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Avoid These Cars If You Want a Reliable Transmission

Transmission repairs and replacements can be one of the most costly parts of car ownership, but automatic transmission problems aren’t something that most car owners struggle with. Transmissions can fail due to many reasons, including harsh shifting habits and manufacturer defects, but there are some car models that have been statistically more likely to have transmission problems, and the number of complaints is so high that even Consumer Reports decided to collate a list. This list shows car models and years that have higher chances of needing a transmission replacement than the competition, and the problems are so likely that you might be better off buying a different car altogether.

2013 Nissan Sentra

The 2013 Nissan Sentra can be found everywhere on the used car market, and it seems like a reliable and affordable option for new drivers, but it actually has some of the most frequent automatic transmission problems.

2013 Nissan Sentra | Nissan

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2014 Nissan Versa Note

We were surprised to see two Nissan cars made the list back to back, but the 2014 Versa Note seems to be plagued with the same transmission problems as the Sentra. It isn’t the first Nissan of this generation to make this list, and unfortunately, it also isn’t the last.

2013 Nissan Versa | Nissan

2008 GMC Acadia

The GMC Acadia typically has good reviews and consumers claim to have overall positive opinions of them, but the 2008 – 2010 model years have an abnormally high rate of transmission failures, effectively dropping the car’s reliability ratings.

GMC Acadia Bad Transmissions
The GMC Acadia Denali SUV is shown during the first press preview day at the 2010 North American International Auto Show | STAN HONDA/AFP via Getty Images

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2010 Chevrolet Equinox

The Chevrolet Equinox is a less-popular SUV that is more affordable than the GMC Acadia but still has major transmission problems instead. Equinox owners of this year experience the transmission failures at higher mileages, but you might want to look at buying a RAV4 of the same model year instead.

2009 Chevrolet Equinox
2009 Chevrolet Equinox | Chevrolet

2010 Jeep Wrangler

The transmission isn’t the only problem for the 2010 Jeep Wrangler as it also suffered from something called death wobble, but it definitely makes the list of reasons as to why you should avoid this year of the popular SUV altogether. Because many Wrangler owners intend on their cars being beaten up from off-roading and even rock climbing, having a bad transmission isn’t always the worst problem owners have faced, but you should play it safe and look for other model years instead.

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A man opens the passenger door of a Jeep Wrangler on display at the 2012 Los Angeles Auto Show | FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP via Getty Images

2012 Nissan Maxima

You might have thought you could escape the transmission problems faced by Nissan during this generation by getting a higher-end sedan, but that doesn’t seem to be the case. Owners reported having to replace the transmission at as low as 66,000 miles which puts it conveniently outside of most warranty restrictions.

2012 Nissan Maxima | Nissan
2012 Nissan Maxima | Nissan

2012 Nissan Rogue

I know what you’re thinking at this point – “Really, another Nissan?” and unfortunately the answer is yes. The problem was mostly reported around the 100,000-mile mark, which isn’t as bad as some of the other Nissan transmissions on this list, but in a time where SUVs are expected to last 200,000 miles or more, this isn’t a great mileage to have a major component fail at.

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2012 Nissan Rogue
2012 Nissan Rogue | Nissan