Switching CVT fluid from Nissan OEM to other brand?

Joined
Jul 30, 2020
Messages
27
So I have an '08 Altima (2.5 S) that needs the CVT transmission fluid changed. I just bought it, with about 100k miles on it. While the oil has been regularly changed, I'm not sure about the CVT fluid, so I thought it would be best to change it just to be sure. The fluid that is in it currently has the green tint of the OEM stuff, so I'm assuming that's what's in it now.

I've read good things about the Castrol CVT fluid, so I'm considering using that, as it is a fraction of the cost of the Nissan stuff. (I have a 2010 Maxima that I have done with the Nissan OEM fluid, and had no issues, but it's pricey) My question is two part:

1. Does everyone agree that the Castrol CVT fluid (or other brands) are as good or better than the Nissan OEM fluid and won't cause any issues with the transmission? The car has 105k miles on it, so it's out of warranty anyway, if that were a concern.

2. Since it currently has the OEM fluid in it, is there anything special I need to do when making the switch to a different brand? Should I do a drain and fill now, then drive it for a bit, then do another drain and fill in 1000 miles or something? Or am I ok to just do one drain and fill and call it good?

Also (ok I guess there are three questions) do I really need to drop the pan and replace the gasket? Will that drop a lot more oil than just draining? Thanks!

Edit: Also considered installing a little transmission cooler. Would that go a long ways in helping to extend the longevity of the transmission?
 
Joined
Oct 17, 2014
Messages
1,894
Location
SW Ontario Canada
I've done my own research, found a MSDS (SDS) for the Nissan NS2 and found it was made by SOPUS which is Shell Oil Products US. So with that, I used the Pennzoil Platinum CVT 2 product on my 2013 Maxima (since sold last week) and had no issues whatsoever in the 2 dump and fills I did while owning that car. Castrol is a good brand, so is Aisin, Eneos, Idemitsu, and I've also heard that Valvoline CVT fluid is very good.
 

paqman

Thread starter
Joined
Jul 30, 2020
Messages
27
KGMtech said:
I've done my own research, found a MSDS (SDS) for the Nissan NS2 and found it was made by SOPUS which is Shell Oil Products US. So with that, I used the Pennzoil Platinum CVT 2 product on my 2013 Maxima (since sold last week) and had no issues whatsoever in the 2 dump and fills I did while owning that car. Castrol is a good brand, so is Aisin, Eneos, Idemitsu, and I've also heard that Valvoline CVT fluid is very good.
Thanks, I saw a youtube video that basically said the same thing, went into depth about it. So it's good to hear it verified by someone.
 
Last edited:
Joined
Mar 20, 2008
Messages
12,181
Location
USA
Welcome to BITOG!

Valvoline and Castrol both make great CVT fluids. Some people don't like Castrol because it's red. Valvoline is green. Amazon recently started carrying Valvoline CVT at a good price by the case, $37 for 6 quarts, only $2 more than the red Castrol.

You do not have to drop the pan I think your CVT has a drain plug
 

paqman

Thread starter
Joined
Jul 30, 2020
Messages
27
slacktide_bitog said:
Welcome to BITOG!

Valvoline and Castrol both make great CVT fluids. Some people don't like Castrol because it's red. Valvoline is green. Amazon recently started carrying Valvoline CVT at a good price by the case, $37 for 6 quarts, only $2 more than the red Castrol.

You do not have to drop the pan I think your CVT has a drain plug
Thanks! Yeah the only reason I was leaning towards Castrol is because all the reviews on Amazon for the Castrol were mentioning being used in Nissans, Altimas specificially. The Valvoline mentioned a lot more Hondas and Subarus, and the one review that mentioned a Nissan was negative. But I'm sure either would be fine.

So I should be ok to mix the new stuff with the OEM that's in there and call it good?
 

MolaKule

Staff member
Joined
Jun 5, 2002
Messages
22,198
Location
Iowegia - USA
Do a search on https://www.bobistheoilguy.com/forums/search/30751/?q=Pathfinder+CVT&t=post&o=relevance and you will find a number of posts on how to do a drain and refill.

I would recommend at least three Drain and Refills in order to get almost new fluid in there.

JTK and other members have a number of good posts on how to do this.

A number of acceptable fluids are: Valvoline CVT, Castrol CVT Import, Amsoil CVT, Pennzoil Platinum CVT 2, Aisin CVT, Eneos CVT, Redline CVT, and Idemitsu CVT to name a few.
 

paqman

Thread starter
Joined
Jul 30, 2020
Messages
27
MolaKule said:
Do a search on https://www.bobistheoilguy.com/forums/search/30751/?q=Pathfinder+CVT&t=post&o=relevance and you will find a number of posts on how to do a drain and refill.

I would recommend at least three Drain and Refills in order to get almost new fluid in there.

JTK and other members have a number of good posts on how to do this.

A number of acceptable fluids are: Valvoline CVT, Castrol CVT Import, Amsoil CVT, Pennzoil Platinum CVT 2, Aisin CVT, Eneos CVT, Redline CVT, and Idemitsu CVT to name a few.
I've researched and I'm pretty sure I know how to do the drain and refill. Plus I've done it on my 2010 Maxima, and it looks about the same. But that is good to know about draining and refilling. Since doing it is so easy, and the fluid isn't that pricey, I might just do that over the next 6 months or so, thanks!
 
Joined
May 25, 2005
Messages
13,541
Location
ROCHESTER, NY
I am currently using Castrol TransMax CVT fluid(which is RED) in both the Altima & Civic in my signature. I changed out(drain & refilled) both cars CVT fluid in July 2019(1 yr ago) and both CVTs are performing flawlessly.
 

paqman

Thread starter
Joined
Jul 30, 2020
Messages
27
Char Baby said:
I am currently using Castrol TransMax CVT fluid(which is RED) in both the Altima & Civic in my signature. I changed out(drain & refilled) both cars CVT fluid in July 2019(1 yr ago) and both CVTs are performing flawlessly.

Thanks that is great to know!
 
Joined
Mar 20, 2015
Messages
9,757
Location
Virginia
314,500 miles on my CVT Nissan Altima VQ....

Changed the fluid for the first time at 283,500 miles. Did use Castrol CVT fluid the first time and then 3 drain and refills with Eneos CVT fluid.
 

paqman

Thread starter
Joined
Jul 30, 2020
Messages
27
bbhero said:
314,500 miles on my CVT Nissan Altima VQ....

Changed the fluid for the first time at 283,500 miles. Did use Castrol CVT fluid the first time and then 3 drain and refills with Eneos CVT fluid.
Wow, kudos. Honestly, I think one of my kids will crash this one before we get anywhere close to that one. :-(
 

MolaKule

Staff member
Joined
Jun 5, 2002
Messages
22,198
Location
Iowegia - USA
Another Nissan CVT thread:

 
Joined
Jan 15, 2020
Messages
7
Location
Atlanta, GA, United States
So I have an '08 Altima (2.5 S) that needs the CVT transmission fluid changed. I just bought it, with about 100k miles on it. While the oil has been regularly changed, I'm not sure about the CVT fluid, so I thought it would be best to change it just to be sure. The fluid that is in it currently has the green tint of the OEM stuff, so I'm assuming that's what's in it now.

I've read good things about the Castrol CVT fluid, so I'm considering using that, as it is a fraction of the cost of the Nissan stuff. (I have a 2010 Maxima that I have done with the Nissan OEM fluid, and had no issues, but it's pricey) My question is two part:

1. Does everyone agree that the Castrol CVT fluid (or other brands) are as good or better than the Nissan OEM fluid and won't cause any issues with the transmission? The car has 105k miles on it, so it's out of warranty anyway, if that were a concern.

2. Since it currently has the OEM fluid in it, is there anything special I need to do when making the switch to a different brand? Should I do a drain and fill now, then drive it for a bit, then do another drain and fill in 1000 miles or something? Or am I ok to just do one drain and fill and call it good?

Also (ok I guess there are three questions) do I really need to drop the pan and replace the gasket? Will that drop a lot more oil than just draining? Thanks!

Edit: Also considered installing a little transmission cooler. Would that go a long ways in helping to extend the longevity of the transmission?

I vote for Aisin since I have been using Aisin NS-2 in my 2013 Maxima since 60k miles until now with almost 200k. I always change the CVT fluid every 30k miles. DO NOT FLUSH your fluid, just drain and refill the fluid with correct CVT fluid.
 
Joined
Jun 27, 2017
Messages
1,579
Location
NE Oklahoma
Did two drain and fills on a family member's Maxima roughly 10k miles ago. Used Amsoil CVT and so far, the transmission is doing great. I don't think you'll have any problem with Castrol, or any of the other brands that Mola mentioned.
 
Joined
May 25, 2005
Messages
751
Location
Northern Michigan
I have performed 2 changes on the CVT in my Kizashi...one at just over 60k (did 2 indrain and fills with a few days of driving in between) and the second one at 95k miles (only 1drain and fill but also replaced the small in-line filter and utilized a 10 oz. bottle of Lubegard CVT additive to the fluid). I used Redline CVT fluid each time. I believe my car uses a similar Jatco unit which isn't known for reliability. I have had no problems with the CVT and at 103k miles it seems to work as well as ever. I have always gone easy on the trans (don't use the "manual shift" feature, accelerate easy, drive slowly when cold, etc.). The car isn't worth anything so I've decided to just keep driving it until a future costly repair forces me to get rid of it. A CVT failure would be an obvious deal breaker so I am nursing it along. I have used Redline transmission/diff. fluids for years and don't hesitate to recommend them.
 

Zee09

Site Donor 2021
Joined
May 5, 2018
Messages
6,102
Location
Fairhill Maryland
I've done my own research, found a MSDS (SDS) for the Nissan NS2 and found it was made by SOPUS which is Shell Oil Products US. So with that, I used the Pennzoil Platinum CVT 2 product on my 2013 Maxima (since sold last week) and had no issues whatsoever in the 2 dump and fills I did while owning that car. Castrol is a good brand, so is Aisin, Eneos, Idemitsu, and I've also heard that Valvoline CVT fluid is very good.
I understand that the current oem brew is Idemitsu
I also heard from several sources that the SOPUS product used to be the OEM product but was deemed unacceptable
and was a reason for some early failures. I would look into that and my post is not a bash. Several sources told me
but is it gospel- not sure. Of course Amsoil claims to be the best fluid for Nissan applications.
 
Joined
Jan 9, 2010
Messages
8,008
Location
Los Gatos, CA
I have used Valvoline and Castrol on a high mileage Hertz rental return 2015 Altima. 100% satisfied.
Your car will thank you. Good luck.
 
Joined
Aug 23, 2010
Messages
3,148
Location
pa
its good some positives on the CVT's especially ones that had issues early on. i feel theres always a learning curve + buying new tech is a crap shoot unless fully under warranty. with CVT costing close to a new engine theres surely a concern!
 
Joined
Jan 20, 2013
Messages
2,025
Location
Ontario, Canada
I have always gone easy on the trans (don't use the "manual shift" feature, accelerate easy, drive slowly when cold, etc.). The car isn't worth anything so I've decided to just keep driving it until a future costly repair forces me to get rid of it. A CVT failure would be an obvious deal breaker so I am nursing it along.
Same here oilmaven but I have Idemitsu currently in mine which I changed just over a year ago with about 150k Kms. on the clock after a trip to SoFlo. What came out didn't look too bad either and no issues with the tranny. Since I didn't know the service history I dumped it as I've only owned this car for about two years now. I used about 10 litres to do an exchage and it runs great.
 
Top