Nissan is a forerunner in Continuously Variable Transmission technology and its latest models are now equipped with its third-generation XTRONIC Transmission with D-Step Logic Control.

The latest development in continuously variable transmissions (CVT), D-Step Logic Control is computer software that uses dynamic inputs like vehicle speed, accelerator pedal position and application speed to determine the ideal gear ratio needed to provide smooth, constant acceleration.

For drivers, it feels very much like the automatic transmissions they are familiar with. D-step shift logic can hold a constant gear ratio like a conventional step-gear automatic transmission but adds the flexibility and smoothness of a CVT.

The changes in the CVT that debuted in the 2017 Pathfinder received favorable attention from the automotive media:

“…Nissan’s many programming changes to the CVT are so substantial and so mimic a regular gearbox that if you did not know a CVT from a sock drawer, you would never question how the power from the engine is transferred..”- Autotrader

“Nissan has done exhaustive CVT development, and it shows to excellent advantage in the new Pathfinder.”
– Kelley Blue Book

D-Step Logic Control is found in other Nissan CVT equipped models such as 2019 Altima, 2019 Pathfinder, 2018 Murano and the sporty 2018 Maxima. RPMs build as speed increases providing enhanced drivability with a direct, crisp shift feel – there’s no “hunting” or shift shock. On CVT equipped Nissan SUVs like the 2019 Pathfinder, the advanced XTRONIC transmission design also helps keep engine RPM optimized while towing without the typical “hunting for a gear” feel.

In the 2019 Versa and 2019 Sentra models equipped with third-generation XTRONIC transmission, the gear ratio range from low to high is expanded. In fact, the transmission ratio is 7.3:1, which is a broader ratio than you’ll find in an average automatic, and far superior to the 6.0:1 you’d find in a similar model vehicle. The CVT is more streamlined, too, as it’s 13% lighter and 10% smaller. The goal is to ensure the fuel efficiency improves at least 10%.


A Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) provides simple, efficient power delivery creating better fuel economy than traditional transmissions. With CVT, shifting is seamless – the vehicle performs as though it has a variable gear for every driving situation, and you won’t feel any shift shock. It uses a steel belt or chain and a pulley system to move up and down the gear ratio in continuously smooth motion, providing seamless, stronger acceleration and increased fuel economy.


The real difference between a continuously variable transmission (CVT) and an automatic transmission (AT) is that while both are technically automatic transmissions and don’t require the driver to use a clutch to manually change gears, a traditional automatic transmission has fixed gears -typically ranging from five to nine in number. Nissan’s XTRONIC CVT and all CVTs don’t have any traditional fixed gear ratios at all. There is no “shifting” in the conventional sense of the word.




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Keeping Your Car Safe: Tips for Preventing Auto Theft

Car thief, car theft

According to the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reports, over 773,000 motor vehicles were reported stolen in 2017. While auto theft has decreased over the last few decades, the Insurance Information Institute (III) notes that a vehicle is stolen every 40.9 seconds in the United States.

Thieves have gotten increasingly savvy, using smart keys to steal cars and switching vehicle identification numbers to avoid detection, says the III. So, how do you help protect yourself from becoming a victim of car theft? Be vigilant about securing your car, and take preventive measures to keep your car safe. Here are 10 things you can do to help protect your car from theft.

1. Lock Your Doors

Keeping your doors locked is the first step in deterring a thief. It’s good to get into the habit of checking your car doors.

2. Remove Your Keys from the Vehicle

Never leave your keys in the ignition, says the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB). If your key is in the car, a thief can simply break a window and drive off. Firestone also cautions against leaving your car running, even if you’re just going into a store for a quick errand. A running vehicle may be an easy mark for a thief, especially if it is unattended or unlocked.

3. Do Not Leave a Spare Key Near Your Vehicle

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recommends taking your keys with you when you leave your car. Some people keep a spare key under the car or in the glove box, just in case they get locked out — but thieves know where to check for an extra key. While getting locked out of your car is a pain, think about the potential hassle of your car getting stolen.

4. Close the Windows

Keep your windows closed completely, says the NICB. A thief can simply reach into your car through an open window — taking what they can reach or unlocking the door to gain full access to your vehicle and everything in it.

5. Park in Well-Lit Areas

Avoid parking in areas that are poorly lit or places that are not immediately seen by passers-by. Firestone Complete Auto Care recommends parking under a light and in a well-trafficked area, as thieves may be deterred if they know they can easily be seen.

6. Install an Audible Alarm System and Anti-Theft Device

The NHTSA recommends installing an audible alarm system, if your car did not come with one, and using a visible anti-theft device. An audible alarm is designed to emit a loud noise, often the car’s horn, if someone attempts to enter the vehicle while the alarm is on. The unwanted attention attracted by the noise may chase off a potential thief, says the NHTSA. There are quite a variety of car alarms available, says Angie’s List, but keep in mind that you may need to have a mechanic or alarm technician install it for you — especially if the installation requires working with the vehicle’s wiring system.

Visible devices, such as a steering wheel lock, window etching or an alarm system’s flashing light, may also be enough to deter a car thief, according to the NHTSA. If they are not sure they can get away with the car quietly or fear they may get caught, Firestone says they may just avoid your vehicle altogether.

7. Install a Vehicle Immobilizer System

Thieves can bypass your ignition by “hotwiring” your car, but you can help prevent this by using a vehicle immobilizer system, says the NHTSA. According to the NICB, immobilizer systems may incorporate smart keys, kill switches and wireless ignition authentication. They’ll essentially disable the vehicle so that a thief cannot make off with it. You may need to have a mechanic or technician who is familiar with the vehicle’s wiring and computer systems install the immobilizer in your vehicle, says Angie’s List.

8. Install a Tracking System

You may want to consider installing a tracking system, which can also be called a vehicle recovery system. (As with the other alarms, you may need to have a professional install the device.) When your car is stolen, this tracking system will use wireless and/or GPS technology to emit a signal to the police or a monitoring service of your vehicle’s location, says the NICB. This may help the police recover your vehicle faster.

9. Don’t Leave Valuables in Your Car

One way to attract a thief is to leave a purse, cell phone or another high-value item in a highly visible area of your car. It’s best to leave anything of value at home, but, if you must have something important with you, keep it out of sight. Firestone also recommends putting valuables in the trunk before you get where you need to be, as some thieves scope parking lots — looking for people who are moving items to their trunk. Once you’ve left the vehicle, they’ll break into the trunk to grab whatever you stashed away.

10. Be Alert

Be aware of your surroundings when you park your car, says PropertyCasualty360.com. If you are wary of the safety of your car or see someone loitering around the parking lot, it’s best to park somewhere else. Firestone also recommends double-checking that your vehicle’s windows and doors are closed before leaving your car unattended.

What To Do If Your Car Is Stolen

If your car is stolen, contact the police immediately. The NHTSA says you may need to provide the following information to the police:

  • The year, make, model and color of the car
  • License plate number
  • Vehicle Identification Number (also called the “VIN”)

You’ll also want to let your insurance company know within 24 hours if your vehicle has been stolen, says the NHTSA.

While auto theft is not as common as it once was, it is unfortunately still something you need to protect yourself against. Thankfully, taking a few simple precautions may help you reduce the chances of your car being stolen.

Nissan debuts new Pathfinder Rock Creek

2019 Nissan Pathfinder Rock Creek Edition

Nissan today unveiled two new additions to its popular lineup of SUVs and crossovers at the 2019 Chicago Auto Show – the 2019 Pathfinder Rock Creek Edition SUV and the upcoming 2020 Rogue Sport compact crossover.

The Pathfinder Rock Creek Edition is a special value option package offering unique exterior and interior treatments that emphasize the rugged Pathfinder heritage. It goes on sale this spring with a package price of $9951 – which reflects a $1,315 savings2 (versus similar equipment priced separately.)

It is offered on Pathfinder SV and SL grades, in both 2-wheel and 4-wheel drive configurations, with two additional equipment packages and in a choice of seven available exterior colors – allowing buyers to customize their Pathfinder to their precise tastes.

“The Rock Creek Edition name was chosen to connect to Pathfinder’s family outdoor adventure-minded target customers. The Rock Creek Edition name also connects to Pathfinder’s proud rugged heritage,” said Scott Shirley, vice president, CMM & Marketing Operations, Nissan North America, Inc.

Key differences between the Rock Creek Edition and standard 2019 Pathfinders include unique dark 18-inch wheels with 255/60R18 all-season tires, black mesh grille, black roof rails, black door handles and outside rearview mirrors, black front and rear fascia accents, black molded overfenders and unique “Rock Creek” badging on the front doors. Interior changes include special Rock Creek Edition two-tone seating surfaces and badging, high contrast stitching on seats, door, console lid and steering wheel and premium metallic interior trim.

Every Rock Creek Edition also features a standard trailer tow hitch and harness and splash guards. Both 4WD and 2WD Pathfinder models feature best-in-class 6,000-pound towing capability3.

Most prominent among the refinements for the new 2020 Rogue Sport is the new exterior design that offers a more technical feel – helping provide a greater separation from its Nissan Rogue stable mate. The new front fascia features a new hood, Vmotion grille and bumper. The aggressive lighting treatment includes LED signature Daytime Running Lights.

In the rear, a new combination light design matches the more dynamic look of the front end. A new 19-inch aluminum-alloy wheel design and two new colors, Nitro Lime Metallic and Monarch Orange Metallic, complete the exterior makeover.

Set for sale in fall 2019, the 2020 Rogue Sport expands on the long list of enhancements for the 2019 model year – which included the addition of available ProPILOT Assist, Nissan Safety Shield 360 technologies, updated audio system with standard Apple CarPlay® and Android Auto™ and available Bose®4 Audio System with nine speakers.


Winter Tips


You can’t control the weather, but you can do a better job protecting your car against brutal winter conditions

Tom Upole, a master technician certified by the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence, runs a car service and repair center in northwest Maryland, where the average snowfall in any given year hovers around 111 inches. He sees the brutal impact of harsh winter weather on cars, from vehicles buried in snow drifts to salt-corroded paint jobs. Even if your car seems to be running just fine, Upole says winter weather has a knack for finding the weak spots on cars, like an old battery, worn wiper blades or tires losing their grip. Here, he offers the same experience and tips he shares with his own customers for maintaining and driving a car in winter.

Getting on the road

Do you really need to warm up your car first?


Once upon a time, warming up your car was necessary to get oil circulating in the engine—a critical reaction if you wanted the car to respond when you hit the gas. But today’s fuel-injected engines reach full oil pressure within seconds of starting. You can turn the key and go without risking engine damage, and save a little gas by reducing your car’s idle time.


However, when the temperature is below freezing, Upole tells his customers to let their cars warm up for 60 seconds. This precaution gives oil more time to circulate, which can minimize engine wear over the long haul, he says.

Stuck in snow? How to rock and roll out


If the wheels are buried, chances are the exhaust pipe is, too. Consider digging out the tailpipe before starting the engine, then dig one to two feet of space around the front, back and outer side of the tires. Sand or cat litter sprinkled around the wheels may also give the tires extra grip. Road salt will melt the snow, but doesn’t deliver traction, according to Upole.

Ready to roll? Start the car and drive forward and backward, rocking the wheels a few inches at a time. If your car has traction control (a little button on the dash or console), you may want to turn it off. Traction control limits wheel spin, which is fine on a slick road, but you need wheel spin to accelerate out of deep snow from a dead stop.

Wheels spinning on ice? Try this technique


If you’re driving surface streets and stopped at a sign or red light, start by easing off of the brake slowly and letting the car roll into an intersection before easing onto the gas pedal. The extra seconds in slow motion can give you time to confirm that no cars are skidding into the intersection and can help keep your tires from slipping on an ice-slicked street.

You may also be able to minimize wheel slip by starting from second gear, instead of Drive on an automatic or first gear on a manual car. This technique limits the amount of power going to the wheels. Most automatic transmissions on newer cars have a snow mode that does this automatically. This setting locks out first and sometimes second gear until the car reaches a certain speed, typically 30 mph.

You probably don’t know this about all-wheel and four-wheel drive in icy conditions


All-wheel and four-wheel drive give a vehicle more traction for accelerating on snowy or icy straightaways and hills, but these features may offer no benefits when you’re not accelerating, like driving downhill or braking. Bottom line: Don’t get overconfident because your car has all-wheel drive, says Upole.

Why winter conditions and cruise control don’t mix


When driving long stretches on highways, cruise control can cause tires to spin faster and lose traction in winter weather conditions. Using your gas pedal on those drives may be helpful.

Getting your car ready for winter

The right way to clean a winter windshield


Straight water in your washer fluid reservoir can freeze and turn slushy in cold weather, which can damage windows and the washer system. Select a washer fluid with de-icer that stays liquid in the lowest average winter temperature in your area. You can also buy a concentrated washer fluid designed to mix with water, but these concentrates may not contain adequate de-icer/anti-freeze ingredients. Check the fine print on the label to make sure a concentrate is suitable for winter use.


Every month, inspect the wiper blades and replace them if they have ragged, cracked or rough edges, or a bent metal frame. When the wipers are turned on, they may need to be replaced if they leave water streaks, don’t come into full contact with the windshield, or make a chattering sound.

The ABCs of Car Care for New Drivers


It’s never too early to learn the ABCs of car care, says the Car Care Council.

  • A – Always follow a preventative vehicle maintenance plan.
  • B – Be sure to have your car inspected when you suspect there is a problem.
  • C – Correct the problem to help avoid the inconvenience and potential safety hazards of breaking down away from home.

“Most young people can’t wait to drive, but their car care education should begin well before their parents hand over the keys,” said Rich White, executive director, Car Care Council. “Understanding the basics of car care before taking the wheel will help keep new drivers safer on the road.”

The Car Care Council recommends that new drivers keep a free copy of its popular Car Care Guide in the glove box and learn about 10 car care inspection procedures that are an important part of any preventative vehicle maintenance plan:

  1. Check all fluids, including engine oil, power steering, brake and transmission as well as windshield washer solvent and antifreeze/coolant.
  1. Check the hoses and belts to make sure they are not cracked, brittle, frayed, loose or showing signs of excessive wear.
  1. Check the battery and replace if necessary. Make sure the connection is clean, tight and corrosion-free.
  1. Check the brake system annually and have the brake linings, rotors and drums inspected at each oil change.
  1. Inspect the exhaust system for leaks, damage and broken supports or hangers if there is an unusual noise. Exhaust leaks can be dangerous and must be corrected without delay.
  1. Schedule a tune-up to help the engine deliver the best balance of power and fuel economy and produce the lowest level of emissions.
  1. Check the heating, ventilating and air conditioning (HVAC) system as proper heating and cooling performance is critical for interior comfort and for safety reasons such as defrosting.
  1. Inspect the steering and suspension system annually including shock absorbers, struts and chassis parts such as ball joints, tie rod ends and other related components.
  1. Check the tires, including tire pressure and tread. Uneven wear indicates a need for wheel alignment. Tires should also be checked for bulges and bald spots.
  1. Check the wipers and lighting so that you can see and be seen. Check that all interior and exterior lighting is working properly and replace worn wiper blades so you can see clearly when driving during precipitation.

Vehicle Lights and Wipers: The Keys to See and Be Seen


As the days get shorter, lights and wipers play a major role in safe driving, as the chance of an accident increases if you can’t see or be seen, according to the non-profit Car Care Council.

“With fewer daylight hours in fall and winter, it’s important to make sure your vehicle’s lights and wipers are working properly so your visibility is not compromised and you can be seen by others,” said Rich White, executive director, Car Care Council. “From the driver’s seat, you may not notice a light that isn’t working, so inspect all of your car’s lights and replace those that are out. Also, inspect and replace wiper blades so you can see clearly when wet weather hits.”

Lights are normal wear items that require periodic inspection and replacement. The lighting system provides nighttime visibility; signals and alerts other drivers; and supplies light for viewing instruments and the vehicle’s interior. In addition to replacing dimming, rapidly blinking and non-functioning lights, the following tips can help keep you safe.

  • Keep headlights, tail lights and signal lights clean. External dirt and debris can dim operational lights from being seen by others.
  • Make sure that your headlights are properly aimed. Misaimed headlights blind other drivers and reduce your ability to see the road.
  • If there is any doubt on whether or not your headlights should be on, turn them on. Lights not only help you see better in early twilight, they also make it easier for other drivers to see you.
  • Don’t overdrive your headlights; you should be able to stop inside the illuminated area, otherwise you are creating a blind crash area in front of your vehicle.

The wiper system keeps excessive water, snow and dirt from building up on the windshield, maintaining clear visibility. Many factors can accelerate the replacement interval of wipers, including operating conditions (winter conditions are tough on wiper blades), frequency of use, material and type of wipers and sunny weather. In fact, wiper blades can deteriorate faster and need more frequent replacement in desert states. Don’t forget to check the rear window wiper blade too!

“Some states have laws that require the headlights to be on with the wipers,” said White. “Keeping your vehicle’s lights properly cared for and replacing wiper blades periodically will help ensure a safer ride, keeping the road ahead well-lit and giving you a clear view.”