Nissan is facing a class action lawsuit that alleges the continuously variable transmissions (CVTs) in its 2013 and 2014 Pathfinders are dangerous and defective. According to the lawsuit, these transmissions are prone to “belt slips,” which occur when the chain fails to power through the transmission and accelerate the car. This problem is believed to occur when a driver accelerates from a full stop or slower speeds (e.g., when merging into traffic) and can cause the vehicle to shake, shudder or hesitate. The suit seeks to recover compensation for anyone who owns or leases a 2013 or 2014 Pathfinder.
The class action lawsuit alleges that Nissan sold vehicles with defective transmissions and seeks to compensate all owners and lessees of 2013 and 2014 Nissan Pathfinders throughout the United States. The lawsuit is also demanding that Nissan recall the SUVs.
According to the suit, the chains in the Pathfinders’ CVTs can slip and cause a shaking or shuddering problem upon acceleration. In the lawsuit, the plaintiff alleges that she purchased a new 2014 Nissan Pathfinder in October 2013. Three months after purchasing the SUV, her vehicle allegedly began to violently shake and shudder upon acceleration and she brought her vehicle back to the dealership to be fixed.
By this time, Nissan had already issued two technical service bulletins for the shuddering problem. In the first technical service bulletin, issued in January 2013, Nissan instructed dealerships to perform voluntary software updates to the transmission control units in affected vehicles. Then, in September 2013, Nissan issued a second technical service bulletin for the same problem, which again instructed dealerships to reprogram the software in affected vehicles and, if the shudder problem persisted, replace the transmission entirely; however, the second service bulletin did not cover Pathfinders if they did not have the first software update performed before they were driven 1,000 miles.
While the plaintiff had several software updates performed on her transmission control unit, the shuddering allegedly continued and she contacted Nissan to have the company buy back her SUV; however, Nissan refused to purchase her Pathfinder and, to this day, the vehicle still shudders, shakes and hesitates when accelerating, according to the suit.
The class action lawsuit also alleges:
Since January 2013, more than 100 drivers filed consumer complaints with the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) about the shudder problem in their Nissan Pathfinders. Despite these complaints, the class action alleges that Nissan has not addressed the problem and has yet to issue a formal recall on the affected vehicles.
Some of their complaints can be read below.
“Most of the time that I am accelerating between 20 – 25 MPH, the vehicle is shaking. The amount of shake or ‘shudder’ varies from slightly noticeable to very noticeable. The concern here is the reliability of the transmission (CVT) which seems to be slipping. I believe this should be investigated to prevent failure of the transmission while driving in freeways thus preventing a possibility of a crash.” – Driver of a 2013 Nissan Pathfinder in Hayward, CA
“When accelerating from a stop, or increasing speed from a turn, the car sputters, power fluctuates, and sometimes it vibrates and feels like I am driving over a grid. Shifting is rough while driving, and the car sometimes feels like it’s going to stall, or like I’m driving a standard transmission and I’ve left off the clutch too soon. The problem has been ongoing and started inconsistently where I thought maybe it was road conditions and not the car, but the problem now occurs every time I drive the car, it’s getting worse, and I’m expecting any day for it to break down on me. I purchased the car new on 2/26/13, so I’ve had it just over three months.” – Driver of a 2013 Nissan Pathfinder in Whitestown, IN
“Whole family is in the car and I was driving, while we are entering to highway and merging to right land, shudder happens and we lose all engine power, gas pedal becomes useless and only thing I can do was to slow down. In that instant we are almost rear ended by semi truck. CVT transmission put the car into shudder state. We were not able to speed up while merging to highway for almost 20 seconds.” – Driver of a 2013 Nissan Pathfinder in Des Plaines, IL
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