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Hi Globe Drive,

I own a 2008 Nissan Versa with a CVT transmission. I recently hit 53,000 kilometres, and according to the preferred maintenance schedule, it was due for a flush of the CVT transmission fluid (I do mostly city driving with my car). I had that performed at a non-dealership shop for roughly $250. I thought it was a substantial cost, but in the interest of keeping my car running well for as many years as possible, I proceeded with it.

The shop told me that the flush was required (I had a look at the old fluid itself; it was tinged brownish with some grit in it).

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Maybe this is a moot point because the procedure is a done deal, but is this cost out of line for a CVT transmission flush? And does it REALLY need to be done at 50,000 km? I have read in some message groups on the Internet that the CVT fluid doesn't really have to be changed at all.

Any advice for next time would be appreciated.


Eric, you deserve an "Atta boy" for reading your owner's manual - way to go! If everyone did this simple little exercise, a lot of time and money could be saved. But as is the case here, the devil is in the details. You mentioned that your manual indicated a transmission flush, but careful reading illustrates that you had options, Eric.

Nissan lists three levels of maintenance in their owner's manuals:

Schedule 1

Use Schedule 1 every 6000 kms or three months (whichever comes first), if you primarily operate your vehicle under any of these conditions:

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  • Repeated short trips of less than 5 miles in normal temperatures or less than 10 miles in freezing temperatures
  • Stop-and-go traffic in hot weather or low-speed driving for long distances
  • Driving in dusty conditions or on rough, muddy, or salt-spread roads
  • Towing a trailer, or using a camper or car-top carrier

Schedule 2

Schedule 2 features 12,000 kms service intervals; fewer maintenance items are regularly checked or replaced than Schedule 1 and can be used under the following conditions:

  • Highway driving in temperate conditions.
  • If you primarily operate your vehicle under conditions other than those listed in Schedule 1.


  • Premium service is a Nissan recommendation. It is a value-added service that is offered every 48,000 kms and can be added to Schedule 1 or 2.

I can't tell you which schedule is right for you Eric as you will have to assess your own demands and driving conditions that you put your Versa through, but I can tell you that I could not find any information that states you must flush the CVT transmission.

Eric, the closest I could come was a statement inside the premium service schedule that stated a CVT flush is optional. The worst that can be said is that you have given your Versa a dose of preventive medicine - so this is definitely not wasted money.

Your message groups are correct and this is true of most transmissions...they require little to no servicing at all. Usually, the only time servicing is required is after a transmission drivability problem has been discovered or a leak has developed.

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So Eric, next time, there shouldn't be a next time for your CVT. The gift you've just given your Versa should last the remainder of your relationship.

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About the Author
Globe Drive columnist

As associate dean of Motive Power programs at the British Columbia Institute of Technology, Rob MacGregor has nearly three decades' experience in training the province's automotive technicians. He has written extensively on car mechanics, appears regularly on television and is a member of the Autotmobile Journalists Association of Canada. More

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