Nissan Altima CVT
Here's the problem. When moving from a stand-still in slow moving traffic, after reaching about 20mph and coming off the gas pedal, the rpm suddenly drops then shoots back up causing the car to shoot forward. Sometimes I jam on the brakes because it feels like I'm going to hit the car infront of me. Also, when going slowly uphill, the rpm goes down too low causing the car to feel like it has a manaul transmission and is about to stall. Of course this doesn't happen when you take it to the dealer. Anyone else having a similar problem? Again, I only feel these things in traffic.
It seems as if the engine doesn't know which pulley ratio to be using right around that 1,000 rpm mark. I'm taking my car to the dealer today to look at this, and I printed out your posts to show them I'm not just imagining this. I'll let you know how it goes.
Maybe it's simply a software issue and they might release a fix for it.
Thats exactly what it is. the manual says the CVT is pre-programed with about 300 algorithms that control how it shifts.
I have taken it to the dealer and we took out another new car, and it had a similar vibration, even though it was a bit less.
Does anyone else have this problem. Has anyone heard of a fix?
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Nissan better do something about, i have 2 nissans....i am happy with their products, yet this problem is annoying..if they don't fix it i am done with this company
I think this is normal for a Sport sedan. Sometimes, I drive the Altima and I feel the engine speed up a little bit especially when I'm going down the hill.
However, this is not much at all compare to the G35 especially when I use the DS mode (Drive Sport). Actually, I think the Altima is still very soft to my taste.
For you, Altimaowner2, you're just going to end up frustrated with your car, Nissan, and your dealer because it genuinely doesn't sound like there's anything wrong with your car. Instead, it sounds like you learned its quirks a bit too late.
I agree with you, it takes a little time to adjust to the CVT, as it is a different type of transmission. It appears (to me, anyway) that it is much more sensitive to my driving motions. In other words, it seems much more sensitive to how much I depress the accelerator, etc. I really haven't used the manual shift option much, so I can't comment on that aspect.
I have really learned to like the car, but I can see how others could have problems adapting to the car.
Perhaps Nissan should do a bit more to make prospective buyers aware of the differences....
I threw Turanza LS-Vs on my Maxima, and it was night and day. The "Turanzas" that come from the factory on our cars are in no way, shape or form related to the store tires. They last a LOT longer, are quieter, and handle better in bad weather.
I've only had my Altima 850 miles, and I am already looking forward to putting LS-Vs on it to see what the car can really do. :P
Weird thing with the Altima is you can feel like you are flooring it, but if you push a little harder it feels like the pedal clicks a little further and you get more power. I am only sad I didn't get the 3.5 when I floor it, so I mainly stick to my half-way flooring it and get the smooth quick take-off.
CVT gets 2 thumbs up from me.
Couple of observations:
1) The motor has excellent bottom end torque. The CVT still has a torque converter to get the car moving and to engage neutral or reverse. The lowest gear ration allws the car to crawl up fairly steep grades in gear (no torque converter slip) as low as 5-6mph.
2) For economy, the CVT attempt to operate the engine as low as 1300- 1500RPM until it reaches it's highest ratio (at around 35mph). thsi does cause some "booming" due ot the low RPM's. I think Nissan could add soem active engine mounts of noise cancellation to help this (Honda NEEDS this when running on 3 or 4 cylinders on it's V6 for hte same reason).
3) EVERY automatic I've ever drien at times uses too low of a gear causing the "booming" sound. They only did it at a couple of speed sranges and as soon as you hit the gas the torque converter unloocked. On the CVT with the torquey 2.5, it can hold 1500RPM from 5mph-35mph. My '04 Honda Accord 5 speed automatic always got into 5th gear really early (35mph) and made a booming sound.
4) The best atribute of the CVT is that it's incredibly responsive, there's no waiting for a downshift.
5) My Honda Accord also used to have the RPM's jump and hte engien braking change as it downshifted while slowing down. At 10mph, my braking force would change dramatically. I haven't noticed this with the Altima, but I don't drive it aggressively in traffic. I suspect that when accleratign and braking hard in stop and go traffic, this could happen. I'll find out this Fall when my wfie and I drive back to my parents in Detroit, MI. I always forget how aggressive and fast they drive out there.
6) You do need to retrain you foot and learn to drive smoothly to get the most out of the transmission.
Don't get me wrong, the Accord has an excellent automatic trnsmission. Very responsive, but when I want to pass on a 2 lane road, I get instant power with the Altima. On the Honda and my wife's previous Altima, you have to anticipate your move sicne the transmission needed a 1/2 second to get in the right gear and provides no accelration at that moment. On the Altima accelration start immediately and increases as hte gear ratio drops as needed.
Form a engineering standpoint. What's ideal about the CVT is that the throttle positon causes an increse in RPM linerarly. Therefore horesepower increases almost directly porportionally to throttle position since the 2.5 motor has a very flat torque curve and HP is constant since you are at a constant RPM. Very similar to thrust from a jet turbine. IN a conventional automatic the RPM's change and therefore the HP varies between the shifts.
The only downside of the CVT is that hydralic force is needed to hold the gear ratio. So there are some losses with the hydralic pump. Thsi might explain why the RPM's jump around at low RPM's as the car is transitioning possibly form the torque converter to the CVT and the hydalic pump suddenly puts a load on the engine at the same time the torque converter locks up.
Here's how that works. The CVT's lowest ratio would allow for lets say 4000RPM at 15mph. If you acclerate hard, the torque converter must "slip" all the way until it can lock up when it reaches the same speed at the lowest gear range in the CVT. To make the car feel responsive and not bog down when you hit the gas, it takes some fancy "footwork" between the torque converter, throttle and CVT to make them all match up under 20mph. Above 20-25mph, you're pretty much locked up 100% on the CVT and it behaves in many ways more like a manual transmission with an fly by wire throttle except that the gear ratios are infinitly vairable between the max and mimimum ranges.
This car is a great car. The CVT is very responsive, the interior is nice on the S and wonderful on the SL, the ride is very sporty, responsive, and comfortable, and the car gets great gas mileage for the power it puts out. People need to stop complaining. Either enjoy the car or trade it for something else. I love my 2.5 SL, and I have no intention of trading it just because of the CVT has a couple drawbacks. The advantages more than make up for its shortcomings.
However, I experience an annoying slow pulsation in "cruise" when going downhill.
It is certainly tolerable, but noticeable. I assume it's the combination o CVT and throttle being confused.............. No biggie.
The engine spins about 2000rpm at 60mph in 6th, yet when you need to accelerate more, it simply & instantly gathers speed, drama-free, like there's a giant, torque-monster Cummins diesel under the hood.
By the same token, the motor & soundproofing are good enough that I've accidentally left it in 4th gear for a few 60mph freeway miles, and only a glance at the tach revealed my error.
In 9000 miles, I've yet to feel the need for revving past 4000rpm (except to pass a long tractor-trailer on a 2-lane road).
BTW -our last tank got us 31.5 mpg (calculated by hand) in mixed city/fwy driving.
But apparently we're all crazy and should just be quiet and enjoy the jerkiness.
You have a choice:
1. Go get a car with a regular automatic that has several larger shifts that are dictated by gear placement.
2. Enjoy the Altima and ignore its slight quirkiness at lower speeds. Even with these micro-jerks, it's still the smoothest transmission on the market.
It was making it's normal noises, but when I sped up to about 40 mph, I kept hearing a LOUD grinding type mechanical noise from engine. I thought it was something else. Then when I stopped the sound stopped too. That's when I realized that my gear shift was accidentally on the manual side.
It's been driving fine since the incident, but have I damaged anything??
When I go for my first service checkup, what should I tell them to check out?
When I go for my first service checkup, what should I tell them to check out?
It depends. If the car is still in its break-in period (first 1000-1200 miles), then it couldn't hurt to ask. However, if you're out of that break-in period, you shouldn't worry about it.
My '08 Altima 2.5 SL has 14k miles on it now, and I take it onto some curvy mountain roads quite a bit. While I drive it, I try and keep the revs above 3k so that power is always on tap. I've done this many times, and the engine is just as happy as the day I bought it. The car is built for this. If it wasn't, it wouldn't have a 6-speed manual mode.
As for the reliability, Nissan says that their CVT has been (bassed on waranty claim numbers) more reliable than their automatic transmission. Now that what nissan says, but I tend to agree with them. I do not believe they would expanding their use if they knew they were inferior. It just wouldn't make sense from a business standpoint.
But one way to look at the CVT is like this:
Basically, it consists of two pullies connected with a belt (chain). There are no gears, gear cluster or any of the other parts in a conventional automatic transmission. That pretty much means there are far fewer things to go wrong with it.
Personally, I would see no reason to worry about it. they're not new. Nissan first started using them with the murano back in 2002 or something like that. and now, with several generations of them having been made, the bugs and quirks have been worked out.
There are lots of forums on the web with people complaining about their reliability and Nissan's inability/lack of motivation to fix them. I've already been told that tranny shops aren't seeing them in for repairs b/c you can't repair them. And they're not getting the Altima's in for replacement as it's cheaper to just get it done through Nissan directly...sort of a captive market created by Nissan.
Consumer's reports say nothing bad at all about the CVT transmission. I do absolutely service my current car as much as required and always do the "recommended" items just to spoil it so it treats me better in the long run.
I'm still really on the fence with this.
I purchase a 2007 Altima in July of 2007 and due to my long commute to/from work, I've place a lot of miles on the vehicle. After hearing an unusual noise, I had the dealership look at it, they told me I need a new transmission. parts cannot be replace, you must purchase the entire tranny. I only have 66,000 miles on the car. Of course they do not want to provide any assistance for replacement to fix the car. I would not recommend purchasing Nissan vehicles.
I returned to the Service Manager to plea my case and is currently waiting for a response.
Transmission shops will replace them, and are probably cheaper than a dealership. Like I told you before, they are actually much less complicated than an automatic transmission. And don't put much stock into what you see on message board on the internet. People seldom go to message boards for any other reason than to complain, vent, and talk bad about the car they're having problems with. nothing wrong with that, it is what it is.
As for you choice, thats a tough decision to make. I own both a civic and an altima; and both are great cars.
but which ever one you get, BUY THE EXTENDED WARRANTY! I can't overstate that enough. first off, you can get them cheap. Dealerships love to sell them, and will give you a great deal on one if you push for it. getting one for half the price they initially offer you in not uncommon. And second, fixing cars is expensive. Auto or CVT, replacing (or in the case of an auto, rebuilding) will cost thousands. And even honda (despite their stellar record) have had problems with their auto transmissions before. but aside from transmissions, it just isn't that hard to need a thousand or more in repairs for a car. It's just not worth taking the chance.
I totally agree with you about internet hype and I take everything with a grain of salt.
Regarding the Extended warranty, i agree for the Altima it's probably a good buy. A friend of mine who knows tonnes about cars and knows that I'd probably buy the Altima even if I knew there were inherent problems with it suggested getting the extended warranty too. I very well may try to do that and haggle the guy on the price. I'm in Canada so I'm not sure how much they will haggle on the price of that like they do in the US. I will definitely try though...that's just my nature.
Thank you so much for the info so far. I really appreciate it. Any other insights are gladly welcomed as it sounds like we think on the same wavelength.
another thing you might want to know about CVT' is, nissan is not the first company to use them. ford used them before, as has subaru. and I believe both toyota and honda offer them in foreign markets. Nissan is simply the first company to make widespread use of them in the all so important North American market. the CVT is neither new, nor revolutionary. The only two factors that have held them back are finding a material for the belt that will hold up in higher torque and HP cars, and public acceptance. Nissan solved the first, and is working on the second.
as for warranties, the transmission is just one reason to get one. anything on a car can cost a fortune to fix. even something as simple as a power window motor can run $600 to fix. A blown head gasket can run $1600. so much depends on the car. you could have a $25 doallar part that requires 15 hours of labor to replace, and end up running 3k to do. I could go on, but I'm sure you get the point.
As for the cost, I could be wrong, as I'm not a car salesman; but I believe the finance people get a financial incentive to sell those things. I'm also pretty sure there is a HUGE mark up on them. Hence why the dealerships love to sell them. but If you hold out and bargain hard, you should be able to get a platinum 10yr 100k extended warranty for somewhere between 1000 and 1500. yea, thats a good chunk of money. but having spent nearly 20k on the car, 10 years of worry free driving makes it seem like a good deal to me.
I have an Altima 2.5s 2008 with CVT tran. and I would like to change this one with manual tran
Could someone give me informations about the cost and if it posibile to be done.
You made a great choice. I wish you years of great fun and operation in your new car.
BTW, before that I drove a Maxima (V6) for 6+ years and am so glad that I "downsized" - a lot better fuel economy. Plus, I don't miss that torque when accelerating.....
However, I do get some jerkiness at speeds under 40mph. My guess is it's just because the CVT has a limited number of set ratios at lower RPMs. I know it's the CVT "shift-logic" because if you move it over to manual mode and shift it that way, the engine is very smooth and pretty refined feeling. There's absolutely no jerking in manual mode other than what you feel when you shift between ratios.
(Now enter theory stuff)
I believe that with the next generation of Altima we'll see both engines get significantly redesigned. Now that Nissan has established that CVT-based vehicles are what they wish to pursue, I think they're going to start designing their engines around this. As of right now, they're currently designing the CVT to be compatible with their chosen engines. However, if you design the ENGINE to also be compatible with the CVT, the refinement will reach a whole new level.
The current engines are very content with a manual gearbox, but a little sluggish with the CVT. That's because the engines aren't designed to take advantage of a CVT's gearless system. In other words, the engines have very specific power bands, and thus, it only feels energetic when the engine is in that power band. I believe we're going to see more torque and horsepower from lower RPMs and the peak will be far lower in the rev-band as well. That way, cars will feel much more energetic from a stop AND there won't be a "flat line" on power between 2000-3000RPMs (in the 4-cyl). This should also eliminate jerkiness from the lower revs, as the CVT won't have to shift as much to keep the power up.
1st generation CVT: high rev acceleration, rubber-band feeling
2nd (current) generation CVT: smoother acceleration, higher horsepower engines
3rd (future) generation CVT: engines designed for CVT, MUCH quicker acceleration, more linear power delivery.
This is only speculation, but if you're a fan of CVT based Nissan cars, I think it's about to get a lot better in the 3rd generation. The first 2 generations were test beds to see if it would work. Now that Nissan knows it works (and is selling well) they should invest a lot more in their powerplants this time around. Only time will tell though.
The only thing that I have found disappointing in the Altima Coupe is the electronics. My 2000 Ford Expedition's electronics were much better in the fact that the drivers seat, inside rear view mirror, and outside rear view mirrors could be set and would adjust according to which remote control was used. Am also disappointed in the navigation system, it cannot find housing tracks that have been in existance for 10 plus years! For the price of it, it should be up to date one would assume.
I did my own research and Edmunds was one place. It basically comes down to this. I believe it's the 3rd generation of the CVT. It's been in some of the Nissan fleet since 2003 when they introduced it in the 2003 Murano. THere were known issues with it breaking down around 120,000 kms which is just after the warranty period. To quell any issues, you could consider getting the extended warranty.
Some people complain about noises at lot speeds. That's just the CVT tranny doing it's thing and it's not really loud at all. A test drive will show you that. I've had mine for a month now and have zero complaints.
This may be true with the 4 cylinders, but I find my 3.5 V-6 to have tremendous pull at all speeds. I love the CVT--in fact it was the reason I decided on a Nissan. I had had experience with a CVT when I test drove a Saturn several years earlier, and altho I didn't particularly care for the car itself, I liked the utter smoothness of the transmission. Also, in the Saturn any desired increase in speed was accompanied by a tremendous revving of the engine almost to 6,000 RPM. None of this is present in the Nissan--the engine seems to be able to increase speed without having to scream itself to death.
"3rd (future) generation CVT: engines designed for CVT, MUCH quicker acceleration, more linear power delivery"
There's just one problem--with the influence of the government pushing for lower emissions and higher gas mileage, we may enter another era similar to the 70's when cars actually lost ground in the areas of horsepower and performance. The more powerful V-6 may not be made available in all the models that it is currently available in. In fact, I average 24-26 MPG in my car consistenly.