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Today I bought my first Altima, a 2015 4 door. I love this car, fully loaded, leather, Bose-! When I got home, started doing some research and learned about the transmission, seems this is the only deal breaker! It was recommended to change the trans oil every 25K miles to prolong it's life. I have no problem doing this, I'm looking for any - all advise about how to get the most out of this car. My last Honda Accord did almost 400K, I changed the trans fluid every 100K miles. Thanks in advance! JM
 

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To enhance longevity, the CVT fluid should always be replaced every 25,000 to 30,000 mi. When the fluid stays in too long, the chemical properties of the fluid get compromised and it can no longer provide that cushion that's so needed between the steel belt and the cones. You can generally deduce that by looking at the fluid; if it's very dark brown and has a burnt odor, it's shot!
 

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Today I bought my first Altima, a 2015 4 door. I love this car, fully loaded, leather, Bose-! When I got home, started doing some research and learned about the transmission, seems this is the only deal breaker! It was recommended to change the trans oil every 25K miles to prolong it's life. I have no problem doing this, I'm looking for any - all advise about how to get the most out of this car. My last Honda Accord did almost 400K, I changed the trans fluid every 100K miles. Thanks in advance! JM
You'll also do the tranny a great favor if you install a trans cooler, especially if you're a leadfoot or you live in a very steep/hilly area. If you live in a state that has "real winter", you should add a thermostatic bypass valve (H-valve) along with the cooler to avoid over-cooling in the cold months. Heat and shear force are the two great enemies of the fluid. You can protect the fluid against shear breakdown simply with routine fluid changes, but controlling heat is the other half of long life for a CVT.
 

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FYI, here's the cooler setup I installed on the wife's '13 SL. Yours will be identical. I've also installed several for customers on various models, but gen5 Alties are particularly easy. Dana and Derale both make thermostatic bypass valves, but I like the Derale because it has 4 tapped mounting holes that are handy. Drilling two small holes in the subframe flange right next to the beehive (the fluid warmer on the front of the trans that looks like an old-fashioned beekeeper's box) allows tucking it out of trouble above the flange but very close to the existing hoses. The right-angle fittings on the cooler are optional, they simply allow the cooler to be lower for better airflow and easier hose routing than the straight fittings that come with the Hayden kit. No need to remove the fans or the upper CVT fluid hose, really no disassembly at all except for the engine splash cover. The whole installation took under an hour on a lift, probably 1-1/2 to 2 hours on jacks in a driveway. :)

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
FYI, here's the cooler setup I installed on the wife's '13 SL. Yours will be identical. I've also installed several for customers on various models, but gen5 Alties are particularly easy. Dana and Derale both make thermostatic bypass valves, but I like the Derale because it has 4 tapped mounting holes that are handy. Drilling two small holes in the subframe flange right next to the beehive (the fluid warmer on the front of the trans that looks like an old-fashioned beekeeper's box) allows tucking it out of trouble above the flange but very close to the existing hoses. The right-angle fittings on the cooler are optional, they simply allow the cooler to be lower for better airflow and easier hose routing than the straight fittings that come with the Hayden kit. No need to remove the fans or the upper CVT fluid hose, really no disassembly at all except for the engine splash cover. The whole installation took under an hour on a lift, probably 1-1/2 to 2 hours on jacks in a driveway. :)

View attachment 11021
Thank you so much for this great advise! I'll start out with keeping the oil changed every 25K miles, and check into this oil cooling system! I live on the flatlands of Nebraska, with minimum hills so I hope to keep this car going! All advise is much appreciated! JM
 

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Today I bought my first Altima, a 2015 4 door. I love this car, fully loaded, leather, Bose-! When I got home, started doing some research and learned about the transmission, seems this is the only deal breaker! It was recommended to change the trans oil every 25K miles to prolong it's life. I have no problem doing this, I'm looking for any - all advise about how to get the most out of this car. My last Honda Accord did almost 400K, I changed the trans fluid every 100K miles. Thanks in advance! JM
To enhance longevity, the CVT fluid should always be replaced every 25,000 to 30,000 mi. When the fluid stays in too long, the chemical properties of the fluid get compromised and it can no longer provide that cushion that's so needed between the steel belt and the cones. You can generally deduce that by looking at the fluid; if it's very dark brown and has a burnt odor, it's shot!
25K is very premature. Jatco CVT's prone to overheat which overheats the fluid. The most effecient maintenance would be to add an external cooler in front of the cooling condenser. Hope that helps you keep your CVT to 300k.
 

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25K is very premature. Jatco CVT's prone to overheat which overheats the fluid. The most effecient maintenance would be to add an external cooler in front of the cooling condenser. Hope that helps you keep your CVT to 300k.
It's only premature if you're not a hard driver, don't live in the hills, and never tow anything. If any of those are untrue, 25K is perfectly reasonable. Temperature isn't the fluid's only enemy. Shear forces also break down the long-chain molecules that cushion the belt, gradually robbing them of their film strength. Those forces are exacerbated by load, so if you're a routine hot-foot or routinely climb long hills, earlier intervals are called for. CVT owners need to understand those factors and judge for themselves. For most people 30K is okay and 50K is too long for even grandma, but there are plenty of drivers who fall outside that "okay" range.
 
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