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4 Nissan Rogue Transmission Problems & How To Avoid Them

nissan rogue transmission problems

4 Nissan Rogue Transmission Problems & How To Avoid Them

The Nissan Rogue is a great SUV. It features excellent handling, a balanced ride as well as a stylish and well-equipped interior. However, the Rogue has one glaring defect- its transmission. In this article, we’ll take a close look at the Nissan Rogue’s transmission problems, as well as potential fixes and solutions.

Instead of opting for a conventional transmission setup, Nissan chose to equip the Rogue with a continuously-variable transmission, or CVT for short. In theory, this was an excellent idea- CVTs allow for a much smoother ride compared to conventional transmission, which makes the overall drive much more enjoyable.

However, CVTs are also extremely fragile and prone to damage. This is why the Rogue has such a prominent transmission problem.

The Nissan Rogue has faced transmission problems for over a decade, and there have been several attempts by the company to fix this. For instance, the company has tried to recall all 2016 Rogues due to transmission failure.

However, this hasn’t stopped the company from receiving several lawsuits in regard to their CVT system. The most recent lawsuit started in early 2021 and is still taking place. It’s clear therefore that Nissan’s CVT system was a huge flop, and has put the company under serious legal and financial pressure. But, what do these transmission problems actually look like? Let’s take a look.

1. Nissan Rogue Won’t Stay in Park:

rear tail light
Photo by Envato Elements

Imagine this. You park on a hill to go and see your family. You park up as normal and everything seems fine. Then, you step out of the vehicle, and go to open the boot, just to find that your Nissan Rogue is rolling down the hill!

This may sound far-fetched, but has been the reality of several Rogue owners, and the fault lies with the transmission. The CVT system in the Rogue has a tendency to ‘pop out’ of place, meaning that the car will shift into neutral from park, meaning you may have to spend the afternoon chasing your car down the road!

This ‘pop’ most commonly occurs when the transmission is low on fluid. The Nissan Rogue has pretty poor transmission seals, which means leaks are very common. Fixing such leaks can also be pretty expensive, as the only option is to replace the transmission entirely.

In fact, prices for a CVT replacement range anywhere from $3,000-$8,000.

2. Loss of Power Whilst Driving:

driving a nissan
Photo by Unsplash

If you experience a loss of power whilst driving your Nissan Rogue, especially when driving up steep hills, there’s a good chance your transmission has a problem. This occurs because the transmission may suddenly change gear without your input or knowledge. This can cause you to go from 30mph to 15mph in a matter of seconds.

You may also experience this issue when trying to accelerate in traffic, which can be extremely dangerous. A final symptom is that your RPMs will rise steadily, but your Rogue still won’t accelerate or even move.

Gear slipping is therefore a major problem with the Nissan Rogue, and if you experience this whilst driving, you should stop immediately and avoid driving until the transmission is fixed. Again, the only real fix is to replace the entire transmission.

Alternatively, you could file a complaint with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, which may reimburse you for the costs of repair.

3. Sudden Acceleration:

car gas pedal
Photo by Envato Elements

Whilst some drivers may experience a lack of acceleration when driving their Nissan Rogue, other drivers may find that their vehicle accelerates suddenly without warning. Again, this happens because of a slip in the transmission and can be incredibly dangerous. For instance, sudden acceleration in rush hour could cause you to crash into another vehicle.

4. Jerky Ride:

car speedometer
Photo by Envato Elements

Whilst the Nissan Rogue is renowned for its smooth ride, the CVT system can create some serious discomfort in the cabin.

At first, you’ll notice smaller jumps which may seem harmless. However, as time goes on, the transmission will start to shake and vibrate rapidly, which can make for a very unpleasant ride. There’s also no quick fix for this problem, and the only solution is to replace the transmission altogether.

Steps for diagnosing Nissan Rogue transmission problems:

1. Check the transmission fluid level and quality:

The first step in diagnosing transmission problems in a Nissan Rogue is to check the transmission fluid level and quality. Start by locating the transmission dipstick under the hood. With the engine running and the transmission in park, pull out the dipstick and wipe it clean.

Then, reinsert the dipstick and pull it out again to check the fluid level and quality. The fluid should be pink or red and have a sweet smell. If the fluid is low, add more until it reaches the recommended level. If the fluid is dirty or has a burnt smell, it may indicate a transmission problem.

2. Perform a visual inspection:

The next step is to perform a visual inspection of the transmission and related components. Look for any signs of damage or wear, such as cracks, leaks, or loose connections.

Check the transmission pan for signs of debris or metal shavings, which may indicate internal damage. Inspect the transmission mounts and driveshaft for signs of wear or damage.

3. Use diagnostic tools:

If the visual inspection doesn’t reveal any obvious problems, it may be necessary to use diagnostic tools to identify the issue. Many auto parts stores offer free diagnostic scans that can identify trouble codes related to the transmission.

These codes can provide valuable information about the specific nature of the problem, such as a faulty solenoid or sensor.

4. Test drive the vehicle:

To confirm the diagnosis, it may be necessary to test drive the vehicle. Pay close attention to the transmission’s performance, such as how smoothly it shifts between gears, whether it slips or jerks during acceleration, and whether there are any unusual noises or vibrations.

If the transmission is not performing as it should, it may be necessary to repair or replace it.

By following these steps, you can diagnose Nissan Rogue transmission problems and determine the best course of action for repair or replacement. It’s important to address any transmission problems as soon as possible to avoid more costly repairs down the line.

Avoiding Nissan Rogue Transmission Problems

mechanic looking inside engine bay

If you have a Nissan Rogue but haven’t yet experienced any transmission problems, follow these steps to maintain your CVT system, and reduce the risk of malfunction:

  1. Regularly change the transmission fluid
  2. Avoid harsh acceleration
  3. Check the transmission dipstick before long journeys

Concluding Thoughts

You may be noticing a pattern with the Nissan Rogue’s transmission problems- they all involve gear slipping or ‘popping’, and they all require the entire CVT system to be replaced. This highlights the scale of the Rogue’s transmission problems. In pretty much every case, the problem itself is dangerous and the repair will cost thousands. This begs the question, is a Nissan Rogue worth it?

Unfortunately, both the risk and consequences of the CVT system undermine all of the Rogue’s great features. The constant fear that your transmission will fail and set you back thousands, or cause you to accelerate into the Lamborghini in front of you make the Rogue unviable. This is highlighted further when considering the other great, and reliable, options in the compact SUV space.


What are the symptoms of a CVT transmission failure?

CVT (Continuously Variable Transmission) failures can manifest in several ways. Common symptoms include:

  • Slipping, jerking, or shuddering during acceleration.
  • Delay in vehicle movement even when the accelerator is pressed.
  • Loud whining noises while driving.
  • Dashboard warning lights related to the transmission.
  • Overheating of the transmission.
  • Difficulty in changing gears or the car staying in one gear.

Why is my Nissan Rogue having trouble accelerating?

If your Nissan Rogue is having trouble accelerating, it could be due to several reasons:

  • CVT transmission issues: The Nissan Rogue has faced complaints related to its CVT transmission, which can impact acceleration.
  • Clogged or dirty fuel injectors.
  • Failing spark plugs or ignition coils.
  • Air flow problems due to a clogged air filter or malfunctioning mass air flow sensor.
  • Exhaust system blockages.
  • Any issues with the electronic throttle control. It’s crucial to have a mechanic diagnose the exact cause to ensure proper repair.

How much does it cost to fix a CVT transmission in a Nissan Rogue?

The cost to repair or replace a CVT transmission in a Nissan Rogue can vary depending on the exact issue, the age of the vehicle, and your location. On average, a CVT replacement can range from $3,000 to $5,000, including parts and labor.

However, some minor repairs might cost less. It’s also worth noting that Nissan has extended the warranty on some of its vehicles due to CVT issues, so it’s a good idea to check with your dealer or mechanic to see if your car qualifies for any coverage.

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