Good morning. This is Saul here, at Saul’s Automotive.
Normally, you see me inside the shop, underneath a car or up on the lift with some fancy piece of equipment. Today, we’re in the parking lot, because neither of these Nissan cars can move under their own power, so no better way to show you of a better example, of how to prevent a good commonality failure.
Both the vehicles that I’ve got my hands on are Nissan products that use a CVT or constantly variable transmission. We’ve got an Ultima and a Murano here. They also use this in the Rogue and several others, like the Maxima and then some. The problem with the CVT or constantly variable transmission is that there’s no actual gears. You’re used to a manual transmission that they call an automatic, where you feel … boom … boom, each gear shifting. Those days are gone in terms of Nissan’s perspective.
Now, we here at Saul’s Automotive had never replaced a Nissan transmission. One more time, we had never replaced a Nissan transmission until 2007. Then Nissan started doing research into their profitability versus reliability and started issuing constantly variable transmissions, knowing that they’re filled with rubber bands that are disposable.
If you’ve ever been to a fair or out to a country show or even a Renaissance festival, you might see a character standing around with a stick in one hand, a string between them, rolling a figure eight shaped object back and forth, like an hourglass, back and forth. Think of that design, and that’s what’s going on inside your transmission. We have a figure eight on either side, as a variator, and the belt between them, so that as there variators move to and from, the belt going across them effectively has a smaller or larger diameter to change the gear ratio.
Now, what this means for you is, you hop on the freeway, you put your foot to the floor and that engine going to redline and holds it there until you’re on the freeway. Now, this does get the most power to the ground in the most efficient way. It also puts serious wear on the engine, by keeping it at higher RPM than normal and stretches the bands inside that transmission. Nissan was really going for profitability. They made sure those transmissions are non-rebuildable.
Long gone are the days of taking your Chevy, Ford or Dodge transmission apart, putting all new parts in it, rebuilding it and sending it back to the road, with an American made stamp behind it. If the CVT in your Nissan fails, you write a check to Nissan. Depending on which CVT it is, it’ll cost anywhere from $1,800 to $3,800 for just the part, not the labor to take apart the car and put it in.
The way these vehicles are designed, you must drop the motor transmission and front subframe, as an assembly, in order to remove and access that transmission. The best way to prevent these failures and keep these vehicles in top shape is to get that CVT fluid changed every 40,000 to 60,000 miles.
We here at Saul’s Automotive offer a factory fluid flush for $249, which is exactly the cost of materials to do it because it takes only a few minutes to do, and we want to save your transmission. We have to tell people that these failed every day. We see them as soon as 25,000 miles.
We don’t encourage owners to purchase these vehicles as a result. However, if this is what you’re driving and we need to keep you on the road, our job’s to keep you reliable, cost-effective and safe. Safety being that first priority means, we’re going to replace it and guarantee it works right. Reliability meaning, we’re going to do everything we can to make sure the best product goes in it. The replacement units we go through, we source directly from Nissan. We replace coolers and lines with them, to guarantee perfect new performance. Last but not least, to keep it on the road as long as possible.
See us regularly for those fluid services, and you won’t be in this parking lot getting these phone calls, telling us you need a transmission.