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Clement, Diagnostic Technician
Category: Car
Satisfied Customers: 208
Experience:  VW, BMW & GM Holden factory trained, Diploma in IT
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2007 Nissan Maxima: SL..accelerating..40 mph..a vibration noise

Resolved Question:

I have a 2007 Nissan Maxima 3.5 SL which I bought at 53000 miles. When accelerating the car between 20-40 mph, the engine vibrates and makes a vibration noise as well. This noise is very similar to something you would hear from a manual transmission car which is going 20 mph in 4th or fifth gear. Of note, between 20-40 mph the RPM of the engine is at 1200-1500 rpm during this vibration and noise. As the car accelerates to 40 mph and the rpm rises higher, the noise goes away. Since my Maxima has a manual gate, I did a test. When the engine started vibrating between 20-40 mph I swtiched the transmission to manual gate which then shows u the gear the car is in and it showed a gear of 4 or 5. This means that although this is CVT transmission, the car is trying to run gear ratios equal to 4 or 5 on a manual car while at the speed of 20-40 mph, hence it makes sense that it makes the engine vibrate and produce vibration sound like a manual car would in the same situation. Also of note, If I gun the car, i do not hear the sound as the car accelerates at 2000 rpm even when 20-40 mph. However I cannot keep driving like that since it would waste fuel.

This did not seem normal to me so I took the car to my dealer, who told me that this is normal in CVT transmission to save fuel and there is nothing they could do since the check engine light was off. I was helpless but I disagreed with them that this was normal. Would it not be damaging to the engine that the CVT behaves in this way?

I wanted to ask if you guys have had similar complaints from other maxima owners driving CVT. A simple solution that I thought was that if there could be some way to reprogram the Computer chip of the car to run higher rpms between 20-40 mph and this problem should go away. Are you aware of any way to fix the above problem?

(of note: If i drive the car in manual mode and shift gears myself, this does not happen)
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Car
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Relist: No answer yet.
Expert:  al-mod replied 6 years ago.
Hi, I'm a Moderator on the Just Answer website and will try to help you get an answer as you have been waiting for awhile. I do not answer questions, rather I work with Customers and Experts to try to help questions get answered. The response rate on Just Answer is usually over 95%, but sometimes questions may go un-answered. Some of the common reasons found on some questions are:

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Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Thanks for reviewing my question. I am still waiting for an answer. You mentioned some reasons why my question would not have been answere. How would I know if my question is not being answered because the above reasons, am I going to get a message relating that?
Expert:  Clement replied 6 years ago.
Even though your car does not have a check engine light on, there may still be fault codes in the system. You will have to take it back to the dealer, or another Nissan dealer if they cannot help you. Get them to:

  • scan the engine/transmission for fault codes
  • check the transmission fluid level and condition & renew as necessary
  • check engine oil level/condition
  • check Nissan TSBs (technical service bulletins) or confirm with Nissan HQ if there are software updates/upgrades for your transmission.

Although this seems very likely to be a transmission issue, the engine could be affecting it as well. When I used to work for dealers, we would get software updates every now and then. There was one such update that altered the shift pattern of an auto and fixed a vibration very similar to yours. Get them to do all the basic checks and take it somewhere else if they cannot help you!
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
I have trouble finding information on Nissan TSB and Nissan HQ online. can you suggest how this can be done?
Expert:  Clement replied 6 years ago.
You will not be able to find this info online as this is available through your dealer only! You will have to take your car back to them.
Clement, Diagnostic Technician
Category: Car
Satisfied Customers: 208
Experience: VW, BMW & GM Holden factory trained, Diploma in IT
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