P0826 and P0101 Error Codes – SOLVED – Nissan Altima
So, I was on a recent trip to Las Vegas from Los Angeles. I was on the 15 highway and it was about 112 degrees outside. I was about 2 hours or so away from Las Vegas when my car started stalling as it was going up the mountains. I had never experienced that before. I was driving on the highway and my car wouldn’t go above 40-60 miles per hour. I ended up having to put on my hazard lights and driving in the truck lane. (which annoyed the truck drivers that were passing me). As I was coming downhill, I had no problems because…you know.. gravity.
I kept driving, not wanting to pull over. As soon as I reached my hotel, I called my mechanic. Over the phone and without seeing the car, he figured that it would probably be my catalytic converter or my transmission. In one of my older cars I had him install a catalytic converter so I had an idea of the price range for that. I was praying that it wouldn’t be my transmission, because I didn’t want to put that into the atmosphere.
I drove around Vegas with no problems. It didn’t happen again until we were heading back to Los Angeles that the car started acting up again.
When I got back home and was able to take the car to my mechanic, he put my car on the OBD II diagnostic reader and printed out error codes P0101 and P0826. He wasn’t able to take a better look at the car because of prior appointments.
I immediately went home and started researching these two error codes and here is what I found.
P0101 Trouble Code – Check Engine Light
The P0101 Check Engine Light Error code description is “Mass Air Flow Circuit Out of Range”
Nissan has issued a service bulletin regarding this P0101 error code. Basically, if you have this check engine light code and you don’t have any driveability issues, you need to go to the dealer to have them reprogram the ECM. I was quoted anywhere from $108-$150 for this service (no parts included in this rate). They recommend a reprogram of the ECM, they will clean your Mass Air flow sensor (MAF) and install a new air filter.
I decided that sense the MAF sensor was relatively cheap, that I would just purchase a new sensor in case there really was an issue with my current sensor. (and avoiding more time/money having to come back to the dealer) I used this Mass Air Flow Sensor I found on Amazon.
So…problem solved for less than $200. I have a 2012 Nissan Altima 2.5 cylinder car… So make sure you get the right sensor and air filter for your vehicle.
P0826 Trouble Code – Check Engine Light – The one that caused my car to stall and not increase speed!
Now, this error code…. P0826 started scaring me as I researched it. The P0826 error code description is “Manual Mode Switch Circuit”
I read so many stories of people that had relatively new cars and had installed MULTIPLE transmissions in them. Im like oh my gosh! Multiple! Im thinking to myself… I’m not going to buy a new transmission for this car, I will just trade it in or something.
Ok, so in a nutshell my car and lots of other Nissan’s made between 2007-2012 have a CVT transmission. CVT transmissions are pretty much shit (according to my mechanic). Nissan issued a bulletin for people having this issue. For cars that are between 2007 and 2010 and have less than 120,000 miles on it, a Nissan Dealer will fix this problem for you. Why Nissan did not extend this extended warranty to 2011 and 2012 cars? I have no clue. The warranty on my car is only up to 100,000 miles. I have 110,000 miles. Apparently, the car starts to show symptoms of this problem around the 100,000 mile mark according to my research.
The typical symptoms of the P0826 Check Engine Light:
- High RP and/or high speed driving (65 mph+ for more than 1 hour) – My car!
- Driving in ambient temperature of 96 degrees or higher – driving in Desert – my car!
- Climbing steep or extended hills for 6 miles or more – driving over the mountains – my car!
- Whine or rattle type noise occurring during reduced engine performance – didn’t have this with my car
I had 3 of the 4 typical symptoms.
Basically, the transmission overheats and causes the car to stall and not increase speed. In the bulletin, Nissan recommends that you add a transmission cooler assembly to your car and add CVT transmission fluid. If your car is under warranty, Nissan will take care of this for you. Do not let a mechanic talk you into thinking you need a new transmission!
For some reason, I was weary of the Nissan OEM transmission cooler assembly kit they recommend and decided to go with an aftermarket one. I ended up getting this Derale 13503 Series 8000 Plate and Fin Transmission Oil cooler and 2 quarts of CVT transmission fluid as recommended by my mechanic.
He did have to “customize” the cooler to my 2012 Nissan Altima since its made for alot of other different types of cars as well. My mechanic charged me $180 for labor. The cooler was about $60 and the 2 quarts of transmission fluid was about $40. So a total of approximately $300. Way better price than a transmission!
Personally, I think that Nissan should make right by everyone affected by this issue and repair it for free. But, for those of us out of warranty… they pretty much say screw you.
I wanted to drive around about a month before I wrote this post. But my car has been driving excellent since I installed the cooler! I go up and down steep hills multiple times per week in this high desert heat and I haven’t had an issue since! Im definitely glad I was able to research this and have an honest mechanic!
So what symptoms is your car experiencing? Do you think this will help fix your car? Talk to me!