Notes: The 2012 Altima has a defect trend of CVT transmission failure showing up around the 100,000 mile mark.

It's an expensive repair at nearly $2,000 average repair cost. For more information see Nissan Altima CVT defect info on


really awful
Typical Repair Cost:
Average Mileage:
105,850 miles
Total Complaints:
38 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. not sure (20 reports)
  2. replace transmission (13 reports)
  3. installed an external transmission fluid cooler (4 reports)
  4. transmission fluid replaced (1 reports)
2012 Nissan Altima transmission problems

transmission problem

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2012 Nissan Altima Owner Comments (Page 2 of 2)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #18

May 122017

Altima 3.2L

  • CVT transmission
  • 80,000 miles


Nissan Altima created the CVT transmission to save money however, the problem is going to cost lives if they don't correct it. This happens with no warning just while you're driving and can't accelerate.

- djarra, Mobile, US

problem #17

Apr 202017

Altima 4DR 2.5L

  • CVT transmission
  • 104,850 miles

Heading south on Fla., I75 toward Orlando in the center lane with the flow of traffic I was going to pass a slow poke, I was about to get into the left lane I pushed down on the gas pedal, nothing happened. I tried several times and still no power. Speed at that time was about 75 with the tack about 2300 rpms. Realizing that no power on the motor I safely got into the right lane. It stayed that way for several miles, no power. I got off the I75 onto side roads the car started to run good.

I found out later that this is a long on going problem with NISSAN CVT transmission over heating and shutting the engine down. There is a fix to this problem but NISSAN do not want to fix it. When a family get killed on account of this problem what is NISSAN going to say? NISSAN better get there stupid head out of there stupid butt and get this taken care of before some one is killed. I guess that is what they are waiting for. My wife and I with our grandson was lucky we got off I75 with no mishap.

- diehlj, Milton, US

problem #16

Apr 192017

Altima LS 2.5L

  • CVT transmission
  • 139,127 miles

Met with my mechanic about the loss of power & RPM staying at 3. He got a P1778 code, which is step motor failure.

- Kristie J., Flowery Branch, GA, US

problem #15

Mar 202017

Altima 2.5S 4 cyl

  • CVT transmission
  • 121,233 miles


I used to be a Nissan fan. I had a 92 maxima, then a 2001 Nissan Altima that I passed to my son when I got my my 2012 Nissan Altima. My 2012 Altima started making this loud humming noise upon start up and while trying to accelerate, decreasing in speed on the highway, and hesitates when accelerating after coming to a stop light. NISSAN is aware the CVT Transmissions and engines are faulty and should be recalled. Luckily I bought the extended warranty so my transmission failure is covered this time but after reading other complaints I'm never buying another car with CVT transmission or CVT engine again.

- Mareicshka B., Cincinnati, OH, US

problem #14

May 112016

Altima S 2.5L

  • CVT transmission
  • 93,614 miles

05/11/2016 Took it to the dealer and i told them i preferred them to put in a trans while it was under warranty. They acted like it was totally fine and codes only needed to be cleared. Though even i told them I searched the net and was aware of the CVT mayhem. Fast forward to 01/05/2017 i went on a long trip and the trans acted up again. So I took it to a Nissan dealer on the way to my destination. That particular Nissan was a massive help and I wish they were my normal Nissan. Anyways the second Nissan said that my normal Nissan most likely knew they should have replaced it and that I should go back and fight in order to have my trans replaced.

- Charles P., Camby, IN, US

problem #13

Dec 142016

Altima S 2.5L V4

  • CVT transmission
  • 101,000 miles

This has happened multiple times. This happened when I was driving on the freeway at speeds over 60 for an extended amount of time, the car slows down and acceleration is not an option! With my speed decreasing on a freeway, my only option was to move from the carpool to the shoulder. I almost got hit doing so and I was lucky enough to make it over. This is very unsafe and Nissan should fix it.

- Andrew I., Whittier, CA, US

problem #12

Jul 162016


  • Automatic transmission
  • 135,000 miles


decrease to 20 mph driving in the freeway, dealer said its the transmission that will cost $3500-$5000!!! Big regret buying this car, they said Nissan Altima are well known on this kind of issue.

I have to rest the car for an hour or 2 before I can drive it normal again but cant drive it more that an hour or the mph will decrease again.

- Tess T., Long Beach, CA, US

problem #11

Aug 022016

Altima S 2.5L 4-cyl

  • CVT transmission
  • 79,000 miles

I loved my 2012 Altima until now (at 79,000 mi). We took it on a long road trip over the weekend and experienced the loss of acceleration problem that others have complained about here. I drove for a couple of hours with the cruise control set at 80 mph, and then it happened. The computer turned off the cruise control and we started to lose speed. I stepped on the gas, but couldn't get any power. It felt as if the transmission was stuck in high gear, so I tried using sport mode to shift to a lower gear, but it was stuck in 6M. On the gradual inclines our speed would dwindle to around 50 mph, and we could gradually get back up to 80 on the downgrades. As I pulled off to get gas in Cheyanne, WY, acceleration from a stop was very slow. After getting gas, things went back to normal for a while, but then the same thing happened again. After a couple more iterations between acting normal and getting sluggish, I pulled into the first Nissan dealership I could find in Casper, WY. Unfortunately, it was just before closing on a Friday afternoon, but they did a quick diagnostic and told me my transmission fluid was toast. They said that the computer goes into a "fail-safe" mode when it senses an over-temperature condition, and that this would likely continue to happen until I replaced the transmission fluid, which they didn't have time to do. They said I could continue on to my destination in Billings, MT, and that I didn't need to worry about causing further damage, but I should get the fluid replaced soon.

We made it to Billings after several more instances of the sluggish "fail-safe" mode, and I did the $270 heavy-duty transmission flush the next day at a Chevy dealership that the Nissan dealership referred me to because they were all booked up. On the following day, we started the trip back to Denver. Everything seemed great for the first couple of hours as we drove up and down the hills with the cruise control easily keeping us up to speed at 80 mph. Then it happened again! We iterated through several more cycles of the "fail-safe" mode as we gradually made it back to Denver. Note that through all this, we never had any warning lights show up on the dashboard.

The next day, I took the car to my Nissan dealer to get it checked out. Of course they told me it would be a $140 charge to run the diagnostics (30 seconds to plug in and print report). The mechanic called me a couple of hours later to give me the bad news: $4300 for a new transmission with a 2-year warranty (actually that's for a remanufactured transmission; a new one would be $4600 with the same warranty)! As he explained, the Nissan service bulletin for this problem says that if the vehicle's computer history reports more than 21 occurrences of an over-temperature condition from the transmission, then it should be replaced. Mine had 40 occurrences. Apparently, if the count is less than 21, they recommend installing an external transmission fluid cooler as another complaint reported here. Gee, wouldn't it have been nice if I had been informed of this before continuing my road trip and racking up several more counts? When I asked the mechanic if it would help to install the cooler, he said it wouldn't because my transmission is already on the sure path to destruction! I guess "fail-safe" is a misnomer for "your transmission is dying."

I am now contemplating whether to buy the new transmission or dump the car. Either way it looks like I'll be dumping at least $4300 down the toilet. This will be the last Nissan I ever own.

- kentco, Littleton, CO, US

problem #10

Jun 232016

Altima SE 3.5L

  • CVT transmission
  • 93,000 miles

Sadly, I get to add my recently purchased, (as in 1 month ago) 2012 Nissan Altima SR to the list of bad c.v.t.'s... I just came from my Nissan dealership and I need a new transmission. At a hefty cost of $5300.

Here is my story for those interested: I am a repeat Nissan owner, and a loyal fan, having dismissed the suggestion by friends and family of owning any other brand, because I have owned a 2002 Nissan Maxima SE and a 2007 Nissan Altima SE, which were both excellent vehicles, both giving me over 230,000 miles each. Then I traded for this pretty pre-owned 2012 and before the first payment was due the car started "juddering" after 20-30 miles of driving, with erratic rpm fluctuations, severely decreased speed and jerking type behaviour. I pulled off the highway immediately and pulled out my owner's manual, referring to the c.v.t. pages and assumed that it was in protection mode since it was 94 degrees in heavy traffic. For the record it is very unnerving to have your car behave this way in heavy traffic and difficult to navigate to the side of the road. I waited about 10-15 minutes, and resumed driving and the car had decreased acceleration and higher rpm's but I made it home. The next day it drove well, and for days after that. And then the same thing happened on two different occasions, with the last occurrence a few days ago on the weekend in cooler climate conditions and no traffic. I already had this service appointment for today and took the car in for diagnostics, After an hour the service tech came with the "bad news." I am so distraught right now. The carfax report shows the original owners took it to the dealer per the maintenance schedule to the same dealer I just had it serviced by, and it seemed to have been well cared for on every level and I take care of my vehicles as well. I have contacted Nissan Consumer Affairs because they know these transmissions have issues, and obviously this generation as well, yet they only extended the warranty up til model 2010. In my opinion if they believe their cvt is reliable, as they would have consumers believe, then that warranty should be extended for all years. Depending on how Nissan handles my case will determine if I continue to be a loyal Nissan consumer, or if I abandon this brand altogether. I am basically stuck with an unusable car that needs repair for about half its value, and I do not have the $$$ to fix. Not sure how I feel about Nissan's anymore. But if your car is behaving this way don't let the mechanics tell you it's how cvt's work, because my 2007 NEVER did this, not once, and like I said, I got over 230,000 miles before trading it in. How I wish I could get that one back.

Update from Jul 31, 2016: After I obtained a second and third opinion from different dealerships (different Nissan dealership/service departments), I was told the car did NOT need a new c.v.t. transmission, that the tranny fluid was burnt and needed replaced , so they flushed the tranny fluid. I have driven approximately 560 miles on it since then, the car is running well and behaves normal, without hesitation or jerks or reduced speed or fluctuating r.p.m.'s. Only time will tell at this point.

I also want to make potential Nissan buyers aware that Nissan Consumer Affairs denied helping me in any way before I sought the 2nd and 3rd opinion, while Fenton Nissan was saying I needed a new transmission. Consumer Affairs said that I bought the car past the manufacturer's warranty and therefore they closed my case, (SO at this moment I wish to point out that JoJo and Ashley at Nissan consumer affairs were completely useless and really had a very indifferent and passive attitude) . Even though I pointed out that Nissan had extended the driver train warranties on select models up to 10 years/120,000 miles, and if they could warranty certain models until 120,000 miles that ALL of their c.v.t.'s should be able to function up til (and past) 120,000 miles will definitely contact any and all consumer help and consumer review sites and even join a class action lawsuit if this car's transmission needs replaced before 120,000 miles/10 years whichever comes first. I hope it will be okay now after the trans fluid flush, I will never trust it from this point forward, and how can I trust Nissan service departments with these 2 very different diagnosis"s. I am very disappointed in Nissan. My daughter, myself and my husband are Nissan owners, but that will change. I will be giving the competitors a chance next time around.

- tpoore, Knoxville, TN, US

problem #9

Jul 112016

Altima ES 4

  • CVT transmission
  • 106,000 miles

They've already extended later models and haven't fixed the issue in the newer models. I will never buy another Nissan.

- Kaylie M., Wildorado, TX, US

problem #8

Jul 062016

Altima S 2.5L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 61,000 miles


On Wednesday night, we left Phoenix for a vacation in Los Angeles and we got 80 miles on our trip and the car started to slow down. I had the pedal to the metal and I still could not accelerate. The car went from 75 to 60 and we could not go any faster. Once we got to the California border we could accelerate back up to 75. Last year, we had the same problem during a hot day going up a hill. So my wife and I decided that when we came home on Sunday, we would leave early in the morning and try to beat the heat. Well that did not work. The problem was even worse and we had to stop three times to let the transmission fluid cool down. Each time it would fix the problem for about 10-15 minutes and then it would do it again. It was the worse when traffic would slow down to 45 mph and then we had to accelerate. We had a very difficult time trying to get the car up to 60 mph. It was both frustrating and nerve-racking. Traffic was trying to get buy us as we are moving 20-30 mph below the speed limit. What is Nissan doing to fix this problem? It took us 8 hours to make a 6 hour drive. It was not a fun day of driving!!!

- redbaron123, Mesa, AZ, US

problem #7

Jun 172016

Altima 2.5S

  • Automatic transmission
  • 75,000 miles

This has happened before (I didn't record dates but it always happens in the summer). I work in Palm springs and live about an hour away and it's about 115 degrees around here! Last Friday, 6/24/2016, driving home from work I had my car on cruise control (because I found if I just cruise going below 70 it does it less often) all of the sudden a semi truck is passing me and the guy behind me was right on my butt. I look down and see that my car has reduced it's speed to 60!! No wonder the guy behind me was mad! So I slowed down and got off the freeway. I found if I turn the car off and let it rest a bit it's better. So I let it rest and get back on the freeway. It took about 5 minutes just to get my car up to 50 mph! Ugh! So I tried to drive it a bit more but it was still doing the same thing so I pull off the freeway. At this point my nieces are complaining about having to go to the bathroom so I find a jack in the box and figure that'll give my car a good rest. That seemed to have fixed it that time but it's a super scary situation especially since I had my nieces in the car with me that time!!!! I could've been rear ended by the car behind me. Nissan needs to do something about this and stop ignoring everyone's issues!! This is obviously a recall issue and I shouldn't have to come out of pocket for it just because it's out of warranty!!! Very frustrating. I'm never buying Nissan again and if I do crash because of this issue Nissan will be buying my next car...and house....and I'll be retiring! :) Fix this issue Nissan!

- Sadie D., Riverside, CA, US

problem #6

Dec 232015


  • CVT transmission
  • 60,888 miles

Bought car had 14000 miles on it cost 20,000 dollars. 5 months later transmission went, 800 miles out of warranty. It took a month of lost work and pay, plus aggravation for Nissan to decide they could be merciful and give me a new one for half price, only 1800 dollars. They only gave me a 12000 mile warranty on the new one, should have told me something right there, because about 4 months later it went again, same problem. Now I'm stuck with a piece of $%%% car I can't trade in because I owe to much and no way to work and make money because my car was my job. This crap is going to cost me everything if something doesn't happen soon.

- Sarah S., Ripley, WV, US

problem #5

Jun 112016

Altima S 2.5L

  • CVT transmission
  • 68,262 miles

Like many others this issue with the CVT transmissions need to be fixed by Nissan! No reason a transmission should just stop working because it get 'hot' I mean what is a person to do not drive on hot days? Had this car 4 months and now it's basically junk. Now that I'm 10K in it for the loan I'm stuck with a pile of junk. Thanks Nissan for taking care of loyal buyers!

- jmeyer2485, Houston, TX, US

problem #4

Mar 132016

Altima S 2.5L

  • CVT transmission
  • 82,000 miles

This is the 2nd time while traveling my car has lost speed while traveling on the freeway, I was doing 80 and out of know where my car dropped down to 60 and wouldn't go any faster. I had the accelerator to the floor and it still would not pick up speed. This is highly dangerous while traveling in Atlanta traffic.

- tmtremonti, Hinesville, GA, US

problem #3

Aug 152015

Altima SE 3.2L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 56,500 miles

This is really aggravating and the dealership won't help.

- Sharon H., Tucker, GA, US

problem #2

Apr 152015

Altima S 2.5L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 68,000 miles

Traveling around 75 mph when the car started slowing down to around 50 mph. I pulled off of the interstate on to a county road and drove a couple miles. When I returned to the interstate, the problem seemed to have corrected itself.

- Richard Martin H., Saint Petersburg, FL, US

problem #1

Dec 012014

Altima S 2.5L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 70,000 miles

I was driving on the interstate at 75 mph. Started around a truck and the car started slowing down. I tried to accelerate manually by pushing the accelerator pedal. This did nothing, I pulled to the right lane and took the next exit. Found a Nissan dealer and they said the computer indicted the transmission fluid temperature had been hot. There was a service bulletin on this problem and they suggested installing an external cooler for $465. The dealer explained that this was not a recall because it was not a safety issue. I needed to get home to Illinois so I had the cooler installed.

I complained to the local dealer after returning to Illinois (with no further problems). The local dealer said they could not do anything to help if Nissan was not offering any help. I called and relayed my complaint to Nissan and they commented that this was a known problem in a few cars but it was addressed in the owners manual so I should have been aware of what was happening. The owners manual explained that this may happen when, for example, pulling a trailer, driving in mountains, spinning a lot or driving in excessive heat. I was not pulling a trailer and only had one passenger, luggage and golf clubs, I do not consider this as overloaded. We were driving in Florida just south of Gainesville, very flat. The outside temp was 80º, this is not hot.

Nissan refused to help. Please contact me Ron Bradham 19734 County Hwy. Centralia, IL 62801 618-533-5613

- rbradham, Centralia, IL, US

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