How to Get the Dip Stick out of a 2010 Nissan Altima Auto Transmission

by Justin Cupler

The Nissan Altima has come a long way from its relatively modest roots as a simple, economical vehicle. The 2010 model year featured a wide array of high-end standard features, including a 175-horsepower, 2.5-liter engine, anti-lock brakes, traction control and a continuously variable transaxle. For some reason, Nissan put a strange locking device on the CVT’s dipstick, making it nearly impossible for an amateur, or even some experienced mechanics, to check the CVT fluid level. Once you know where Nissan placed the locking mechanism, removing the dipstick is straightforward.

Removing the Dipstick

Step 1

Open the hood and locate the continuously variable transaxle dipstick, the black-capped stick near the front of the engine compartment on the driver’s side of the engine.

Step 2

Examine the front of the CVT dipstick’s cap and locate the small hole in the cap. Insert a small straight O-ring pick, or other small pick-like tool, into the hole, then press and hold inward to disengage the locking tab.

Pull the dipstick from the CVT dipstick tube and wipe the old fluid from the dipstick with a clean, lint-free cloth.

Checking the Fluid Level

Step 1

Start the Altima’s engine and drive it for about 10 minutes. Park the Altima on a flat and level surface. Move the gear shifter through every gear, pausing for about two seconds at each gear. Place the shifter back into “Park.”

Step 2

Follow steps 1 to 3 in the section “Removing the dipstick.”

Step 3

Rotate the dipstick roughly 180 degrees from its original mounting position. Reinsert the CVT dipstick into the tube until the cap contacts the dipstick tube.

Remove the dipstick and check that the fluid level is within the crosshatched area on the CVT dipstick. If the fluid is low, insert a funnel into the CVT dipstick tube and add Nissan CVT Fluid NS-2 until the level is correct after removing and checking the dipstick.

Reinstalling the Dipstick

Step 1

Rotate the dipstick to its original mounting position.

Step 2

Insert the CVT dipstick into its tube. Press down on the CVT tube while keeping the protrusion on the dipstick’s cap aligned with the metal tab on the dipstick tube.

Rotate the cap left and right slightly until you hear the locking tab click into place. Pull upward on the CVT dipstick's cap to assure it is locked. Repeat this step as needed.

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