Nissan Transmission Repair and Replacement Cost

Nissan has a long history of defective transmissions, so it’s important to keep room in the budget for potential repair or replacement costs.
Written by Drew Waterstreet
Reviewed by Melanie Reiff
Unfortunately, Nissan has a poor reputation for transmission reliability. Minor repairs can be resolved for less than $100, but full-on replacement can cost anywhere from $3,000 to $8,000. Unless your Nissan is still under warranty, you may have to pay for some of these expenses out-of-pocket.
Nissan’s poor reputation for transmission reliability isn’t just based on a few anecdotal incidents, it has been the subject of class-action lawsuits. As a result, many Nissan owners have received an extended warranty or cash reimbursement. If you were not one of the beneficiaries of these lawsuits, you might be curious about your options.
In this article, we will dive deeper into Nissans tumultuous transmission track record, discuss the cost of transmission repair versus replacement, and even explain the warning signs of a faltering transmission.
And as a touch of good news (it seems like we’ll need it), we’ll also show you how
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How much does a Nissan transmission repair cost?

This answer can range from $0 to $8,000, so you may want to cross your fingers and hope for the best! But the exact answer to this case-by-case question depends on two main components:
  • Can your transmission be repaired? Or does it need to be replaced?
  • Does your Nissan powertrain warranty cover repair/replacement?
Follow along as we answer both of these questions and provide more context on how much it will cost to address your Nissan’s transmission troubles.

What does a transmission do?

Your transmission is the mediator of power between the engine and the wheels. Most Nissans throughout the 2000s are equipped with continuously variable transmissions (CVTs). 
Unlike typical automatic transmissions, which have a select number of gears to shift between, the CVT can change the gear ratio forever, optimizing power distribution and increasing fuel efficiency.
This all sounds great, right? Not so fast! 
Nissan’s CVTs are commonly noted as some of the worst transmissions ever built. Continue reading to learn how Nissan has handled this public scrutiny and even how they’ve responded to class-action lawsuits.

Is it cheaper to repair or replace a transmission?

It is undoubtedly cheaper to repair a transmission than to replace it. Best case scenario, your transmission just has a minor issue hindering its performance—like the examples below:
However, if replacement is necessary, you’re looking at a bill between $3,000 and $8,000 for a brand-new CVT transmission. Before you spiral into a panic, you have other options.
You could also go with a remanufactured or rebuilt transmission. This means a Nissan repair specialist will determine if the transmission has enough working parts to be salvaged. If the answer is yes, only the defective parts will be replaced. 
A remanufactured transmission will use original equipment manufacturer (OEM) parts to recoup the transmission to factory standards. This usually costs between $2,000 to $4,000. 
In comparison, a rebuilt transmission will use off-brand, refurbished, or used parts to bring the transmission back to life. It sometimes costs as little as $1,000.
Lastly, you can opt for a used transmission from a salvage vehicle, which generally costs between $800 and $1,500. It is the cheapest replacement option, but its quality and reliability will be lower, and you may have to replace your transmission again before too long.

Does it cost more to repair a manual transmission or an automatic?

Manual transmission repair costs are generally lower than automatic or continuously variable transmissions. This is because manual transmissions have fewer parts and simpler construction, making both repairs and replacements cheaper. 
However, this isn’t a very prevalent question for most Nissan owners. The
are the only two models to offer the option for a manual transmission in 2022. Otherwise, the rest of the lineup is equipped with automatic or continuously variable transmissions.

Common Nissan transmission problems

Nissan has made headlines since the early 2000s, and trust us, not all press is good press. The company has faced several class-action lawsuits for its faulty CVTs
Even though many of these lawsuits were reconciled by
warranty extensions or cash compensation
(follow the link for a $277.7 million example), Nissan refused to admit they knew their transmissions were defective. But doesn’t the peace offering imply some sort of guilty conscience?
We’ll leave that up to the lawyers, but Nissan continues to roll out these CVTs in new models regardless of public uproar. Continue reading to learn which models are most susceptible to transmission issues and warning signs that may indicate your Nissan is the next victim.

What year do Nissans have the most transmission problems?

While any model equipped with Nissan’s continuously variable transmissions (CVTs) may have problems, here are notable model years that you should pay closer attention to:
  • 2018 to 2019 Nissan Versa Note
  • 2015 to 2017 Nissan Quest
  • 2015 to 2021 Nissan Murano
  • 2016 to 2021 Nissan Maxima
  • 2017 to 2021 Nissan Altima
  • 2018 to 2019 Nissan Sentra
  • 2018 to 2021 Nissan Pathfinder
  • 2015 to 2017 Nissan Rogue

Signs your Nissan transmission is going bad

Luckily, it doesn’t take an automobile expert to notice the warning signs of a faulty transmission. If caught early, you can save hundreds by repairing a particular part instead of needing a full-on transmission replacement. Here are the most common indicators you should be aware of:
  • Juddering: a shaking sensation that indicates the belt and pulleys inside the CVT are beginning to deteriorate (diagnostic codes: P17F0 and P17F1)
  • Abnormal noises: grinding sounds that result from worn bearings or issues with the transmission’s belt system
  • Overheating resulting in “limp” mode: the transmission overheats, causing the vehicle to go into a fail-safe or “limp” mode, which is a loss of power
  • Other indicators: you notice dark red
    fluid leaking from your car
    , your
    check engine light turns on
    , or you observe a decrease in performance
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What to do if your Nissan transmission fails

If your Nissan transmission fails, you’ll want to look at your options before heading to the mechanic—especially knowing Nissan’s shaky history.
First, you’ll want to check if your powertrain warranty covers the transmission failure. These policies vary based on the amount of protection you purchased at the vehicle’s point of sale but usually result in $0 in out-of-pocket expenses.
Your second option is to check for any recalls on the particular transmission issue. Your Nissan dealer will generally make you aware of this as a potential solution.
Lastly, you’ll also want to see if your vehicle qualifies for any class-action lawsuits that are open against Nissan. Or if there aren’t any, you may be eligible for a refund or replacement under your
state’s lemon law
, which can protect customers after purchasing defective products.
If none of these alternate routes prove to be fruitful, you will have to seek out a mechanic to get the job done. Independent auto shops often offer excellent customer service and special deals that can lower costs, but a Nissan dealership will have specialized technicians with expertise in fixing transmissions—as we know, they work on a lot of them!

How to maintain your Nissan transmission

Regardless of any defects that Nissan vehicles may have, transmission failure can also be caused by low or contaminated fluid or overstrained demands on the powertrain
To prevent these problems, you should: 
  • Check your transmission fluid every month
  • Use the correct type of transmission fluid as indicated by your Nissan’s owner’s manual
  • Drive more conservatively, lessening the demands of your transmission
  • Regularly replace the transmission filter
  • Allow your vehicle to warm up before you start driving
  • Get an annual transmission inspection
Proper and regular transmission maintenance can extend the life of your Nissan and improve overall efficiency. But, of course, certain mechanical defects can defeat even the most dedicated maintenance schedule.

How to check transmission fluid

If you know how to check your oil, you’re already ahead of the curve. Checking your transmission fluid is similar. 
Here is a quick step-by-step guide if you need a little more direction:
  • Let the vehicle warm up for a few minutes, this allows the fluid to expand correctly.
  • Ensure your transmission fluid is a clear, dark red color. Other colors (brown, black, light pink) may indicate old or contaminated fluid. If you notice any discoloration, you’ll want to replace your transmission fluid completely. Failure to do so could lead to irreparable damage to your transmission. Proceed with this checklist if the color checks out alright.
  • Locate the transmission fluid dipstick. It is usually located toward the back of the engine bay and may need a flathead screwdriver to unlock.
  • Remove the dipstick, wipe it clean, reinsert, and take it out again. 
  • Ensure that fluid reaches the “warm” line on the dipstick. 
  • Add fluid as needed, checking the level with the dipstick in between. 
  • Replace the dipstick.
Congrats, you’ve learned how to check your transmission fluid! While simple, it’s still a repeatable process that can help you spot a minor problem before it becomes severe. However, if you have any further concerns upon completing your checklist, it’s best to bring your Nissan to the professionals.

How to save on Nissan insurance costs

Unfortunately, most
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