1. Homepage
  2. »
  3. Cars
  4. »
  5. Nissan
  6. »
  7. The 4 Most Common Nissan Juke Transmission Problems

The 4 Most Common Nissan Juke Transmission Problems

Nissan Juke Transmission Problems

The 4 Most Common Nissan Juke Transmission Problems

Nissan Juke is a subcompact crossover and the smallest offering in the segment from the Japanese automaker. Although quirky and stylish, the bug-eyed crossover doesn’t come without issues of its own since Nissan Juke transmission problems aren’t uncommon to both the U.S. and overseas models.

Throughout its lifespan, the Juke was available with several automatic and manual transmissions, most of which worked well. However, the first-generation Nissan Juke that remained in production from 2010 until 2019 also came with the dreaded Nissan Xtronic CVT transmission with well-documented issues.

The usual symptoms are extreme vibrations and a complete loss of power. The result is a check-engine light and failed transmission that requires thousands of dollars to replace.

We’ll list the four most common Nissan Juke transmission issues below.

Nissan Juke Transmission Types

Regardless of the Nissan Juke generation, the small crossover can be had with either a manual or automatic transmission.

First-Generation Nissan Juke (2010-2019)

  • 5-speed manual transmission paired with a 1.6 L I4 petrol engine
  • 6-speed manual transmission paired with a 1.2 L I4 petrol engine, 1.6 L I4 petrol engine, or 1.5 L I4 diesel engine
  • Xtronic CVT transmission paired with a 1.2 L I4 petrol engine or 1.6 L I4 petrol engine
  • 6-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission paired with a 3.8 L twin-turbo V6 petrol engine (Nissan Juke-R)

Second-Generation Nissan Juke (2019-present)

  • 6-speed manual transmission paired with a 1.0 L turbocharged I3 petrol engine
  • 7-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission paired with a 1.0 L turbocharged I3 petrol engine
nissan juke transmission problems

How Does a CVT Transmission work?

Since a vast majority of Nissan Juke transmission problems revolves around the Xtronic CVT transmission, let’s take a look at how this particular type of automatic transmission works.

Continuously Variable Transmission is a type of automatic transmission also referred to as shiftless transmission due to its way of functioning. Unlike the conventional transmissions that provide a limited number of gear ratios in fixed steps (5-speed, 6-speed, etc.), the CVT effectively provides an infinite number of gear ratios.

The CVT consists of two pulleys (one connected to the engine and another to the wheels) and a belt that connects them. Variable-diameter pulleys consist of two cone-shaped halves capable of moving together or apart depending on how much power the vehicle needs. 

That’s exactly how a CVT transmission adjusts the gear ratio, and since neither the pulleys nor the belt are fixed, the number of gear ratios is infinite, and the transition between them is seamless.

There are different types of CVTs aside from pulley-based ones such as toroidal, hydrostatic, electric, etc. The Nissan Juke relies on the pulley-type CVT, so the way the others operate isn’t our concern here.

transmission in toyota

Advantages of a CVT Transmission

  • The ability to continuously change its gear ratio – regardless of speed, the CVT adapts to keep performing at its peak efficiency. As a result of such operation, a typical CVT will provide higher fuel efficiency.
  • The ability to provide a smoother ride – due to its construction, the CVT never actually shifts. In other words, a CVT owner won’t experience abrupt downshifts or slow upshifts.
  • The ability to maintain an ideal torque ratio – due to the lack of traditional gearing, a vehicle with a CVT will have an easier time fighting inclines or starting from a standstill.
  • A CVT is lighter – an additional factor in fuel savings.

Disadvantages of a CVT Transmission

  • CVT droning – due to the transmission’s design to force the engine into high RPMs while accelerating, a CVT-specific droning sound occurs. Although not a flaw, the annoying sound doesn’t go unnoticed by most drivers.
  • Expensive repair and maintenance costs – due to its design, a CVT is typically more expensive to maintain and rebuild than its more conventional counterparts. Compounded by Nissan Xtronic’s proneness to failure, this might be the biggest issue of the Nissan Juke.
  • The transmission belt is the weak link – a CVT depends on a belt to operate, which puts it in danger of a complete failure should the belt itself fail from too much wear or overstretching.
  • Less engaging ride – without an ability to shift through gears like in manual transmissions, or at least feel the input of a gear change of more conventional automatics, drivers tend to describe CVTs as uninspiring.
nissan juke prototype

Common Nissan Juke Transmission Problems

Now that we’ve explained the fragile nature, advantages, and disadvantages of a CVT transmission, let’s look at some of the most common transmission problems in Nissan Jukes.

Transmission is Slipping at High Acceleration

A slipping transmission is usually an indication of a much larger Nissan Juke transmission problem lurking behind the corner. With that in mind, it’s imperative to take the car to a certified mechanic as soon as possible.

Signs of a slipping transmission are as follows:

  • Higher RPM  since a slipping transmission isn’t able to transfer the engine power to the wheels in an efficient manner, it has to work harder. This behavior can be distinguished by higher RPM figures.
  • Smell due to overheating – a transmission that’s slipping is causing friction and has to work harder to compensate. Both things lead to overheating and a distinctive smell.
  • Lower fuel efficiency – a slipping CVT will also have trouble retaining the expected fuel economy.
  • Vehicle refuses to move – when the early warning signs are disregarded for long enough, the symptoms will worsen, and your Juke will eventually give up on you.

Engine Losing Power and not Accelerating Over 45 mph

Similar to slipping, a faulty CVT transmission might lead to a loss of power to the engine in which case the vehicle will have trouble accelerating. A particular issue where the Nissan Juke refuses to accelerate over 45 mph is actually a failsafe mode (also known as a limp mode). The vehicle in limp mode refuses to accelerate to limit further damage.

Aside from being annoying, this particular Nissan Juke transmission issue can also be dangerous if it happens suddenly on a highway. Further symptoms of a limp mode aside from the loss of power and limited high speed are:

  • High RPM – your Juke will rev in a high RPM range despite the top speed of 45 mph.
  • Whining noise – it will also exhibit a distinctive whining noise as the chain belt and pulleys are by now probably worn out beyond repair.

Since it serves as a warning, the only course of action is to take a vehicle in limp mode to a mechanic.

Vehicle Shakes Violently

Another symptom of a failing CVT transmission is a periodic violent shake when the vehicle starts. As before, this only means that the time for the Nissan Juke transmission change has probably come.

Additional symptoms that usually accompany the engine shake are:

  • Loss of power at inclines – with a failing transmission, a vehicle will find it harder to overcome inclines. Especially the steep ones.
  • High RPM – needless to say, such difficulties will be accompanied by higher revs on the odometer and everything that goes with it.
  • Whining noise – a struggling transmission typically emits a distinctive whining noise.

Transmission Overheating

One of the main reasons for Nissan Juke transmission problems is the fact the Xtronic CVT has an inadequate cooling system. The cooling system is simply too small to effectively cool down the Juke CVT – especially at prolonged highway cruising speeds on hot days.

A poorly cooled transmission will vibrate more than an adequately cooled one, which leads to premature wear and tear. Furthermore, CVT fluid will degrade faster which might lead to even more problems. Finally, CVT overheating is one of the main triggers of the above-mentioned failsafe mode.

nissan interior

What Can I Do to Prolong my Nissan Juke transmission’s Life?

There are a few steps you can take to ensure that your transmission is receiving proper care.

  • Change the CVT transmission fluid regularly – the CVT transmission fluid requires a change every 60,000 miles or so, but that doesn’t mean you’re risk-free until then. The CVT fluid will break down more rapidly under high temperatures. Of course, checking the transmission fluid is a little trickier than checking the engine oil, but the principle is quite similar. Since, by design, it lasts much longer than the engine oil, you can leave that to a mechanic at one (or several) of the regular service checkups that you’ll have to undertake between CVT fluid changes.
  • Take the car to a certified mechanic as soon as you notice early signs of trouble – even when your transmission starts acting up, it still might not be too late to save it. Take it to a mechanic, and you might not need to spend more than your car’s worth on a transmission rebuild.

Final Thoughts

If you’re looking into buying a used Nissan Juke, beware of the models with Xtronic CVT transmission. Although they’re known to last with proper maintenance, it also isn’t unheard of for the Juke to chew through two or three different CVTs within 100,000 miles or for the transmission to fail within the first 30,000 miles.

Nissan did extend the warranty for 2013-2017 Jukes from the standard 5 years/60,000 miles to 7 years/84,000 miles, but the deadline to submit the claim form has already passed on January 30, 2020.

It’s also worth inquiring into previous CVT transmission issues of a model that’s caught your eye.

If, on the other hand, you are already an owner and your Nissan Juke transmission problems are only now coming to the surface, then the best course of action is to consult a mechanic sooner rather than later.

Related articles