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I bought this car 3 years ago with 34,000 miles for $6,500 thinking I was getting a good deal on a car that would last a long time as I have heard is the norm for Nissans. I had an older Maxima that was a great car. I Googled 2013 Nissan Rogue looking for known issues and even specifically searched for transmission issues because I know that is the worst problem an automatic transmission vehicle can have. The search did not indicate anything to be concerned about in my opinion. There were a few insignificant complaints and I only was able to find one complaint about the transmission, one guy who said it had a problem with acceleration while climbing a hill.
That's not bad for a car with millions of units on the road so I laid down the cash and drove off in my nice little AWD low mileage CUV. I keep up with maintenance fairly well, especially oil changes and normal wear and tear parts such as wipers, brake pads, bulbs, etc. I am 50 and I have owned many vehicles with automatic transmissions and have only ever had a major issue and that was a 1977 Chevrolet Chevette a very long time ago. I didn't pay much for the car and I had access to other vehicles and was also able to get another car very easily so it wasn't a big deal. It was banana yellow and ugly anyway, so it didn't hurt my feelings much to replace it with a newer Pontiac Grand Am, also with an auto transmission that I put endless miles on and sold with the tranny still working well.
I only ever changed transmission fluid in 2 vehicles on a regular basis, a 1987 Chevrolet 3/4 ton work truck that I hauled a large trailer full of tools and equipment with, and a 1978 Chevrolet Malibu Classic that I raced. All the others, which have been many, all I ever had to do was pull the dipstick, check that the color was good, feel it for viscosity, and smell it to make sure it didn't smell burnt and they all lasted me as long as I owned them and I didn't have any complaints from anyone who I sold them to. Then I have heard of transmissions without a user accessible dipstick which are non serviceable transmissions, which I avoided until I bought this Rogue, which is what I thought the case was with it but it was new enough and low mileage so it didn't really bother me. There is no indication anywhere visible on or in this car to specify that the transmission requires regular servicing like the engine.
I had never heard of a CVT transmission prior to owning this car. I didn't even know such a thing existed let alone that my car has one. All I was aware of is that it has a non serviceable automatic transmission. Right around 100,000 miles I was on the highway and pulled into the left lane to pass a slower car and when I stepped on the accelerator it sounded like Chewbacca was under my hood, but nothing seemed out of place performance wise and I got distracted by another vehicle coming up behind me from the on ramp so I got out of his way and continued on. Chewbacca made a couple of more screams from the engine compartment under the same type of conditions and then shortly after the 3rd or 4th time I was cruising along at around 80 mph on the highway in a 75 mph zone and all of a sudden the car lost the ability to accelerate while going up a slight grade, and then again after I slowed down to 65 and then it just kept getting slower and slower until at about 45 mph I had to get off the highway because I felt unsafe going that slow on a 75 mph highway.
I got in the far right breakdown lane and crept along at between 35 and 40 mph no matter where I had the accelerator pedal until I got to the next exit. I pulled into the first gas station I found and shut the car off. I went inside, grabbed a drink and a snack and went back out to the car. I popped the hood and looked around and under the car and couldn't find any visible sign of a problem nor did the check engine light come on. I got back in the car and started the engine, backed out of the parking spot, got back onto the road I was on from the exit and drove a few miles between 35 and 55 and didn't notice any hesitation or other signs of any issue so I turned around and went back to the highway and drove the rest of the way home without any issue.
I didn't think much more of it because I've experienced vapor lock in the fuel system and air intake issues with MAF sensors and the like so I gave the car a tune up including a thorough cleaning of the air box and MAF sensor and drove the car for a few days without any issue. Then a few days later it was a hot summer day out and on my way home from work in almost the same place, it happened again, the exact same thing. This time I was concerned enough to think there was a serious problem so I jumped on the laptop when I got home and started Google searching for this condition and found a bunch of complaints about the "fail safe" mode for the CVT overheating. Then I started reading info about the CVT in general, and then WHAMO!
I found the info about these failing CVTs in so many of these Nissan vehicles and I was floored. I had the service done but it is too little too late because now I have a bad sound and vibration coming from the CVT internally. I thought it was a wheel bearing hub(s) at first because that's what it feels and sounds like so I brought it in to have it inspected but it turns out to be coming from inside the CVT and the mechanic said I need to bring it to a transmission shop and from what I have been able to gather, it's only a matter of a short time here before the CVT is totally gone if I continue driving it, which I kind of have to because it is my only vehicle and I have to use it every day for work and I have no other options right now. I also don't have the money to replace the CVT or to buy another vehicle. So now I'm screwed.
- Raymond D.,
Wheat Ridge, CO, US