The Transmission Troubles of the 2016 Nissan Altima: What You Need to Know

The 2016 Nissan Altima is a great family vehicle. It’s a quiet and comfortable ride with a spacious cabin. Although it ranks middle in midsize cars, it boosts refined handling and notable crash test scores. More importantly, it has several innovative features like Siri voice recognition for iPhone and enhanced infotainment.

Even so, the 2016 Nissan Altima has its fair share of defects. Since 2013, many drivers have registered complaints about Altima transmission problems, and these apply to the 2016 model, as well. Common complaints include stuttering between gears, vibration, hesitation, stumbling, improper shifting, and complete transmission failure.

In addition to poor acceleration, transmission defects can easily cause accidents or damage your engine. Luckily, our law firm has an impressive success rate in Nissan Altima claims under lemon laws and federal warranty statutes. 

Therefore, consider speaking to our California lemon law attorney if you want legal relief for your 2016 Nissan Altima transmission troubles.

Understanding the Transmission Issues of the 2016 Nissan Altima

Transmission is a crucial part of your vehicle that ensures sufficient power is conveyed to your wheels to achieve the desired speed. A defective transmission means you won’t enjoy a smooth driving experience in your 2016 Nissan Altima.

Here are a few transmission problems to watch out for:

Delayed Shifting

A functioning transmission naturally shifts right into the proper gear. If you notice a delay as you engage or change to a different gear, the car’s transmission could be defective. Hesitation or delayed transmission points to several problems that, include:

  • Clogged transmission filters
  • Dirty transmission fluid
  • Defective cooler
  • Transmission fluid leak
  • Water leakage during wet road conditions

A delayed transmission is a safety issue; it leads to expensive repairs once it worsens.

Shuddering While Accelerating

Another common problem with the 2016 Nissan Altima is shuddering while accelerating, where the vehicle violently shakes or vibrates at higher speeds. In models that have automatic gears, the shaking becomes more profound while transitioning into the next gear.  

Instead of a shuddering noise, manual transmission models produce a grinding noise or sensation when shifting gears. Some reasons behind shuddering while accelerating include the accumulation of moisture, a damaged fuel pump, a defective mass airflow sensor, and a transmission fluid leak.

Abnormal Noises During Transmission

You could also experience humming, clunking, and clunking sounds in your vehicle. These strange noises can occur when your car has a problem with the torque converter. When a torque converter has damaged needle bearings, your vehicle will produce strange noises.

Usually, needle bearings separate the impeller, stator, turbine, and converter housing. Once they become damaged or worn out, the transmission will make strange noises because of the friction from the metal components.

Transmission Slipping: It Doesn’t Engage or Stay in a Gear

Another common problem with the 2016 Nissan Altima involves transmission jerking, failing, rough shifting, or slipping while driving. If your Nissan Altima has a manual transmission, it’s likely to grind while shifting.

The automatic models may wobble between gears, with the vibrations growing when transiting to higher gears. Some causes of transmission slipping include leaking, low fluid, brake dragging, or a defective link that holds the gear in place.

Registered NHTSA Complaints

There are over 415 NHTSA-registered complaints concerning the 2016 Nissan Altima. Interestingly, a significant proportion is related to transmission defects. The numerous complaints vary from jerking to severe problems like stalling on the road.

Moreover, not all drivers reported a dashboard light to warn them of the impending danger.

Here are a few registered complaints:

  • NHTSA ID No. 11499304: The vehicle has several acceleration problems during highway speeds or after starting the car. The vehicle also developed severe lag as the owner tried to initiate motion. Although the problem is a safety concern, the Nissan dealer didn’t offer a solution upon notification.
  • NHTSA ID No. 11490856: The vehicle has trouble taking off from a standstill, jerks, and then goes off after igniting. In other instances, the car jerks and shakes violently during acceleration. It’s also a source of further disappointment as it refuses to accelerate to highway speeds beyond 55mph.

Although Nissan has never issued a recall to cure the transmission troubles, it has released several communication bulletins to address consumers. A past class action against the dealer also highlights the active transmission problem in the Nissan Altima generation.

How to Maintain and Repair the Transmission

Your vehicle’s transmission is one of the most critical yet expensive components. It can easily cost up to $5,000 for repairs or replacement if it becomes damaged due to neglect or any other reason.

How do you keep it in great shape? 

Here are a few tips to save you from heartache and extend transmission’s life.

  • Check Transmission Fluid Regularly: Check the transmission fluid by inspecting its level, color, and smell. When its level is too low, it’ll create friction leading to damage to the transmission and its components. Also, confirm with the owner’s manual the recommendable type of transmission fluid.
  • Keep the Cooling System Functional: Heat is one of the leading causes of a defective transmission system. In addition to keeping the engine from overheating, it cools the transmission fluid. Therefore, ensure you have enough coolant and a cooling system in good shape.
  • Avoid Overloading Your Vehicle: When your vehicle carries beyond its capacity, it endures unnecessary strain on the power train transmission leading to overheating. Unfortunately, overheating causes ruptured seals, damaged gears, and defective bearings.
  • Don’t Ignore Transmission Failure Signs: A failing transmission happens progressively. Watch out for strange smells and sounds. For instance, you’ll hear screeching, grinding, or clunking noises or notice a burning smell when something is amiss with your transmission.

How to Repair a Defective Transmission

The most practical repair approach for your transmission problem is when you understand its root cause. Here are a few causes of transmission defects in the 2016 Nissan Altima and their repair tips.

A Leaking Transmission Fluid

When the transmission fluid leaks, you may notice a red fluid on the garage floor or parking lot. Solve the problem by replacing the transmission line, seal, or pan gasket near the leaking point. Then, top up the transmission fluid to help the engine operate optimally.

A Slipping Transmission Gear

If your vehicle has a slipping transmission gear, that’s a risk to your safety. So, if your 2016 Nissan Altima abruptly falls into a higher or lower gear, consider addressing the matter immediately.

The first culprit is low fluid levels which can cause wear and tear within your transmission. The low fluid levels have likely worn out the clutch plates. With that in mind, visit a transmission specialist to have them replaced.

Strange Sounds from Your Transmission

You know your transmission is in trouble when it emits strange sounds like clunking, whining, humming, or grinding. Each sound represents a unique problem and a different repair approach.

For instance, a humming sound means low transmission fluid or contamination with metal shavings. You could also be dealing with a worn or damaged shaft. A possible way to deal with the problem is by refilling, changing the oil, or replacing the damaged part.

Lemon Law Claims for Nissans

Lemon laws offer reprieve to vehicle owners who unknowingly buy defective vehicles. Even so, it should be a new or used vehicle with the manufacturer’s new warranty. Lemon laws also protect cars purchased or leased for personal or business reasons.

With that in mind, if a manufacturer or dealer fails to repair a vehicle with a severe warranty defect after a ‘’ reasonable number of repair attempts,’’ the manufacturer must either replace the car or refund its purchase price.

So, possibly after multiple visits to an authorized dealer, you’ve come to the disappointing conclusion that your 2016 Nissan Altima is defective. Fortunately, California has strong lemon laws that can protect you.

However, you must make a claim and follow a procedure to get a refund or replacement.

Here are the steps to follow:

  • Take the vehicle to the dealership for repairs
  • Keep an accurate record of repair documents
  • Give the dealer a reasonable widow to resolve the warranty defect
  • Hire an experienced California lemon law attorney
  • File a lemon law claim to the manufacturer
  • Negotiate a settlement
  • Proceed to a court trial

A point to note: A lemon law claim will eventually become complicated. For instance, a manufacturer may recommend arbitration— a process that might favor them—if you hit a stalemate about the settlement amount. Working with a lemon law attorney ensures you have a professional with your best interest at heart.

Speak to an Experienced California Lemon Law Attorney

Transmission troubles are a constant source of pain for drivers. You’ll likely be late for business meetings, pay for Uber when you least expect it, stall on the highway, and have a poor driving experience.

To that end, consider working with an experienced attorney like LemonLaw123 to boost your chances of success. Valerie Cambell, our lead attorney, has a 99% success rate, indicating what to expect.

Contact us online or call us at 657.276.6633 for a free case review.

Valerie G. Fernandez Campbell

Valerie G. Fernandez Campbell, known as The Lemon Law Lady, has dedicated her entire legal career to the specialized field of Lemon Law, a journey that began immediately after her
graduation from UCLA School of Law.

With a 99% success rate and a policy of no fees unless you win, her practice stands as a testament to her expertise in California’s Lemon Law, her commitment to her clients, and her unwavering dedication to justice and consumer rights.

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