Nissan Sentra CVT Transmissions...truth from a mechanic, and a question

Asked by Sep 07, 2019 at 11:15 AM about the 2013 Nissan Sentra SV

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

I have a 2013 Sentra, and the transmission started going at 79,000 miles.  This happened last month (August, 2019). Since it was a certified used vehicle, I got a replacement transmission installed, at no cost (7 year, 100,000 mile powertrain warrentee.)

The replacement runs fine (so far) after putting 1,000 miles on it.

Today, I went to the dealership for an oil change.

When walking outside of the dealership, casually looking at cars on the lot, I saw 15 boxes. (see pictures) All 15 boxes said CVT on them. One box was a different size than the others. I don't know this, but I'm guessing the 14 smaller boxes were to replace transmissions for cars, and the other was for an SUV or a truck?

Plus, there was a used one sitting out there, as well.

So it looks like CVT transmission replacements are pretty common.

I spoke with a mechanic, and here's what he told me about Nissan CVT transmissions.

*  He recommends changing the transmission fluid (not just the gearbox, but flush and fill the entire system) every 30,000 miles. He says Nissan isn't completely clear about when to change the fluid, but from a mechanics perspective, 30,000 miles is the best gauge to go by.

*  He said the CVT transmissions for the smaller cars are build with a metal belt, vs a metal chain. These belts are the problem. When there is a lot of heat, (proper cooling is also an issue) and/or just the fact the belts are so thin, the transmission can start slipping. Eventually, these metal bands act like a rubber band that has been stretched to far, and too often. They lose their ability to hold, and slip. This causes stalling, jumping, shuttering, etc.

* He told me the larger cars, SUV's and trucks have metal CHAINS instead of BELTS. The chains have a much better history, and less of a failure rate. They are far less likely to stretch and slip.

* He told me, for the past year or year and a half, replacement transmissions for Nissan cars (like the Sentra) are being built with WIDER metal bands. This was improvement added to the replacement transmissions, to help them run better and last longer. So, if you got a replacement transmission recently, you probably got the better rebuild transmission, like I did.

* He also noted mechanics have complained to the creator of the transmission, asking that, instead of having the metal belt, a small metal chain be created in it's place, to improve performance and life. The response was that there isn't anything wrong with the build, so the creator of the transmission is leaving the type of build alone.

Now that all of these statements have been made, I do have a question.

Some of the boxes that I saw outside the dealership that were replacement CVT transmisions said Jatco (the company that Nissan uses to make their transmissions) but some said JME X. Is this an aftermarket transmission, or a division of Jatco?

5 Answers


Jatco is the Japanese affiliate of Nissan. Jmex is the Mexican plant producing the replacement transmissions. Isn't car life great! Nissan ahs had a terrible reputation with all of its CVT transmissions. After your car is working well, you might consider trading it for a better one; preferably without a CVT.

1 people found this helpful.

Larger cars don't use CVT's are they can't handle the torque of larger engines. Never buy any car with a CVT and that goes triple for any Nissan with a CVT. Ed is right. Dump the car while you can.

I'm in the market for trading in the car for a Toyota or a Honda. Carmax said my car is worth 5000 to them, just below the value of the car if I sold it myself per KBB, and about a grand more than a typical trade-in for my car, per KBB. I went to a Toyota dealer, and they told me they automatically match Carmax quotes. Tomorrow, I'm looking at Hondas as well.


Some 2019s and 2020s present significant changes and improvements to their previous models; Toyota's RAV4, for example. My wife has a 2016 Mazda CX-5 that's really been a good car, so you might want to add Mazda to the list.

1 people found this helpful.

Happy to say I got $5000 for a trade-in with the Sentra. I purchased a 2016 Honda CR-V AWD. So far, very happy. Yes, it has a CVT transmission (like a lot of vehicles do now, unfortunately) but the advantage is that both Honda and Toyota make their own transmissions, and have done so for years, so they make them better and better. I know that Nissan owns Jatco, and those transmissions are also made for other car companies, but their transmissions are not that great. I don't plan on owning a Nissan again. For me, it's Honda or Toyota, although I would consider Mazda or Subaru.

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