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Thread: Do you change your CVT fluid every 30,000 miles?

  1. #1

    Do you change your CVT fluid every 30,000 miles?

    I had my dealer change my CVT fluid at 41,500 miles. I had to insist that they do the change, since they told me it was not necessary. I just called for an appointment to change it again at 86,000 miles and they told me it should be done every 30,000 miles! I wonder what the change in position is. Is it dealer profit, or Nissan's experience with CVT's going bad?

  2. #2
    Senior Administrator palmerwmd's Avatar
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    the CVT's are very solid.

    The maintenance guidance is every 50,000 is used hard ( trailer, all urban etc) and if memory serves not all all in easy use ( tho i gotta chekc on that).

    I am at 32,000 miles and will do at 50,000 and then not again until 100,000 (or more since the first fluid replacement removes the of early wear particles and is the most valuable one to do)
    "In the end we all just play the roles given us... Sometimes they dont fit so well,... but I guess we make do."

    Dont forget MultiMedia forums!!
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    1989 240SX Coupe, Silvia front SR20 (Sold)
    91,91,92,94 Q45's (lost one to chainguides, one totaled, others sold)
    2002 Maxima (pearl, traded in)
    2003 Sentra SER Spec V (totaled)
    2003 G35 Coupe (vandalized)
    2004 350Z (DB ATI Supercharged 9psi , various Mods, 411 rwhp sold to CHRIS350Z here on FA)
    2004 350Z (PPW, graphics Kits, Vortech 8psi , LOTS of bolt-ons, full Nismo suspension, BBK etc etc)
    2009 Nissan Maxima Prec. Grey

  3. #3
    Knowing what I know now, I would probably do my first change at around 30,000 miles and then every subsequent one every 50,000 or 60,000. What Fred said about early wear particles is a concern. I did my Altima every 60,000 until I started to feel some odd behavior last winter at just over 150,000, then did my most recent change at a 30,000 mile interval. It turns out that it was the crank position sensor pooping the bed, NOT my transmission. Thank goodness! Anyway, I don't have a CVT, but I am going into uncharted territory with my Jatco 4-speed automatic and I'd like for it to last forever, maybe longer. Come Christmas time, my 2005 Altima will be the highest-mileage car that my family has ever had. And the 2003 G35 is only about 10,000 miles behind it!

    The CVT is solid. There is a poster here who put 120,000 (if I recall correctly) miles on one without problem. I read an Altima forum a few years ago with a poster who had a 2008 with about 150,000 miles on his second CVT (original was replaced under warranty). The Altima seems to be a good courier/traveling salesman vehicle.
    Last edited by JayG35; 09-12-2013 at 06:13 PM.

  4. #4
    I personally don't think you can ever change fluids too often. Manufacturers want cars to be disposable but trouble free during their warranty period. So while I may not go to the dealer out of warranty I will change fluids more often than what they recommend. I'm also not looking at the dealer for the best advice these days. I'll do my regular tranny at 30K. I've done my transfer case at 15K. But I'm planning on holding onto the car for a bit. You are out of warranty so do as you think best, based on your gut.

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by JayG35 View Post
    Knowing what I know now, I would probably do my first change at around 30,000 miles and then every subsequent one every 50,000 or 60,000. What Fred said about early wear particles is a concern. I did my Altima every 60,000 until I started to feel some odd behavior last winter at just over 150,000, then did my most recent change at a 30,000 mile interval. It turns out that it was the crank position sensor pooping the bed, NOT my transmission. Thank goodness! Anyway, I don't have a CVT, but I am going into uncharted territory with my Jatco 4-speed automatic and I'd like for it to last forever, maybe longer. Come Christmas time, my 2005 Altima will be the highest-mileage car that my family has ever had. And the 2003 G35 is only about 10,000 miles behind it!

    The CVT is solid. There is a poster here who put 120,000 (if I recall correctly) miles on one without problem. I read an Altima forum a few years ago with a poster who had a 2008 with about 150,000 miles on his second CVT (original was replaced under warranty). The Altima seems to be a good courier/traveling salesman vehicle.
    I didn't change my fluid until after a 105, 000 and then around 200,000 miles in my Nissan Versa CVT.

  6. #6
    Junior Member Serpent's Avatar
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    I drive fairly aggressive in my '11 maxima. Bought the cvt fluid and will be replacing it myself pretty soon. 35,000 miles on the clock so far. I'll report back about how the condition of the fluid looks.

  7. #7
    Senior Administrator palmerwmd's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Serpent View Post
    I drive fairly aggressive in my '11 maxima. Bought the cvt fluid and will be replacing it myself pretty soon. 35,000 miles on the clock so far. I'll report back about how the condition of the fluid looks.
    Thanks!

    I'll also be interested to hear your outcome.
    I bought my Max with 19,000 on the clock and its now at 34,000.
    Also drive aggressively (Love that engine snarl on a hard merge!)
    "In the end we all just play the roles given us... Sometimes they dont fit so well,... but I guess we make do."

    Dont forget MultiMedia forums!!
    http://www.freshalloy.com/forumdisplay.php/55-Multi-Media-Forum

    1989 240SX Coupe, Silvia front SR20 (Sold)
    91,91,92,94 Q45's (lost one to chainguides, one totaled, others sold)
    2002 Maxima (pearl, traded in)
    2003 Sentra SER Spec V (totaled)
    2003 G35 Coupe (vandalized)
    2004 350Z (DB ATI Supercharged 9psi , various Mods, 411 rwhp sold to CHRIS350Z here on FA)
    2004 350Z (PPW, graphics Kits, Vortech 8psi , LOTS of bolt-ons, full Nismo suspension, BBK etc etc)
    2009 Nissan Maxima Prec. Grey

  8. #8
    I used to drive aggressively but have become more sedate. Hey, if it means I'll get 500,000 miles out of my transmissions, so be it! I do, at times, find myself lapsing a bit into my old habits for brief periods of time- when conidtions allow. It's actually really fun and therapeutic to switch from sedate cruising with high mpg to fast driving on the interstate and canyon-carving on rural roads. Variety is the spice of life!

    If anyone has doubts about the strength of Nissan transmissions, all I can say is this: I have logged 300,000 miles on three different Nissan/Infiniti sedans- two of which already had just over 100,000 miles on them when I took ownership. Not once have I needed a transmission rebuild. Just change the fluid and check it regularly. It's not hard to prolong the life of these beautiful machines. Treat them as well as you'd treat your body ( or at least are supposed to), and they will treat you well.
    Last edited by JayG35; 09-18-2013 at 01:17 AM.

  9. #9
    Junior Member Serpent's Avatar
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    Been a few months since I said I was gonna report how the fluid looked after I changed it. Ended up doing it right around 40k. Fluid was dark, but not black. Almost gray-ish. Didn't seem thick whatsoever, consistency was the same as the new stuff that I put in to replace it. Took just shy of 5 qts. Was easier than even changing engine oil since there's no filter to replace.

    If I said it felt better to drive, that'd be a lie. Feels the same. Haven't seen any fuel efficiency change either. But hey, I feel better that it's done, and that's what counts, right? Lol

  10. #10
    Senior Administrator palmerwmd's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Serpent View Post
    Been a few months since I said I was gonna report how the fluid looked after I changed it. Ended up doing it right around 40k. Fluid was dark, but not black. Almost gray-ish. Didn't seem thick whatsoever, consistency was the same as the new stuff that I put in to replace it. Took just shy of 5 qts. Was easier than even changing engine oil since there's no filter to replace.

    If I said it felt better to drive, that'd be a lie. Feels the same. Haven't seen any fuel efficiency change either. But hey, I feel better that it's done, and that's what counts, right? Lol
    You did this yourself?
    I thought the CVT was sealed for dealer access only?
    "In the end we all just play the roles given us... Sometimes they dont fit so well,... but I guess we make do."

    Dont forget MultiMedia forums!!
    http://www.freshalloy.com/forumdisplay.php/55-Multi-Media-Forum

    1989 240SX Coupe, Silvia front SR20 (Sold)
    91,91,92,94 Q45's (lost one to chainguides, one totaled, others sold)
    2002 Maxima (pearl, traded in)
    2003 Sentra SER Spec V (totaled)
    2003 G35 Coupe (vandalized)
    2004 350Z (DB ATI Supercharged 9psi , various Mods, 411 rwhp sold to CHRIS350Z here on FA)
    2004 350Z (PPW, graphics Kits, Vortech 8psi , LOTS of bolt-ons, full Nismo suspension, BBK etc etc)
    2009 Nissan Maxima Prec. Grey

  11. #11
    Junior Member Serpent's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by palmerwmd View Post
    You did this yourself?
    I thought the CVT was sealed for dealer access only?
    Yup, bought the fluid for about $20/bottle, so I spent $100. Not sealed, or difficult to access. The cvt dipstick has some childproof kinda tab on it--probably so the ding dongs at jiffy lube don't get confused. Release that little tab with a small screwdriver and then check it just like you would check you oil.

    There's a drain plug on the bottom of the transmission that gets unscrewed, and then it all comes rushing out. Just gotta know where the plug is, and open 'er up. You want the fluid to be warm, so drive it around first. Let it drain, replace the plug, and put the new fluid down the tube where the dipstick is. Just empty and refill--no flushing. Was a piece of cake and saved me about $150.

  12. #12
    Senior Administrator palmerwmd's Avatar
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    Awesome!!

    Thats good to know!
    "In the end we all just play the roles given us... Sometimes they dont fit so well,... but I guess we make do."

    Dont forget MultiMedia forums!!
    http://www.freshalloy.com/forumdisplay.php/55-Multi-Media-Forum

    1989 240SX Coupe, Silvia front SR20 (Sold)
    91,91,92,94 Q45's (lost one to chainguides, one totaled, others sold)
    2002 Maxima (pearl, traded in)
    2003 Sentra SER Spec V (totaled)
    2003 G35 Coupe (vandalized)
    2004 350Z (DB ATI Supercharged 9psi , various Mods, 411 rwhp sold to CHRIS350Z here on FA)
    2004 350Z (PPW, graphics Kits, Vortech 8psi , LOTS of bolt-ons, full Nismo suspension, BBK etc etc)
    2009 Nissan Maxima Prec. Grey

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by Serpent View Post
    Yup, bought the fluid for about $20/bottle, so I spent $100. Not sealed, or difficult to access. The cvt dipstick has some childproof kinda tab on it--probably so the ding dongs at jiffy lube don't get confused. Release that little tab with a small screwdriver and then check it just like you would check you oil.

    There's a drain plug on the bottom of the transmission that gets unscrewed, and then it all comes rushing out. Just gotta know where the plug is, and open 'er up. You want the fluid to be warm, so drive it around first. Let it drain, replace the plug, and put the new fluid down the tube where the dipstick is. Just empty and refill--no flushing. Was a piece of cake and saved me about $150.
    Serpent: where did you buy the fluid? I, too, thought the transmissions were sealed and could not be drained/flushed without going to a mechanic, or the dealer. What type did you buy and where, please? I have a 2009 Versa Hatchback SL with the CVT, 107,000 miles. Would like to do this myself, if possible!

    Thanks for your reply! I know this is an old post, but I'm new to this forum, so am finding all kinds of pertinent information!!

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by RonSteinbach View Post
    I had my dealer change my CVT fluid at 41,500 miles. I had to insist that they do the change, since they told me it was not necessary. I just called for an appointment to change it again at 86,000 miles and they told me it should be done every 30,000 miles! I wonder what the change in position is. Is it dealer profit, or Nissan's experience with CVT's going bad?
    The CVT isn't a transmission that should/needs to be overly maintained due to fears of premature failure. Unless a vehicle is being driven beyond normal driving characteristics for several thousand miles it's unnecessary and potentially "dangerous" to service/inspect the CVT fluid every 30k miles. Unless vehicle is clearly experiencing/presenting CVT related issues such as whining/shuddering/slipping/et cetera. Nissan implemented their manufacture's service interval on their CVT's due to trial and error and experience.

    The best thing an owner can do is follow the recommended service interval and have a dealership inspect their vehicle's CVT fluid using the consult device at 60k miles (or whatever mileage is applicable) to determine if the fluid needs to be changed and/or what percentage should be changed if necessary. Having Nissan service the CVT will also mitigate the chances of Nissan voiding a vehicle's CVT warranty due to improper self servicing of a vehicle's CVT fluid.
    2001 Eclipse Spyder GT (250k+ miles)

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