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I have a 2015 Nissan Altima. When I barely accelerate, the RPM shoots up to 4-5 but the car barely picks up speed. This all happens while the car is in drive, then my engine light turned on. What could possibly be wrong with my car?

  • It could be anything. You need to find out what codes the engine light has stored. Most auto parts stores (Pepboys, Advance, NAPA) in the U.S. will scan your codes for free. – Spivonious Jun 26 '17 at 16:25
  • Wow, really I wish that I knew those places did that for free! Good to know for next time! (hopefully there won't be a next time though) – Jessica Jun 26 '17 at 16:37
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    If it's a manual car it sounds like a clutch slipping (rpm increases and speed doesn't) – px06 Jun 26 '17 at 16:45
  • It is a transmission problem. Check your fluid for starters – agentp Jun 26 '17 at 18:25
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If it's a manual transmission, it sounds like the clutch slipping, either from something within the clutch breaking, or something preventing the pressure plate from returning, such as an obstruction within the hydraulic clutch line.

If it's an automatic transmission then you have internal damage. If it's not shifting at all it may be in "limp mode" that allows the engine to run but limits the shifting of the transmission. The car should not be driven more than a couple of hundred yards in this condition. In any case, it should be checked by a professional if you do not do major repairs yourself. It could be something as simple as a bad sensor or broken wire causing it to not shift, or could be costly internal damage. You can try to smell your transmission fluid dipstick and if it smells like burnt sugar or plastic, then that's really bad. But it may still be damaged even with no smell. As another poster said, get the codes scanned, but a pro is probably still going to be required.

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Depending on your mileage, you may have damaged the CVT either through use or improper CVT fluid/ fluid change intervals.

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