Is it possible to get 200k miles with the original CVT in a Patriot, or are we near replacement time at 125k miles?
My 2014 FDII patriot is sitting with 198K on the clock right now. I had the CVT go into protection mode once at about 50K. I took it to my dealer and asked for a trans service. They asked me why and I explained what was going on. They did a diagnostic scan and came back and told me "There are no current or stored fault codes. The trans service will cost about 300 bucks and will not be covered under warranty". I let them know that I understood, but wanted them to do the service anyway. They did and also did some sort of Transmission/PCM update at the same time. They also told me that they found a TSB or something that talked about servicing the trans and tells them not to fill it all the way to the "full capacity". When the fluid warms it expands and gets into the rotating assembly which causes it to foam up and loose it's cooling and lubricating ability. The document they had said to set the fluid level in the middle of the range for best results. After that experience I researched doing the fluid change myself. It's not hard. If you can change the engine oil, you can change the CVT fluid. It takes longer, but the process is pretty straightforward. Just remember that there is a screen under and magnets in the pan that need cleaned (or you can replace the screen for a few bucks). And then there is a filter on the side of the trans under the trans cooler return lines. You have to remove the battery and battery tray to get to it. A little bit of a PIA, but it's just nuts and bolts.Also, if we do the fluid/filter route, what's the thoughts about not filling to full capacity? Although I'm concerned I might be too late at 125K mi.
After all this, I started changing my CVT fluid every 60K. A few months ago I was on my way to work and got the trans overheat light, but the trans itself never went into protection or limp mode. I never got the slow down to 40MPH. I did pull off the road and place the trans in neutral and wait for the light to go out, then continued on my way to work. That weekend I changed the fluid and filters.
At 198K now, I fully expect to get well beyond 200K out of the CVT. You need to understand it's limitations and live within them. It's a junk transmission. There is no other way around it. I will avoid CVT equipped vehicles in the future. But, I paid for the Patriot, and other than the junk transmission, it really is a great vehicle. If you are willing to live within the limitations of the transmission and perform regular maintenance on it, it can and will last as long as any other transmission. With a used vehicle, you have very limited knowledge of it's service or use history, and that puts you at a disadvantage (regardless of transmission type), but at this point I would find a reputable dealer or shop that can service the trans. If you are having a hard time go to a Nissan dealership. They own JATCO and a large portion of their vehicles are equipped with CVT transmissions. Have that shop do a full service. Drain the fluid, clean the magnets in the pan, clean or replace the strainer under the pan, replace the filter under the cooler return lines, and refill to the middle of the range for temperature with a quality fluid. Then at least you have set a baseline. It should cost around 300 bucks at a dealer maybe a little less at a private shop. If they don't find any large metal chunks in the pan, my bet is that it will be fine. The belt that runs the CVT has metal links and there are a few bearings in there. Shavings are relatively normal and the amount will depend on how long it has been since the fluid was changed and the magnets cleaned. Large chunks of metal belt links or bearing material will be evident and let you know that replacement is the only option.