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Discussion Starter #1
Good morning, I always check this forum first for problems with my Compass. But now I have a question.

2013 Jeep Compass, purchased new, 123,000 miles. Shifting has always been sluggish at lower speeds, which I read is normal for this CVT. However, it has gotten much worse, to the point the car wants to stall on hills if going too slow (like if someone slams on the brakes in front of you and you can't maintain momentum). Since the beginning I've always had to turn the a/c off to make it up a steep hill when going slowly (low RPM).

Noticed the other day there seems to be a leak from the pan. Now I'm reading that the transmission should have been flushed at 60k. It has never been done. I've always had it serviced at the dealer when I bought it. Last year I had a transmission problem (or so I thought), had it towed to the dealer, wouldn't go into gear. Called a local transmission shop and was told nobody touches the CVT, its a sealed unit and when it goes, its done for and needs replacement at about $5-6,000. Long story short, turns out there was an acorn jammed in the mechanism when we left it at a lot for a week long vacation. Dealer removed the acorn, laughed, wrapped some chewed wires, and sent me on my way. Never said a single word about servicing/flushing the transmission. I thought nothing of it.

My question is .... is it possible at this point that a flush and filter change can correct the problems? Or is it likely too far gone? I'm trying to decide if I should sink money into it, or cut my losses and trade it in. Oh, and it is also throwing a catalytic convertor P420 code, which we haven't done yet, so thats more $$ to factor into this decision.

Thanks!
 

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Welcome!

IMO the factory fluid should be changed at 30k to get rid of all the tiny metal bits that result from normal break-in. The longer they are left to circulate the more damage they can cause. After that 30-50k depending on driving conditions.

Yes you've waited too long, but the "sealed" transmission story is a myth.

The transmission fluid can easily be changed. Many here have done so on their own, and not all of us are professional mechanics.

A drain and re-fill with new filters is all that's needed, do not do a machine flush as damage could result.

It's possible a fluid and filter change could help, especially if the fluid has gotten low due to a leak, but you'll know more after you drop the transmission pan to do the drain and fill.

If no large metal bits are found in bottom of the pan then it might be ok and worth taking a chance on.

If large metal bits are found (think glitter, metal bits that you can "feel") then you have a decision to make.

If you need info on the fluid change:

 

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And for reference, dealer pricing for drain, re-fill and filters tend to be around $350-ish give or take.

Independent shops might be less, but make sure they are knowledgeable on the CVT.
 

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First off, Welcome! I agree w/ Sandstone. I think its worth taking a chance on. Would have been better done at half those miles but I think if you got it flushed and new filters you'd be OK. A new pan gasket is part of the service so that will take care of your leak. I've had two CVTs leak so your problem isn't uncommon,

Maybe your dealer should have recommended a fluid flush & fill during the acorn incident, but the other side of the coin is that some dealers would have thrown a bunch of technical jargon at you and charged you a bundle just to remove the acorn. They had a chance to screw you and didn't so my guess is they can be trusted. In any case, be honest with them, tell them your problem and see what they recommend.

Many independent shops are afraid of CVTs and transmissions in general because people don't show up until they're having trouble but the customer lies and says its running fine they just want the routine service. So the shop does the tranny service, then they get blamed for the trouble. I know independent shops that won't do transmission maintenance just for that reason.

I hope your tranny isn't failing but if it is, you should consider that the CVT is a pretty simple mechanism so there isn't a lot in there to fix. Its probably easier for a shop to swap it than to rebuild it. Jeep dealers have an arrangement with Jatco (the transmission manufacturer) to only replace and not repair CVTs. If your tranny is failing you may get a Nissan dealer to rebuild it because Nissan uses the same CVT transmission. Personally I recommend against a junkyard transmission because the donor vehicle may be there because it had a tranny problem, too. I've had a couple transmissions fail over the years and I got factory rebuilt transmissions -- they ran great and I had peace of mind..

I am confused about your saying it has had trouble shifting on hills since it was new. Did I read that right? Neither of my Patriots have trouble on hills as you describe. Where I live its hilly but not really mountainous. Neither of our Patriots has had a problem. When I go up north into real mountains I have to downshift my 2.0 5-spd manual, and it may slow down to 50ish, but I can make it. That's just a modest little engine doing its best to pull a fairly substantial vehicle up a mountain. My 2.4 CVT had absolutely no problems, it just revved a little higher which is its way of downshifting. No trouble maintaining the speed limit.

Good luck and please check back and tell us how you made out.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thank you folks. Ignatz, I had brought the car in with transmission complaints since I owned it back when it was under warranty, and I was told that is "just the way those transmissions shift". It was always underpowered with 4 adults even at highway speeds, and on hills and as I mentioned, if its a back country road with tight turns and you can't maintain a decent speed, you'll never make it with the a/c running. It always had a flat spot shifting under a load. A few weeks ago it almost stalled on me as I was going up a steep-ish incline on a narrow dirt road and the imbecile in front of me slammed on the breaks to back into a driveway which caused me to lose momentum. Car almost quit on me.

In any event, its all a moot point now. It was getting so bad, the transmission problems combined with the catalytic converter and whatever in the world was groaning in the front end on tight turns along with the mileage, I decided to cut my losses while it still moved forward and backward, and traded it in for a 2015 Cherokee with 39,000 miles on it. This car actually goes up hills without almost stalling, and I can actually pull out in traffic without the vehicle coughing in front of someone and threatening to get me ass-ended.

Michelle
 

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Michelle, as I read over your story I think the problem may have been your catalytic converter all along. That would cause all kinds of sluggishness. The CVT requires the engine to rev higher and if the catcon is plugged it can't rev so it's going to have trouble on hills and under acceleration. I wish I'd put 2+2 together sooner. Your mileage seems a little premature for a catcon problem but its not unheard of. I've had a couple cars with bad catcons under 100,000 miles; an '81 Olds and a '77 Volare come to mind. If your Patriot ever got a dose of leaded gas, that could do it.
 
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