Top Cars With CVT Transmission Problems 2024: A Comprehensive Review »
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Top Cars With CVT Transmission Problems 2024: A Comprehensive Review

What cars have cvt transmission problems

Continuously Variable Transmissions (CVTs) have become increasingly popular due to their ability to provide a smoother ride and better fuel efficiency compared to traditional automatic transmissions. However, despite these advantages, several car models have been plagued with significant CVT transmission problems. Issues such as overheating, shuddering, jerking motions, and control module faults have been reported across various makes and models. This article delves into the top cars with CVT transmission problems, highlighting the common issues faced by owners and the efforts made by manufacturers to address these persistent concerns. From the Nissan Altima and Sentra to the Subaru Outback and Forester, we explore the specific challenges and reliability concerns associated with these vehicles, providing valuable insights for potential buyers and current owners alike​.

#1 Nissan Altima (2013-2020)

The Nissan Altima has been plagued by numerous CVT transmission problems over the years. Overheating is one of the most common issues, caused by the insufficient cooling system that Nissan installs in these vehicles. This can result in a burning smell and, in severe cases, cause the car to enter “limp mode,” significantly reducing its performance. This overheating issue has been particularly troublesome, leading to extensive warranty claims and repairs.

Shuddering and jerking are other frequent complaints from Altima owners. These symptoms are usually felt at low speeds or when starting from a stop, often due to worn-out belts or pulleys within the CVT. Despite software updates and service bulletins, these issues persist, causing frustration among drivers. Additionally, the Altima’s CVT often produces whining or humming noises during acceleration, indicating worn-out bearings or gears within the transmission system.

#2 Nissan Rogue (2014-2020)

The Nissan Rogue has also faced significant CVT transmission issues. Many drivers report shuddering and vibrations when driving, especially at low speeds. This problem is typically caused by faulty pulleys or belts within the transmission. Furthermore, the Rogue is prone to overheating, similar to the Altima, which can lead to reduced performance and a burning odor from the transmission fluid.

Owners of the Rogue have frequently encountered transmission failures that necessitate costly repairs or replacements. Despite Nissan’s efforts to address these problems through extended warranties and service campaigns, many drivers remain dissatisfied with the reliability of their CVT systems​.

#3 Nissan Sentra (2013-2020)

The Nissan Sentra is a notable entry among cars with CVT transmission problems, sharing many of the same issues as the Altima and Rogue. Jerking and shuddering are common complaints from Sentra owners, often linked to problems with the transmission’s belts and pulleys. The Sentra’s CVT is also prone to overheating, which can cause the car to enter limp mode and significantly reduce its drivability.

Additionally, Sentra owners have reported control module issues, where the transmission control module (TCM) sends incorrect signals, causing erratic transmission behavior. These issues have led to numerous recalls and service bulletins as Nissan attempts to rectify the ongoing problems​.

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#4 Nissan Juke (2013-2017)

The Nissan Juke is another model with notable CVT transmission problems. Drivers frequently experience transmission fluid issues, such as leaks and contamination, which can lead to jerking motions and poor performance. Over time, these issues can cause significant wear and tear on the CVT components, necessitating expensive repairs.

Despite its sporty appeal, the Juke’s CVT has been a source of frustration for many owners due to its lack of reliability and durability. The premature wear of the CVT components has led to numerous complaints and warranty claims​.

#5 Subaru Forester (2014-2018)

The Subaru Forester has had its share of CVT transmission issues. Common problems include transmission fluid leaks and shuddering at low speeds. These issues are often due to inadequate sealing and wear on the transmission components. Overheating is another significant concern, which can reduce the vehicle’s performance and lead to costly repairs.

Owners have also reported problems with the transmission control module, which can cause the CVT to behave erratically. Despite Subaru’s reputation for reliability, the Forester’s CVT problems have tarnished its image somewhat​.

#6 Subaru Outback (2015-2018)

The Subaru Outback is among the cars with CVT transmission problems, sharing similar issues with the Subaru Forester. Fluid contamination and control module faults are frequently reported, leading to shuddering and jerking motions during operation. These problems often stem from both inadequate maintenance and inherent design flaws within the CVT system.

Despite these problems, Subaru has worked to address the issues through recalls and extended warranties. However, the Outback’s CVT reliability remains a concern for many owners, particularly those who drive long distances or under harsh conditions​.

#7 Honda Civic (2016-2020)

The Honda Civic has been noted for jerking motions and sudden loss of acceleration, particularly at higher mileages. These issues are often linked to overheating and fluid contamination within the CVT system. Owners have reported a lack of responsiveness from the transmission, which can be disconcerting during acceleration.

Despite its popularity, the Civic’s CVT problems have led to numerous complaints and repair costs. Honda has issued software updates and service bulletins to address these issues, but they persist for many drivers.

#8 Honda Accord (2013-2015)

The Honda Accord has also faced CVT-related challenges. Shuddering and transmission fluid leaks are common issues that plague this model. These problems can cause the transmission to behave erratically, leading to a less smooth driving experience. Control module malfunctions have also been reported, which can exacerbate the transmission issues​​.

Despite efforts to improve the CVT system, these problems have affected the Accord’s reputation for reliability. Honda continues to address these issues through recalls and service campaigns.

#9 Mitsubishi Outlander (2015-2020)

The Mitsubishi Outlander has had its fair share of CVT problems, including transmission noise and jerking motions. These issues are often due to premature wear of the CVT components, leading to a need for frequent repairs and maintenance.

Owners have reported that the Outlander’s CVT system can be unreliable, particularly in high-mileage vehicles. Despite Mitsubishi’s attempts to improve the transmission’s durability, these issues persist, affecting the overall ownership experience.

#10 Toyota Corolla (2014-2017)

The Toyota Corolla has experienced transmission fluid problems and shuddering, particularly at low speeds. These issues are often linked to fluid contamination and inadequate maintenance. Despite Toyota’s reputation for reliability, the Corolla’s CVT has been a point of contention for many owners.

The Corolla’s CVT problems have led to numerous complaints and service bulletins as Toyota works to address these concerns. Regular maintenance and timely fluid changes are crucial to mitigating these issues.


Victor is an accomplished automotive specialist known for his meticulous curation and publication of articles and news within the automotive sector. With a profound passion for cars and a discerning editorial approach, Victor consistently delivers expert insights and current updates to his audience. His contributions span comprehensive reviews, industry analyses, and the latest automotive innovations, making him an invaluable asset to our team.

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