Nissan introduced the Murano to its vehicle lineup in 2002. It came out as a mid-size crossover SUV designed to attract young professional families. The Murano’s styling is for comfort and a quality ride, but not for off-road use. It became more popular among women for its styling with slightly less popularity among men.
One of the major selling points of the Nissan Murano was the continuously variable transmission (CVT). In a report by Car and Driver, this type of transmission operates “to seamlessly change through a continuous range of gear ratios while the car drives.”
The CVT operates on a pulley system while other transmissions have a fixed number of gears with “hard shifts” between them. Additional terms for CVT transmissions include single speed, step-less, and shiftless transmissions.
On Average, Nissan Murano Transmission Repair Cost is $2,750. The newer transmission would cost as much as $4,500, while older models can be repaired for as little as $1,500.
- Transmission Issues
- Specific Complaints about Nissan Murano Transmission
- A leak from Transfer Case
- Nissan Murano Transmission Issues and Repair Cost
- Lawsuit Filings Against Nissan
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Can I drive my Nissan Murano with transmission issues?
- When do I need to replace my Nissan Murano transmission?
- How does my Nissan Murano transmission issue get diagnosed?
- How is the transmission replaced on a Nissan Murano?
- Can I buy a used transmission for my Nissan Murano?
- Is a rebuilt transmission an option for a Nissan Murano?
- Are remanufactured transmissions available for Nissan Murano?
- Related Guides
The Nissan Murano used a continuously variable transmission (CVT) used in the 350Z model cars. Designed for smaller vehicles but installed in the Murano, Nissan began seeing complaints by introducing the 2003 model year.
Nissan promoted the CVT transmissions as offering better fuel economy, ease of driving up hills, and overall providing a smoother driving experience.
Although delivering enough power to get around town, there were customer complaints such as:
- An abrupt forward surge with a bit of acceleration applied to the gas
- A deficient gear response
- Vehicle shudder Under 1000 RPM
- Transfer case leakage
- Total Transmission failure
In response to the complaints, Nissan moved to enhance the horsepower as well as upgrade the transmission. The newer design for the CVT included adaptive shift controls that sensed and adapted to various driving conditions.
The newer generation vehicle’s software offered over 1,000 shift patterns to meet multiple driving conditions. While providing the ability to drive in diverse road and weather conditions, the transmission in the Nissan Murano continued to give customers intermittent problems without warning.
Specific Complaints about Nissan Murano Transmission
Abrupt Surge Forward
The 2004 Nissan Murano abruptly surged forward when a small amount of gas was applied. While a failure in the pressure sensor may be the cause, most customers had the transmission replaced.
Following the surge, the vehicle could experience a fast idle, a stall, or an inability to start.
Deficient Gear Response
An issue with the gear engagement in the 2009 Murano happens when attempting to accelerate from a stop. The automatic transmission does not engage into first gear, and the vehicle cannot move when additional pressure to the gas is applied.
Even following numerous diagnostic tests, there is rarely a cause identified.
Vehicle Shudder Under 1000 RPM
The 2015 Nissan Murano transmission complaints involved a shudder followed by a jerk when the engine runs at 1000 RPMs or less. The shiver makes accelerating correctly tricky.
Diagnostics revealed a possible issue with the valve body and the potential for an entire transmission replacement.
A leak from Transfer Case
Other complaints from customers driving the 2010 Nissan Murano reported transmission fluid leaks from the transfer case. Fluid in the transfer case must remain at a certain level to power the wheels uninterrupted.
Service technicians can replace the problem identified as faulty seals.
The 2003 Murano may develop a foul odor while driving at about the 160,000-mile mark. The smell is an indication that the CVT transmission is beginning to fail.
In addition to the odor, you may notice fuel efficiency decreasing as well as periodic power issues. The only repair is a complete transmission installation.
Nissan Murano Transmission Issues and Repair Cost
Despite the numerous complaints about the Nissan CVT, there are no known recalls for the issues. Common symptoms of transmission-related problems are listed here.
Symptoms to look for include:
- Lack of Response
- Leaking Fluid
- Low Fluid
- Burning Smell
- Grinding or Shaking
- Whining, Clunking, or Humming
- Refuses to Go Into Gear
- Torque Converter Issues
- Valve Body Issues
- Transmission Noisy in Neutral
- Gears Slipping
- No 3rd or 4th Gear
- No 1st or 2nd Gear
- No Reverse
- Dragging Clutch
- Trouble Codes / Check Engine Light
Regarding a vehicle with a CVT, one thing to consider is that this type of transmission is initially expensive to repair. Transmission replacement costs will vary by model and year.
To be 100% sure of pricing, use this Get An Estimate feature to look up your transmission. You will need your VIN#.
The cost to replace and or repair a Nissan Murano CVT transmission would result in a bill ranging between $3,500 and $8,000, depending on the year.
Maintenance costs for fluid or a transmission flush could be as little as $150 but typically average around $185. Regular maintenance and performance checks on the transmission could catch problems while still covered under warranty.
Lawsuit Filings Against Nissan
Since the early 2000s, numerous lawsuits have been filed against Nissan claiming defective CVT transmission issues.
Among the complaints filed, plaintiffs have stated that the issues they experienced could cause collisions. The faulty transmissions were the cause of vehicle shuddering and acceleration issues.
From a ruling in 2019, Nissan has paid restitution to settle complaints amounting to millions of dollars. As well, they have extended the warranties on cars with CVT transmissions.
Nissan has denied any wrongdoing throughout all lawsuits. Although the CVT is a significant selling point for the Murano for its smooth ride, multiple plaintiffs reported “sudden, unexpected shaking and violent jerking” as a prominent point in their lawsuit filings.
Additional complaints about the CVT included the adjectives “stalling, shuddering, hesitating, and unexpected power surge.” Many of these complaints led to the reasons cited for potential collision issues.
An overwhelming agreement that these surprising actions could result in a driver losing control of the vehicle. If you have had issues with your Nissan CVT requiring a transmission repair or purchase of a new vehicle, you may want to join in one of the class action lawsuits against Nissan.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I drive my Nissan Murano with transmission issues?
You should not continue to drive your Nissan Murano if it has transmission problems. The problems may cause the vehicle to suddenly stall, shudder, jerk, or cause other issues that could cause a collision.
Have your service technician diagnose the problem. It may be an inexpensive repair. The transmission has numerous parts, and continuing to drive could further damage other components, costing much more.
When do I need to replace my Nissan Murano transmission?
As long as you maintain your Nissan Murano regularly using the dealer-recommended service schedule, you should not need to replace the transmission.
However, that depends on how your drive and the driving conditions. Some Nissan Murano transmissions have lasted between 130,000 and 180,000 miles before needing to be replaced.
How does my Nissan Murano transmission issue get diagnosed?
The Nissan Murano equipment includes circuitry that allows service technicians to search for diagnostic trouble codes (DTC). The vehicle is connected to a computer to read the DTCs.
The readouts enable the technicians to inspect the area identified visually.
How is the transmission replaced on a Nissan Murano?
The vehicle is lifted so technicians can unbolt all the parts to the transmission. The transmission and parts are lowered using a transmission jack.
The new transmission is lifted into place and bolted before the internal circuits are reprogramed to accept the new transmission.
Can I buy a used transmission for my Nissan Murano?
Used transmissions can be found at used parts outlets or junkyards. Be aware that although the transmission may come with a 30-90 day warranty, you have no way of checking the condition of the internal components.
The warranty will only cover the transmission, not any labor costs you may have incurred.
Is a rebuilt transmission an option for a Nissan Murano?
A rebuilt transmission is an option. Some repair shops can remove the transmission and replace the defective parts. You will want to check the skills and experience of the technicians doing the work.
You could encounter new problems if a component is not adjusted correctly. As with used transmissions, the warranty that comes with the rebuilt transmission may not cover any labor costs.
Some shops only honor their work, so you are limited to where the work can be done.
Are remanufactured transmissions available for Nissan Murano?
Remanufactured transmissions may offer a cost-effective choice to replace a bad one. To find out where you can find a remanufactured transmission and an online quote, click here.
Have the 17-digit VIN# for your Murano available. You can find a local shop to install it at Find a Shop.
You may believe that your Nissan CVT transmission is experiencing one or more of the issues listed in this report. If the transmission is still under warranty, take it to your dealership to have the problems fixed.
Do not continue to drive the vehicle until it has been repaired.
Several lawsuits have been filed against Nissan. If your warranty is expired and you cannot resolve your transmission issues, you may need to look into joining one of the class action lawsuits or file one yourself.