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Nissan Altima Transmissions: Overview, Problems, Fluids

The Nissan Altima entered its sixth generation in 2018, although its manufacturer Nissan first introduced it in 1993. When it comes to its size, it is considered a mid-size car. Historically, it has been considered less powerful and luxurious than Nissan Maxima but more than Nissan Sentra. Nevertheless, the Nissan Altima has become enormously more exciting than ever with its latest generation. Now, it has incorporated advanced driver-assist technology and modern styling. Along similar lines, we will discuss today our research on the transmissions used throughout its six generations. Thus, without further ado, let us begin to spill the beans.

From its first generation in 1993 to its latest one rolled out in 2018, the Nissan Altima has used miscellaneous transmissions. It incorporates plenty with the transmission pendulum swinging between manual and automatic transmissions. So, the Nissan Altima has leveraged 4, 5, and 6-speed transmissions, along with CVT, during its evolution.

With the preliminary explanation above, we will dive deep into it below and touch on several aspects of transmissions. We will find out the different transmissions that reside in its six generations. Besides, we will discover how long they perform and the cost to replace them. In the end, we will see the common problems that drivers face during the lifetime of those transmissions. So, here we begin.

Also read: Is The Nissan Altima A Sports Car? (Answered)

What Transmissions Has The Nissan Altima Used?

Here we highlight each transmission used from the first generation through its sixth generation.

First Generation (1993–1997)

  • 5-speed manual
  • 4-speed RE4F04A automatic

Second Generation (1997–2001)

  • 5-speed manual
  • 4-speed RE4F04B automatic

Third Generation (2001–2006)

  • 5-speed manual
  • 6-speed manual
  • 4-speed automatic
  • 5-speed AF33 manumatic

Fourth Generation (2006–2012)

  • 6-speed manual
  • CVT

Fifth Generation (2012–2018)

  • Jatco CVT8 X-Tronic CVT

Sixth Generation (2018–present)

  • Jatco CVT8 X-Tronic CVT

Also read: The Expected Mileage Of A Nissan Altima

How Long Does A Nissan Altima Transmission Last?

The transmission duration of a Nissan Altima is contingent on the type of transmission that goes inside your car. On average, the CVT transmissions usually last for 100,000 miles. However, the older CVTs may not have similar reliability. It is significant to note here that two signifiers indicate the wearing out of the transmission. It includes the burning smells and fluid leaks.

Also read: The Exact Bolt Pattern Of A Nissan Altima

How Much Does A Nissan Altima Transmission Cost?

It is good to find out the costs of several transmissions when one wants to replace them. Because of the given reason, we highlight them below that are used in the production span of the Nissan Altima.

  • 4-speed RE4F04A automatic: $2,194.00 (GoPowerTrain)
  • 4-speed RE4F04B automatic: $2,194.00 (GoPowerTrain)
  • 5-speed AF33 manumatic: $3,096.80 (GoPowerTrain)
  • Jatco CVT8 X-Tronic CVT: $2,795.00 (SPPrecision)

 Common Nissan Altima Transmission Problems

Like other transmissions, transmissions belonging to Nissan Altima also contain a few problems that surface on some occasions during their lifetime. Thus, here we see a few common issues related to the transmissions of Nissan Altima.


  • When the RE4F04A transmission gets older, it requires the replacement of the friction lining of the torque converter lock-up.
  • The torque converter of the transmission destroys the clutch coupling when using a powerful engine.
  • The lock-up mechanism may clog the valve body and inflict harsh vibrations on the pump shaft. As a consequence, it damages both the pump and the pump seal. The leaking seal is usually the first sign of the faulty torque converter.


  • When it encounters problems, fluid-related issues start to pop up. A transmission leak happens for many reasons. It includes a broken seal, defective pan gasket, and poor installation that constantly hinders the smooth running of the car.
  • Another vital concern hitches transmission is overheating. For the record, it can cause the metal elements to bend and the rubber seals of the transmission system to harden. Consequently, it may precipitate the fluid to leak.
  • Sometimes, the RE4F04B transmission needs the installation of new solenoids and replacement friction linings.


  • With the AF33 transmission, shifting may feel less responsive.
  • It is comparatively heavier than a manual transmission, though it is more automatic than manual.
  • It is prone to wear and tear. So, it is likely that a driver may take the car to a repair shop often.

CVT8 X-Tronic CVT

  • It may have a sluggish response time. Overall, when a driver hits the accelerator, the power ramps up sleekly. Nonetheless, it is essentially slower than a potential fixed-gear transmission.
  • Some drivers go through shaking and shuttering of the gearbox while accelerating at low speeds. Interestingly, the issue may occur even when cars are under factory warranty.
  • There are also some complaints about being loud.
  • In some cases, sluggishness can prove dangerous. The issue is that a car may have trouble accelerating speed in crucial driving situations like overtaking.
  • Overheating is also an issue with the transmission. Ostensibly, it is the case because of not good enough design of the cooling system.

Differences Between Transmissions

The RE4F04A is a 4-speed automatic transmission. It is an electronically controlled transaxle that incorporates a range of mechanical and electronic systems. They help deal with the downshift and upshift of all forward gear. It was included primarily in the first generation of the Nissan Altima.

The RE4F04B is also a fully automatic transmission. Like RE4F04A, it is also an electronically controlled transaxle that features a mixture of electronic and mechanical systems. That said, it was included essentially in the second generation of the Nissan Altima.

The AF33 is a manumatic transmission. It incorporates the characteristics of both manual and automatic transmissions. In contrast to a manual transmission, it does not include a stick shift and clutch pedal for changing gears. For this reason, it is likewise called a clutchless manual. Essentially, the AF33 transmission was incorporated in the third generation of the Nissan Altima.

The CVT8 X-Tronic CVT is a continuously variable transmission. It is a smooth transmission, and a driver does not feel any of the steps when changing gears. Its design offers performance that is sleek even when changing shifts or decelerating or accelerating. It creates a reduction in friction since the ratio range from high to low gears is expanded. Accordingly, it paves the way for a 10% improvement in fuel economy. Nevertheless, it was incorporated in the fifth and sixth generations of the Nissan Altima.

Also read: Types Of Fuel A Nissan Altima Uses (All Generations)

Transmission Fluids And The Nissan Altima

It is crucial to take good care of your car, provided that you want it to last long and function smoothly. As far as transmission fluid is concerned, car manufacturers often recommend changing it every 45,000 miles. However, different transmissions require different types of transmission fluid. Here we provide you a source of transmission fluids that go well with various transmissions of Nissan Altima.

RE4F04A, RE4F04B, AF33, CVT8 X-Tronic CVT: Transmission fluid