights.


1. How do I know if my Nissan CVT transmission is defective?

Your Nissan vehicle may be a lemon if Nissan or its dealerships couldn’t fix the faulty parts within a “reasonable” number of attempts. Common Nissan CVT transmission problems include:

  • Delayed Acceleration
  • Lurching and Jerking
  • Transmission Slipping
  • Shaking and Shuddering
  • Vehicle Hesitation or Stalling
  • Burning Smells 
  • Coolant/Fluid Leaks
  • Transmission Overheating
  • Engine Revving
  • Strange Shifting Noises
  • Premature Transmission Failure

When power or acceleration problems occur in places like stops, freeway ramps, intersections and highways, drivers face a greater risk of getting rear-ended or causing a crash.

2. What Nissan vehicles still have the CVT transmission problems?

Despite settling multiple class action lawsuits, Nissan still equips these vehicles with CVT transmissions:

  • 2018–2022 Nissan Sentra
  • 2017–2022 Nissan Altima
  • 2016–2022 Nissan Maxima
  • 2015–2022 Nissan Murano 
  • 2019–2021 Nissan Pathfinder 
  • 2015–2017 Nissan Quest
  • 2019–2022 Nissan Rogue 
  • 2018–2012 Nissan Versa

If you have one of the above Nissan vehicles and experience transmission issues that seemingly cannot be fixed, your vehicle may be considered defective. Call us at 877-222-2222 for a free consultation today.

3. How has Nissan responded to these CVT problems?

Nissan has settled multiple Nissan CVT transmission cases. The following vehicles are included in Nissan CVT class action lawsuits that have already reached settlement:

  • 2014–2018 Nissan Rogue
  • 2015–2018 Nissan Pathfinder
  • 2015–2018 Infiniti QX60
  • 2013–2017 Nissan Sentra
  • 2014–2017 Nissan Versa
  • 2013–2016 Nissan Altima
  • 2013–2017 Nissan Juke

*Knight Law Group cannot take CVT transmission lemon cases for the vehicles listed above UNLESS you opted out before the opt-out deadline. However, if you have one of the vehicles above and are experiencing issues in a different vehicle component (i.e. engine, electrical system and more), contact us for a free consultation at 877-222-2222.

If you have a 2017 or newer Nissan Altima, a 2018 or newer Nissan Sentra or Versa, or a 2019 or newer Nissan Rogue or Pathfinder, we may still take a CVT transmission lemon case.

Many consumers in these settlements received warranty extensions and reimbursement payments for out-of-pocket repairs. Despite these settlements and payouts, Nissan continued to equip newer vehicles with these faulty CVT transmissions.

If you did not opt out of these lawsuits before the opt-out deadline, you remain automatically included. However, that does not mean you automatically qualify for settlement rewards. Settlements often place limits on who qualifies for payouts or repairs offered. That is why opting out of class action lawsuits is key to retaining your lemon law rights.  

4. How does Nissan’s CVT transmission work?

Nissan’s CVT transmission uses a system of belts and pulleys. This belt is made of metal links and connects a pair of adjustable pulleys. This system adjusts the gear ratio of the transmission. In theory, CVT transmissions have an “infinite” number of gears. That way, a driver doesn’t need to switch or “shift” gears while speeding up, slowing down, or dealing with changes in driving environments.

A visual representation of the Nissan CVT and its pulley system. With this transmission, the steel belt connects the pulleys. The adjusting pulleys change when the driver changes gears. While in high gear, the driven pulley increases in radius and the driver pulley decreases in radius. While in low gear, the opposite happens.

5. Who makes this Nissan transmission?

JATCO Ltd. (Japanese Automatic Transmission Company) makes Nissan’s continuously variable transmissions (CVTs). The company makes automatic transmissions for cars. As of 2015, Nissan has a 75% equity stake in JATCO, which has also supplied its CVT transmissions to Chrysler, General Motors, Mitsubishi and Suzuki.

6. Has Nissan found a fix for the CVT transmission?

No. Nissan allegedly knew about the CVT transmission problems since 2009. These problems include being prone to overheating, having shorter lifespans than conventional transmissions, and being much harder to repair.

Nissan tried to fix or disguise the CVT transmission juddering problem by:

  • Reprogramming the Transmission Control Unit to stop the CVT belt from slipping
  • Replacing the assemblies for the Continuously Variable Transmission
  • Replacing the transmission’s valve body

According to these lawsuits, none of these solutions worked. Nissan vehicles with CVT transmissions still experience shaking, shuddering, overheating and acceleration problems.

Nissan has since offered extended warranties for many of these vehicles, but has allegedly failed to come clean regarding the vehicle defects. Additionally, Nissan allegedly denies the existence of CVT problems until after the warranties expire. Many affected Nissan active warranties on their Nissan vehicles, yet had to pay Nissan transmission repairs out of pocket anyway.


Consumers in your situation have written complaints about these Nissan CVT transmissions to federal regulators. We’ve gone through the database provided by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and gathered a handful of these complaints (edited for grammar and clarity).

2015 Nissan Murano

Multiple transmission issues. Stuttering and jerking at low speed, especially on a slight grade going up. Loss of power from a stop. Slipping when going into gear then jerking. Shift points appear to be erratic. Probably came on slowly but only got to a dangerous or problematic point near the end of the warranty period. Noticed it badly when attempting to pull out into traffic and almost got side swiped.

2017 Nissan Altima

The CVT transmission is jerking, stalling, shuddering, and hesitating while driving. The car only has 65,000 miles. This issue has been happening randomly for about a week. I do not feel comfortable driving in the car anymore because I feel that this malfunction can eventually cause an accident.

2019 Nissan Sentra

Nissan has placed 7 transmissions in my car and all are the same. I never took their replacement car because when I drove two other of the same models of my car, they did the same thing! Nissan needs to be held accountable and find a way to fix the transmission so it does not do this shudder anymore. I’ve seen many consumer reviews that state the same problem. I feel this is widespread enough and a big enough safety defect that Nissan needs to fix before it kills someone because they can move out of the way in time.

2020 Nissan Versa

[The vehicle is] is already having transmission problems. The car jerks and slows me down, and the steering has gotten almost unmanageable in less than 200 miles. The wheels already need alignment and I’ve hit no curbs. This car is another disaster from Nissan. The CVT was a terrible thing that has happened to vehicles.


7. How do I know if my Nissan transmission is a CVT?

You can find your Nissan transmission type in your owner’s manual. If you lost your owner’s manual, you can find your transmission type on the sticker on the inner frame of your driver’s side door. You can also call your local dealership and provide your VIN, after which the dealership should find your transmission type for you.

8. I think my Nissan transmission is defective. What can I do?

If you suspect that your Nissan CVT transmission is defective, make sure to follow these steps:

  • Take your vehicle to the dealership for repairs. Report your concerns to the technician.
  • Make sure the concerns you reported (no matter how minor) are written down in the repair order.
  • Keep copies of your repair orders. If you lost them, contact the dealership for copies of the repair orders and receipts.
  • Gather other documents, such as warranty information for the vehicle.
  • Contact a lemon law attorney for a free consultation.

Even if your Nissan doesn’t have a CVT or has issues unrelated to your transmission, you should still follow these steps. If you suspect that your vehicle is defective, you want to establish a paper trail for your lemon law claim.

Sometimes, new class action lawsuits will include your vehicle and its defects. Make sure to opt out of these lawsuits before their opt-out deadlines. If you’re not sure whether you’re included, you may contact a lemon law firm to consult you on the specifics. Once you opt out, you can proceed with a lemon law claim.

Not everyone with a defective vehicle is included in a class action lawsuit. If you’re not part of a class lawsuit, you may go straight into the lemon law process.

9. How can a California lemon law attorney help me?

A California lemon law attorney can help owners of new or used vehicles sue the auto manufacturer and get the following rewards: cash compensation, a replacement vehicle or a lemon law buyback. Knight Law Group’s lemon lawyers can help lemon owners get a full refund for their vehicle’s initial purchase price – and then some.

The process starts with an initial consultation. During the initial conversation, you will be asked about your vehicle type, the problems you’ve been having and the repairs that took place. That is the time to ask any questions you may have about the California Lemon Law.

If you are included in a class action lawsuit, we can help you opt out and retain your individual right to sue.

If your Nissan transmission problems seemingly can’t be fixed, fill out the form below or call us at 877-222-2222 for a free consultation.

Knight Law Group is an automotive lemon law firm that exclusively practices in California. If you are a California resident who purchased or leased a defective vehicle from a licensed dealership in California, we may be able to help you get rid of your potential lemon and recover significant cash compensation.

However, we cannot help those who reside outside of California or purchased their vehicle outside of California unless they are active duty members of the Armed Forces, nor will we be able to refer those to a lemon law firm in their states. To learn more about the California Lemon Law and your legal rights, visit our California Lemon Law Guide for more information.