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I have a 2008 Nissan Altima Coupe. This was the first year Nissan released that model and it does have the fancy CVT for its transmission.

I have heard all the horror stories of people that have had issues with their CVTs, but I have not had any with my since I bought the car brand new. I have driven it since it had seven miles on it...

My plan has always been to drive the car until it breaks or the costs to repair get too high and I am worried I might be at that point now.

I spoke to my local Midas last week about my cigarette plug no longer working and they gave me a laundry list of stuff that comes to about $2k to fix, including a transmission leak that alone accounts for over half that total. A couple things I have ignored like the A/C fan not working, but this needs attention one way or another.

I also spoke to a co-worker today who mentioned that they will have to take the transmission apart in this repair (which might make it not work as well when they put it back together) and it is possible to just caulk the seal that is leaking instead of fixing it directly.

Not only would that be significantly cheaper, but I am deathly afraid of them putting it back together and then starting to have issues like everyone else has been.

Is it better to just seal the leak with a bandaid and see what happens or should I bite the bullet and have it all repaired as I originally intended?

OR

Since my car is over 240k miles have I started to reach the end of life for my vehicle and I should start looking into replacing it?

I love my car, but I am trying to be objective and smart with what the future might hold... Thanks for any advice.

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  • I recommend at least talking to the Nissan service department to see if there is a service bulletin or something on a leaking CVT that may give you a warranted or partially warranted repair.
    – Tim Nevins
    Mar 17 '20 at 17:40
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For a vehicle as described, you would be wise to visit a second repair facility. Two thousand dollars to repair a 12v convenience outlet is steep, although I recognize that was only the initiating factor.

Have you examined the floor/ground under where the vehicle is parked for this alleged leak? Have you experienced transmission related problems?

You should also be checking the transmission fluid level in your vehicle, using the recommended process. My quick research provided contradicting descriptions, one requiring that the vehicle be operating, while the other suggested that it be powered off. Conventional automatic transmissions typically require that the vehicle be running, that the shifting be sequenced a few times, then placed in park.

The mechanism of a CVT system is somewhat different than an automatic and I would not suggest to perform the check in a manner inconsistent with the owner's manual.

Yours is a difficult decision to make. A vehicle more than a decade old which requires repair for which the cost may exceed the value of the car. One might consider to add fluid as needed, tolerate the leak, and save for replacement in the near future.

Drive it 'til it dies, but nurse it as long as you can.

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  • I did actually take it to another place (Big O) first, but I have seen my bills steadily increase over time with them and I really only go to them for my tires now. They did find the same transmission leak though. - Thanks for your response!
    – Odin1806
    Feb 16 '20 at 17:26

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