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CarComplaints.com Notes: The 2013 Nissan Altima is showing multiple early problem trends, prompting us to give it our “beware of this clunker” badge.

Owners are complaining about a whining noise from the power steering pump and a concerning amount vibration related to the CVT (Continuously Variable Transmission). Not to mention constant windshield problems that appear to be the result of poor design.


pretty bad
Typical Repair Cost:
No data
Average Mileage:
8,614 miles
Total Complaints:
19 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. not sure (10 reports)
  2. new transmission (6 reports)
  3. nothing fixed (3 reports)
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2013 Nissan Altima transmission problems

transmission problem

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2013 Nissan Altima Owner Comments

problem #19

Jun 252014

Altima S

  • CVT transmission
  • 39,400 miles


I had this car for 18 months, and had just over 39k miles. Didn't have a problem until 6/25/2014. Was driving home from a business trip, and was 1.5 hours away from home. The car started shaking at a stop light, and within five minutes the engine was revving very high and I could not increase my speed. I was only going 40mph at the time, and so I pulled off to the side of the highway.

I called the service department at my dealership which was going to close 10 minutes later. They told me to keep the car turned off for one hour and then try to drive the car home. They thought that possibly the transmission was overheating and that if I let it sit for one hour it would cool off and I could get home. After one hour I turned on the car and the same problem was occurring...I made it a few minutes farther down the road before it quit working at all.

I had to get the car towed which cost $496. Nissan would not pay the tow since it wasn't an approved tow company of theirs. I suppose that I should have known who is and isn't approved by Nissan when my car died after hours. They did say they would reimburse me on the tow, but only a maximum of $250. Apparently that's the max Nissan will do. Since I am still under 60k miles, the warranty covered the new transmission. I was told that the cost of this new transmission would have been $5,000 had it not been under warranty. I was not given a rental/loaner while my car was repaired. They said that Nissan does not provide that under their warranty.

Since the repair I have not driven the car very much. The car does feel a little different than before...especially at low RPM's. Maybe a little shaky...maybe just me being paranoid. They did say that this was an "updated transmission". They told me that transmission problems were common with the early 2013 model, and that Nissan updated the transmission.

I'm curious about others experience after having their transmission replaced on a 2013 Altima, and if they were told it was an "updated transmission"?

- , San Antonio, TX, USA

problem #18

Nov 152013

Altima SL 2.5L

  • CVT transmission
  • 6,500 miles

Like other reports of a vibration and growling/rattling noise that starts at 1200 rpm through 1500 rpm. AT 1500 rpm it is very noisy and at its worst, The vibration is felt in the steering wheel, also in the seat and on your foot that's on the gas pedal. When you reach 2000 rpm there is a very loud drowning sound that resonates through out the car.

Took it in twice. the 1st time at [6500miles on the car]they said it was a heat guard by the exhaust that was loose and rattling. I went back the next day to tell them the problem was still there, that the same noises were still there at the same rpm. I made a appointment again for the Nissan dealership to look at it. The second visit now the car has [11500 miles on it] I was told they had to adjust the motor mount and that they were ordering a new alternator and belt because they noticed a growling noise from the alternator. They said that from the motor mount being off of adjustment it caused the belt to turn at an angle and caused the alternator to wear. It was putting out the right current but they noticed a noise coming from the alternator. Sounds like a load of crap to me.

They also said it was safe and OK to drive until the parts came in. Really, I would think that if the belt was turning at an angle it would also put a strain on the water pump too. As I drove home the car acted and sounded the same, not one bit different. From the 1st time I took it in I told them I THINK IT IS THE CVT TRANSMISION where the noises are coming from. They will not even go there with this, knowing very well that they will lose money and time to replace a transmission that's still under warranty. Just replace parts that can be changed quicker than changing a transmission. Keep that up until the warranty is off the car RITE!!! I will NEVER NEVER buy a Nissan again!

- , Stevens Point, WI, USA

problem #17

Dec 062013

Altima 2.5L 4 cyl

  • CVT transmission
  • 7,500 miles

My wife & I bought our new Nissan Altima in May of 2013. Everything has worked fine up until recently when the CVT transmission started vibrating. I brought it to the dealer today for its scheduled maintenance of oil/filter, tire rotation and let them know about what was happening and how it's never happened before. The technician and I went for a ride and I told him to drive the car. We got on the highway because that's when my wife was experiencing the shuddering throughout the cabin, at highway speeds. Being familiar with cars and their problems, having fixed my own for the last 25 years, I knew this was not a wheel/tire vibration problem as soon as I drove the car myself.

The tech was driving and right away he noticed exactly what I was telling him as soon as it started happening. He said "it feels like a transmission problem". We arrived back at the shop and he said he was going to make some calls to see if there were any other complaints out there. He came back to me with some line like "it's normal operation". Which in turn I had a reply that went something like "I'm sorry, but that won't fly with me pal. If it's normal for the car to be doing this, then I would have experienced this crap from day 1 when I picked up the car new." That's when another tech intervened who had never even drove my car and said "the reason why it's doing that now as opposed to when you had your car new is because the computers in the transmission have picked up on your driving habits and they are reacting to that now." Then I got really angry because I don't like being talked down to by some kid in a grubby tech uniform who thinks I don't know a thing about cars. "You didn't even drive my damn car kid! How the hell do you think you can even offer any advice here you jackass?"

Update from Dec 9, 2013: Now I have to go back and drive a new Altima off of their lot this week because I want to see if a brand spanking new one will do the exact same thing. Even if it does it won't make a difference to me. I'm gonna fight to get this crap straightened out and get our money back so we can get a Honda Accord. Nissan, you suck. Stop dodging the inevitable, that your cars have an engineering defect and you need to own up to it! And that's THAT!!

- , Mayfield Heights, OH, USA

problem #16

Dec 012013

Altima SV 2.5L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 20,000 miles


My cars has been vibrating now for several months, I feel this vibration at different speeds and it seems to be getting worse. I can feel this vibration in my feet and through the seat, now I also can hear the sound of these vibrations.

I took my car to my dealer and was told that there wasn't anything wrong and if something is broke it would be covered. I called Nissan and have been in contact with them, they told me to take the car to another dealer which I did but got the same opinion after a short test drive, when I left and on my way home the sound and vibration was still there. I feel that it has to be the transmission and will take it back for them to take another test drive. I am ready to trade in this car and get rid of this problem.

- , Grayson, KY, USA

problem #15

Jun 212013

Altima S 2.5L

  • CVT transmission
  • 1,000 miles

While driving on the highway I notice vibration at certain speeds. I didn't think much of it at the time, but the longer I had the car the more I noticed it. At my first oil change about 3500 miles I failed to notify the dealer of the issue. I am now due for my 2nd oil change so I will definitely report the problem. I checked a few chat sights on Nissan Altima issues and found numerous complaints that stated a rattle/vibration related to the cvt around 1500 rpm but I couldn't find a fix for the issue. It was reported that the dealership tried several fixes but the problem returned. When I get my oil changed I will find out if there is a fix. This the second Altima that I have leased and this new model has gone down hill, it just feels like a cheaper car... I don't plan on purchasing this car off lease as I did with the previous lease.

- , Meriden, CT, USA

problem #14

Aug 012013

Altima ES V4

  • CVT transmission
  • 7,645 miles

Noticed loud vibrations that continue at all speeds and you could feel them with hands on steering wheel about four months after purchase . Dealership is working with me and replaced the transmission but the vibrations are even worse now . I think the CVT is just a bad transmission that needs to be shelved . We are hoping for a viable solution .

- , Villa Hills, KY, USA

problem #13

Nov 272013

Altima SV 3.5L V6

  • CVT transmission
  • 13,500 miles


FOURTH TRIP TO DEALERSHIP – December 7, 2013. We drop the car off with other tech and take a rental home.

Dealership – Called yesterday twice to check on the status of my car, first call I get other tech’s VM (4:23pm 12.10.13). I decide to call back before they close (12.10.13 5:19pm) leave a message on Original Tech’s VM.

Melloy - On 12/11/2013 8:52am - I call dealership to speak with tech, no answer. I left a message. I explained that my cell signal is weak here at work and to call my landline # at work, I provided the number.

11:31a.m. - I get a voicemail on my cell phone. Tech says they are still working on the car and “they don’t know what’s going on with the car.”

12.11.13 – Returned Tech's call to get a better explanation: VOICEMAIL 1:56pm

12.11.13 2:25pm – (Tech) NIssan wants us to record data with vehicle hooked up. We’ve been on it since Monday. They are pulling it back into the shop right now. Completed the entire test and will print out, and send it to Nissan. They want to see all this recorded data; they are getting it to screw up more than before, the data monitor is recording everything. They definitely will help us; Nissan is involved in the whole thing. Boss knows everything, we don’t know what the next step is and not sure how long they will have the car. No worries about the rental car. Have u called consumer affairs? Never has this happened, but everyone is on it and trying to figure out what’s going on. ASST MGR and another tech are taking the car on drives and have got it mess up a lot. We definitely won’t get it back this weekend. I will keep you posted as much as I can.

- , Shiprock, NM, USA

problem #12

Dec 072013

Altima SV 3.5L V6

  • CVT transmission
  • 13,500 miles

don't get an altima, it is too much trouble, I've contacted the NM Attorney Generals Office and currently starting a buy back process. Which ever comes first..

- , Shiprock, NM, USA

problem #11

Sep 132013

Altima V6

  • CVT transmission
  • 1,493 miles

We purchased our new Altima on 30 Aug 2013. Around 500 miles my husband and I noticed a shutter around 2nd gear that continually got worse. Called about it and then finally at 1493 miles, on 13 Sept 2013 we had enough! Took the car in, they found an issue and replaced our transmission. While it was in for repair they also found other issues.

- , Gainesville, TX, USA

problem #10

Apr 012013


  • CVT transmission
  • 100 miles

From the day I picked up the car the transmission was way loud at certain RPM. Under load such as going up hill or accelerating to enter the highway the CVT is very loud. Comes in at about 2500 RPM. Back to the dealer twice with the complain and both times told that it's "normal". I don't think so. Called 800-NISSAN1. Told that a rep would call me back yesterday. Still Waiting. I hate the car.

Update from Mar 21, 2014: Nissan finally got back to me, but gave me no satisfaction. They just contacted the service department of the dealer I took it to and reported back to me that same thing that the dealer told me. Then I told them that I wanted them to buy it back. Took a couple weeks to get back to me and they refused that too. I'm done with NIssan. Hello Honda.

- , Wayne, NJ, USA

problem #9

Jun 192013

Altima SV 2.4L

  • CVT transmission
  • 12,000 miles


cvt transmission has low rpm growl/shutter and was getting worse. I brought car to dealership and mechanic took test drive with me. I pointed out sound and he conferred. He said he was glad I went on test drive cause he may not have experienced sound without me pointing it out. Mechanic received info from area rep that sound is coming from bad tensioner on belt. He replaced belt and shutter went away. I was extremely happy until two months latter sound has returned ! I will bring it back. I am wondering if root of problem is transmission which wears out belt tensioner so quickly causing shutter of belt vibrating at low rpm acceleration.

- , New Gloucester, Maine, USA

problem #8

Oct 122012

Altima SV 3.5L V6

  • CVT transmission
  • 102 miles

From day one this car had transmission problems. And, the reason I bought the car was because my older car also had tranny problems but it is 13 yrs old. This Altima won't even make it that long. The car's been back 4 times and they have already replaced the transmission, torque converter, did some recalls, and reset the computer. I don't think they did anything as there's been absolutely no improvement. The car bucks, chugs, surges exactly at 25 mph and vibrates when stopped. Nissan doesn't even return your call and the dealership keeps saying they cannot replicate the issue. Really? Then why everyone else who's driven or ridden in the car feels it? I will pursue the Lemon law just because of the audacity they have shown. I have filed complaints with every agency I can think of. Come on Nissan, do the right thing before some one gets killed.

- , New City, NY, USA

problem #7

Jul 082013

Altima SV 2.5L

  • CVT transmission
  • 15,988 miles

click to see larger images

CVT shuttering, vibration, running roughly

Took it in for terrible vibrating, miss shifting, it would almost stop the whole car at 55mph... kinda felt like I was going to go through the windshield!! First check, they said there was a recall on the CVT and they had to reset a module.... took it home, car was worse! Back in the next day, only to be told it needed a brand new transmission!! It has been 2 weeks today, thank god they have been great and gave me a rental...but Nissan states the new trans is on back order till the 26th!!! After shipping time, if it goes out on time...and install time, I will be with out my new car for about a month! NOT COOL! My 2003 Altima is still running with no probs!! Afraid there may be underlying problems...but Fuccillo Nissan of Clay, NY has been more than wonderful!! Scared to see what the value of these model are in 4 years....

Update from Sep 9, 2013: mpg went down to 29 from 39mpg!! Car stilllll shutters...very doggy unless you hammer on the gas... Did I see Feds are looking into this car?!!

- , Hastings, NY, USA

problem #6

Jul 142013

Altima SV 2.5L

  • CVT transmission
  • 15,888 miles

1st trip in...was told it was under recall for a trans module...low and behold, it didn't work! See complaint numba two!!

- , Hastings, NY, USA

problem #5

Jan 182013

Altima SL 2.5L

  • CVT transmission
  • 200 miles

Noisy Tranny!! VERY LOUD AND VERY DISAPPOINTING!!! Techs at the dealer say its normal!!!!

- , Aurora, CO, USA

problem #4

Mar 152013

Altima 4 cyl 2.5L

  • CVT transmission
  • 7,000 miles

Just came back from second trip to dealership to address problem with transmission and was sent home again without a fix. When car is slowing, without aid of brakes, from 40's to 30's or from 30's to 20's, it bucks/lurches occasionally such that it is frightening. I have several friends who do not believe my car is safe after experiencing this and refuse to be a passenger in it. I purchased the car in Oct 30 2013 and it handled beautifully until this began happening intermittently in March 2013. I cannot get it to happen when bringing it in for check-ups and am dissatisfied that I am sent home from service appointments being told in essence that 'its just the way it is and to accept it. This is not OK. It needs a fix, and ASAP, to ensure safety and piece of mind when driving this car.

- , Ocean Isle Beach, NC, USA

problem #3

Jan 022013

Altima SL 2.5L

  • CVT transmission
  • 1,000 miles

My 2013 nissan altima has several problems since day one, a hissing noise when acc, a whining, and whistling noise near the radio. engine vibrates at 1500 to 2000 rpm, the navigation,bluetooth and radio froze up on me 5 times, and the screen would turn off all the time. had to turn car off and start it again to make it work. the dealer put a new software in it, and so far it's working. next my drivers door was making noises opening and closing it. they put grease on it, and that seems to work. the backup camera is not that clear, my 2010 had a better camera. also I'm bringing it in for major wind noise on the drivers door. this car has nothing but problems. my concern is the vibration when I step on the gas slowly.,nissan said its normal. yea right. all these noises, nissan said its the cvt transmission. that's impossible for 4 different noises to be just the cvt. they need to get off their asses and get their engineers to fix these problems soon. ive owned 4 other altimas with no major problems. if they don't listen to their customers, they're going to lose us to another car company. all this better be fix this year.

P.S. I've had passengers hear these noises ,and read other forums where people are having these same problems ,so it's not just me ,I'm not losing my mind.

Update from Apr 23, 2013: Getting wind noise , on drivers side, they tried to fix it twice, now it's worse, also a rattling noise near the instrument panel, also the arm rest doesn't work ,went in twice to fix it and it still doesn't work.

Update from Nov 19, 2013: Heated seats ,didn't work ,rattling noise in vents ,and when on highway drivers side wind noise,when filling the ties the car doesn't beep like they said ,when wipers are on lights don't go on like they said,at times can't add street address on the nav,screen is dark.sometimes the remote start doesn't work ,just one thing after another ,had 5 nissans without this many problems ,I think this is my last nissan ,unless they fix all the issues.

- , Stamford, CT, USA

problem #2

May 242013

Altima SL V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 800 miles

This is extremely frustrating! And can be very dangerous if it happens when you are in traffic. Happens at low miles per hour and driving at high speeds. It shutters if you reach 1100 RPM's at any time. Only way to get it to stop is accelerate more or reduce the RPM's. If you go to pass and this happens it can be very dangerous. The dealer stated they could not duplicate but it continues to happen daily. I told the dealer it's like driving a stick shift when it needs to be shifted. When you buy a brand new car you expect it to work properly. This transmission is a problem and a fix needs to be found! There needs to be a recall. I know I am not the only one having problems

- , Blue Springs, MO, USA

problem #1

Feb 032013

Altima SL 2.5L

  • CVT transmission
  • 50 miles

vibration between 1200-1800 rpm. Well I am having problems getting good MPG's SO i have been driving by keeping my rpms under 2,000, and everytime and i mean EVERYTIME i am between 1,200 and 1,800 rpms it vibrates and the worse is at 1,500 rpm's. This should not happen. I do not care if they say it is because its a CVT trans. But the Honda Accord does not vibrate so there is a design problem and they do not want to fix it because it will cost them they will only end production of it and put a different trans in the newer models. I am tired of Nissan having as many problems as they do and then saying well this is normal and how it Operates. Stand behind your name and give us cusomers quality products! I have lost ALL faith in Nissan and will never purchase one EVER again!

- , Reston, VA, USA

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