7th Generation Maxima (2009-2015) Come in and talk about the 7th generation Maxima

CVT Fluid drain/fill

Old 11-15-2012, 07:43 AM
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CVT Fluid drain/fill

First I wanna say thanks to Eddy for doing the 6th gen Maxima write-up on my6thgen.org. Very helpful and I borrowed 3 of his pictures for this thread.

I just did my CVT transmission fluid drain/fill the other day, I'm at ~44,000 miles and premium maintenance service plan recommended every 40,000 while standard recommended every 60,000. With how I drive I figured it's about time so why not. I got my fluid on fleabay, picked up 6 quarts for about $80 including shipping.

To start out, drive your car around and warm it up (yes warm it up). Park it and run your shifter through all the gears (D, N, R, etc). You will want to work on the car while it's warm so be careful underneath touching metal.

The process is this. Jack up the car in front; or use rhino ramps which make this job stupid easy. Get a 10mm allen key (this is a fairly large one so it may not be on your multi-tool, I had to go out a buy a specific 10mm one from Sears) and a funnel with a narrow tip to fit in the transmission inlet. The transmission dipstick in your engine bay is the round thing sticking up next to the main engine cover, more towards the driver side of that cover. It has some stupid child-safety plastic thing on it so idiots at Jiffy Lube or whatever don't ruin your car by "topping off your transmission fluid" with standard stuff I guess.
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Push in the black plastic tab with a flathead screwdriver and pull the dipstick out. Wipe it off, push it all the way back in (do it backwards so the child safety crap doesn't lock), pull it out again. Your transmission fluid should be at the second notch near the bottom; remember that. Leave the dipstick out this time.

Get an oil pan, about 4-5 quarts of liquid is going to come out so you need a decent sized receptacle to catch it. Under the car look for a big metal piece that looks like this; here's a picture of it with the drain plug removed.
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Here is the drain plug you'll remove, be careful the liquid is kind of hot and comes out pretty fast!
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Let it drain for about 15 minutes. Then replace the plug (don't torque it too hard, just get it nice and snug until you get a decent amount of resistance). Use a funnel and pour in the same amount of fluid you drained out of the car; you can start with 3 quarts and add .5 quarts at a time checking the dip-stick inbetween (remember, second notch). I ended up putting 4.5 quarts back in. When you're satisfied with the amount of transmission fluid showing on the dipstick, replace the dip-stick and go drive the car. Don't over do it, the car should have only released 4-5 quarts from the transmission through that drain plug.

Overall my impression is this. Car idles a little quieter, seems "smoother" to drive (as if the CVT wasn't smooth already) and I'm seeing a .5 - 1 mpg bump in my daily commute which is a nice little surprise. Definitely worth saving the few hundred bucks doing this myself instead of having the dealer do it.

Part number for CVT transmission fluid: 999MP-NS200P. You can get this stuff on many websites, from the dealership, or on eBay.

Last edited by Ghozt; 11-16-2012 at 07:04 PM.
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Old 11-15-2012, 07:56 AM
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Very well written, and nice pictures!
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Old 11-15-2012, 07:58 AM
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Originally Posted by Amerikaner83 View Post
Very well written, and nice pictures!
Thanks, I learned it from the 6th gen write-up. Mostly confirming that the process is identical for the 7th gens.
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Old 11-15-2012, 01:04 PM
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It's great to know that the process is fairly straight forward. It seems easy enough do and I shudder to think what the dealer would charge for a flush and fill. Thanks for the write-up, Ghozt! Just to clarify, you put in the CVT fluid where the dipstick is located, correct?
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Old 11-15-2012, 01:10 PM
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Originally Posted by Shipwreck View Post
It's great to know that the process is fairly straight forward. It seems easy enough do and I shudder to think what the dealer would charge for a flush and fill. Thanks for the write-up, Ghozt! Just to clarify, you put in the CVT fluid where the dipstick is located, correct?
No doubt. Yeah you use the tube where the dipstick comes out; get a very narrow funnel to fit in it, it's a small opening. I think the stealership charges 300+ for this.

By the way this is a DRAIN/FILL, not a FLUSH/FILL. Flushing isn't recommended by all kinds of mechanics and Nissan master techs because it can destroy your transmission. Something to do with stirring up sediment/small bits and having it get in places it shouldn't be like clogging a hose for example. Doing a drain/fill is the safe way to maintain the transmission. I wouldn't do a complete flush of the system unless you feel like going shopping for a new car in the near future.

Last edited by Ghozt; 11-15-2012 at 01:12 PM.
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Old 11-16-2012, 05:47 AM
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Originally Posted by Ghozt View Post
No doubt. Yeah you use the tube where the dipstick comes out; get a very narrow funnel to fit in it, it's a small opening. I think the stealership charges 300+ for this.

By the way this is a DRAIN/FILL, not a FLUSH/FILL. Flushing isn't recommended by all kinds of mechanics and Nissan master techs because it can destroy your transmission. Something to do with stirring up sediment/small bits and having it get in places it shouldn't be like clogging a hose for example. Doing a drain/fill is the safe way to maintain the transmission. I wouldn't do a complete flush of the system unless you feel like going shopping for a new car in the near future.
I definitely agree with this.....if you want to do a "flush", my suggestion would be to do a drain and fill, drive it for a week, then do another drain and fill. The clean fluid should help remove and dissolve some of the contaminants without doing a real flush and risking damage to the transmission.
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Old 11-16-2012, 05:50 AM
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great right up Dan
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Old 11-16-2012, 06:15 AM
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Is there a filter for the CVT fluid? Does it need to changed at some point?
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Old 11-16-2012, 06:16 AM
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Awesome! Thanks!
Will have to do it spring time for sure!
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Old 11-16-2012, 06:31 AM
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Originally Posted by TBA View Post
Is there a filter for the CVT fluid? Does it need to changed at some point?
Nope. This is basically half as difficult as an oil change cause there is no filter to change.
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Old 11-16-2012, 06:39 AM
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Do you know if there any aftermarket CVT fluid out there that might be better than the nissan like an amsoil, or a redline?

I know they make great gear oils and ATF's....but not sure about CVT fluid.
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Old 11-16-2012, 06:46 AM
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Good write up. Adding to the FAQ/Stickies. Tho I wouldn't recommend buying the CVT fluid from ebay. Less than reputable folks there like to counterfeit, repackage and rebrand things that aren't real into looking like they are and some are very professional at it. would suck to find out you're dumping 5w30 into your cvt tranny instead of CVT fluid.
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Old 11-16-2012, 07:28 AM
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Originally Posted by vball_max View Post
Do you know if there any aftermarket CVT fluid out there that might be better than the nissan like an amsoil, or a redline?

I know they make great gear oils and ATF's....but not sure about CVT fluid.
I don't think so, I'd lean towards only using OEM Nissan CVT fluid in their transmission until someone else develops/tests something and demonstrates it is a workable alternative for that OEM fluid. You don't want to be the first one to test that.

Originally Posted by Compusmurf View Post
Good write up. Adding to the FAQ/Stickies. Tho I wouldn't recommend buying the CVT fluid from ebay. Less than reputable folks there like to counterfeit, repackage and rebrand things that aren't real into looking like they are and some are very professional at it. would suck to find out you're dumping 5w30 into your cvt tranny instead of CVT fluid.
True, buying from eBay can be risky. I made sure to buy from a seller that was a Nissan/Infiniti dealership with a very good (100%) rating for sales and offered OEM parts of all kinds. I know a few dealerships on there that I always contact first for parts instead of doing a general search. There are direct channels like courtesyparts.com and such for Nissan parts as well.
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Old 11-16-2012, 09:44 AM
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how to change fluid for dummies...lol
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Old 11-16-2012, 10:04 AM
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Originally Posted by IFuXwiTuZ View Post
how to change fluid for dummies...lol
yeah I can't really understand how Nissan charges so much for this, you're paying like $200 just for them to enter it onto your service record for you basically
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Old 11-16-2012, 10:19 AM
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whoa.....thats a lot just to do that ^
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Old 11-16-2012, 05:01 PM
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Those keyboard keys don't press themselves... heh. To be fair, looking at the repair manual, if service technicians do each and every step on the inspection and find they need to clean the CVT cooler, there's a bit more work involved.

Still, I'd rather save money and do it myself

I hear you on the flush vs. drain. That's good info that I never knew about but makes sense, regarding of the bits that may be present. I was using those words interchangeably.
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Old 11-16-2012, 05:25 PM
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I don't know if this is true/false or rumor, but I read that the transmission fluid bit (built in test) stores the "quality" of the fluid and that this sensor should be reset afterward. If it truly measures the quality of the fluid, I don't know why this would be necessary, but would like to hear from the "experts" as to the need to have this reset, or even if this is a true statement!
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Old 11-17-2012, 08:42 AM
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Local dealer charged me 1hr labor and $19.95/qt for fluid for my CVT service 2 years ago in my 2007. Came to just under $200...which did seem steep. However, done once every 60k miles...I wasn't complaining too much.
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Old 03-28-2013, 05:37 PM
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Tried to check my transmission fluid color today and I pushed the flatdriver in the little slot and it won't budge. Is it in the little slot or above it?
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Old 04-06-2013, 07:47 AM
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Hey Ghozt just wondering, does your car seem to shift better after the drain/fill? My caar does shift gears as smooth as I want and I was wondering whether this might help. Im at 60,000 so Im thinking this would help.
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Old 04-06-2013, 12:02 PM
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i feel like it accelerates a little smoother and idles quieter. also just a good feeling in the back of your mind knowing your trans has some brand new fluid in at least half of it.
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Old 04-06-2013, 07:49 PM
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This should b sticky!! Thanks Dan. Great write up for all to use
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Old 05-06-2013, 06:38 PM
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Question about checking the fluid level

Just got my Maxima a month ago, 2010 Crimson Black SV. After finding this post I decided to go check the CVT fluid. I am not sure if I am reading the dip stick correctly, it says up top to make sure the fluid is between the notches. When I checked it, the fluid came up above the second notch, slightly below the curvy part in the stick. To my knowledge the fluid has never been changed and probably hasn't since I got it with 22300 miles. Is this something to be concerned about or is there a particular way to check the fluid?
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Old 05-07-2013, 05:50 PM
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Originally Posted by Gfporter1015 View Post
Just got my Maxima a month ago, 2010 Crimson Black SV. After finding this post I decided to go check the CVT fluid. I am not sure if I am reading the dip stick correctly, it says up top to make sure the fluid is between the notches. When I checked it, the fluid came up above the second notch, slightly below the curvy part in the stick. To my knowledge the fluid has never been changed and probably hasn't since I got it with 22300 miles. Is this something to be concerned about or is there a particular way to check the fluid?
I believe you have to do the following three things to get a good reading.
1. Warm up the transmission by driving at least 20 minutes.
2. Park on level surface.
3. Take reading while car is idleing and in Park, with parking brake on.
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Old 05-08-2013, 10:16 AM
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Originally Posted by Richard66 View Post
I believe you have to do the following three things to get a good reading.
1. Warm up the transmission by driving at least 20 minutes.
2. Park on level surface.
3. Take reading while car is idleing and in Park, with parking brake on.

Ok, I wasn't checking while the car was idleing...... I will try that.
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Old 05-08-2013, 02:47 PM
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I had my dealership do this while they were doing my 60k service. They kept telling me that it wasn't recommended until 100k miles.
Charge $150 for the job.
Car feels smoother that it did previously.
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Old 05-08-2013, 03:18 PM
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Yes they recommended that I do at around 100k or so. They based this on the degradation of the oil on the cvt and they can run a test that will tell them status, I believe it's through the ECU. Either way the 09-10 Max's have a 120k mile warranty ok the CVT! Ill will be replacing mine at 60k just because!
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Old 10-15-2013, 09:10 AM
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Originally Posted by Ghozt View Post

Push in the black plastic tab with a flathead screwdriver and pull the dipstick out.

Is it a fail that I cant even get past this part? I see the inner black tab but I just cant it off.

Help? lol
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Old 10-15-2013, 09:22 AM
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no, thats the hardest part honestly haha. its a pain to get off, hard to explain but you just gotta push that tab in, thats a "lock" Nissan put on there so random mechanics wouldnt try to top off your trans fluid with automatic fluid cause they're stupid
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Old 10-15-2013, 10:27 AM
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Originally Posted by Ghozt View Post
no, thats the hardest part honestly haha. its a pain to get off, hard to explain but you just gotta push that tab in, thats a "lock" Nissan put on there so random mechanics wouldnt try to top off your trans fluid with automatic fluid cause they're stupid
Fml im stupid haha thanks.
Im doing this today. Wish me luck.
Btw I have 30k miles :/

Last edited by GNCMaxima; 10-15-2013 at 10:31 AM.
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Old 10-15-2013, 05:53 PM
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Update*

4.5 qrts and my baby is running just fine. That was easy thanks to you

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Old 01-04-2014, 08:08 PM
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Thanks for the write up. Changed out today at 40k miles. That fluid gushes out fast, so make sure you don't use one of those containers with the small drain area in the middle. Like I did. Lol
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Old 07-08-2014, 05:26 AM
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Was hoping for a clarification. It is mentioned that 4.5 -5 quarts are needed using the OEM fluid. On another post about this it states that double that amount is needed if using the Amisol product also sold in quarts. Why the difference and what is the actual amount of fluid needed?? Just want to make sure i dont add too much or too little.

Thanks.
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Old 07-08-2014, 01:00 PM
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Originally Posted by STEVE1214 View Post
Was hoping for a clarification. It is mentioned that 4.5 -5 quarts are needed using the OEM fluid. On another post about this it states that double that amount is needed if using the Amisol product also sold in quarts. Why the difference and what is the actual amount of fluid needed?? Just want to make sure i dont add too much or too little.

Thanks.
this is a drain/fill which is the routine maintenance for CVT fluid. in a drain fill you only get about 4.75-5 quarts out just using the drain plug, and refill with the same amount. it is not standard to change all of the fluid out for maintenance.

with Amsoil you are REPLACING the OEM fluid, so you would have to take all 10.8 quarts out of the system using a different method (the entire procedure is not in this thread) and replace with the same amount
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Old 07-08-2014, 04:14 PM
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Thank you very much for clarifying. Now i just need to get my hands on some OEM fluid.
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Old 07-17-2014, 09:06 PM
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just did this on my 09 with 42k, probably easier and cleaner then an oil change, I added 4.5 quarts of NS2, car feels smoother and has a little more pull
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Old 12-06-2014, 10:12 PM
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I did mine today.

2010 Max

replaced 5 quarts, it's easier than oil change
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Old 01-27-2015, 08:27 PM
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amsoil CVT in 08 max instead NS-2

I just bought 6 qts. of the Amsoil CVT fluid. I want to do a drain/fill. curious to know what people's thoughts were on amsoil cvt and also if you think it would be okay to mix NS-2 with amsoil cvt from left over NS-2 fluid in the converter. Amsoil says it is compatible and they also directly tested amsoil cvt against Nissan NS-2 and the amsoil blew it out of the water in testing. Just curious to thoughts on this and what the guys in Nissan max field say about this situation. BTW I have an 08 max SL with 91k on it I have no clue if the cvt fluid was ever changed as I bought the car used when it had 83k rounds on it. Thanks for input
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Old 01-28-2015, 02:35 AM
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You should stick to the original fluid. The original fluid has been tested by Nissan. I wouldn't take the word of some company who probably didnt really thoroughly test it(ie put it on a bench and let it run). It's a $5k transmission job. You think amsoil would take responsibility if it fails? nope... it might work for the short term might even give performance gains but it would just mean sooner failure/degrading of the fluid. It's complicated just stick the the original fluid.
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