Huge win for car owners! All TSBs to be made public. The Center for Auto Safety just made the NHTSA (US Government) make public the full text of all TSBs from now on. They are the same organization that has petitioned the NHTSA & filed lawsuits to protect car owners over exploding gas tanks & other major safety issues. Whenever you drive in your car, you are safer thanks in part to a lot of work over the years by this small but very effective consumer advocacy group.

Please take a moment & say thank you by donating $5 or whatever you can to the Center for Auto Safety. Notes: In a very limited selection on small pickup trucks, the Frontier is one of the best options except -- and I cannot emphasize this enough -- for one problem that makes it an avoid-at-all-costs pain in you know what: the radiator ruptures and leaks coolant into the transmission, killing it. Such a buzzkill.

This problem affects most 2005-2008 (and maybe beyond) Frontiers.


hardly worth mentioning
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 1
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
103,961 miles

About These NHTSA Complaints:

This data is from the NHTSA — the US gov't agency tasked with vehicle safety. Complaints are spread across multiple & redundant categories, & are not organized by problem.

So how do you find out what problems are occurring? For this NHTSA complaint data, the only way is to read through the comments below. Any duplicates or errors? It's not us.

2005 Nissan Frontier drivetrain problems

drivetrain problem

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2005 Nissan Frontier Owner Comments (Page 4 of 10)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #135

Jun 202014

Frontier 6-cyl

  • 87,501 miles


I found out a faulty engineered control valve assembly caused radiator and transmission failure in my vehicle. It happened less then a month outside & 7000 mi over the extended warranty. Extension for the warranty to 80,000 was put in place for a class action law suit for this item back in 2010. In 2010 my vehicle did not even have 50,000 so none of this applied to me! nor did Nissan do the right thing and recall my truck prior knowing this part fails after 80000! all the people this happens to after this law suit went down are out of luck because too much time has passed. So, I as a consumer who takes care of their vehicle and keeps low miles, has to pay big money to fix this problem! I called Nissan headquarters to do the right thing. They said because of the judgment of the class action law suit, they can not honor my request to do the right thing. I have to pay $2500 to fix my truck! I asked if I had to sue independently and take to twitter to help my cause? the gal on the other end of the phone (highest person up the chain I could reach) said; "yes mam, I'm sorry mam, but I guess that's what you have to do. My hands are tied by this judgment I can do nothing for you"! I feel completely ripped off and deceived by Nissan!!! is there a possibility you can come to my aid and direct me how I may get this covered? this has become a major hardship!

- Aptos, CA, USA

problem #134

Feb 202013


  • 112,000 miles
While traveling 65 mph in 6 lanes of traffic during rush hour the truck lost power and rolled to a stop. I was stranded in the middle lane with cars flying by me. I am very lucky I 2 as not hit by traffic. Had the truck towed to transmission shop $4700 later was told it was radiator fluid in the transmission. This I later researched and is a common problem in these vehicles. Nissan is fully aware and does nothing about it. It's disgraceful to the name Nissan not to stand behind tour product. I have own 5 Nissan ' S and 3 of them Frontiers. These trucks have always had the reputation to run many many miles without issues. I will never buy another Nissan brand vehicle as a result of their careless attitude towards this problem someone is going to be killed at some point. Then will it make sense to recall it?

- St Petersburg, FL, USA

problem #133

Jun 062014

Frontier 6-cyl

  • 124,950 miles
I was at a stop light and when it turned green my truck felt like it was stuck in neutral and wouldn't get into gear. With hesitation, it finally jumped into gear but was very sluggish with hardly any power. It was quite dangerous with a line of vehicles behind me I thought I was going to get rear-ended. Thankfully I was only 2 minutes from my office where I was able to pull in the parking lot and unload my two children and call my wife to pick us up. I had to have my car sit there over the weekend because I didn't feel safe driving it. On the following Monday I had it towed to a transmission repair shop where they diagnosed it as a cracked radiator head with coolant leaking into the transmission causing this failure. I then had it towed again to the Nissan dealership where they diagnosed it and confirmed the first diagnosis. They said unfortunately I was over the mileage and to call the national Nissan dealership and petition for assistance. After looking up all the information I find it discerning that Nissan hasn't done the right thing and recalled this to make it right.

- Elbert, CO, USA

problem #132

May 292014

Frontier 6-cyl

  • 84,000 miles


A crack in the radiator has caused coolant to mix with the transmission fluid. This has resulted in catastrophic failure of the transmission requiring the replacement of the transmission and complete radiator replacement. I have been quoted a total cost of close to $5000.

- Corvallis, OR, USA

problem #131

Oct 022013


  • 110,000 miles
Transmission contamination with coolant.

- Little Elm, TX, USA

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problem #130

Apr 032014


  • 129,000 miles
At the approximate speed of 5 to 8 mph, and accelerating, the "service engine soon" signal light up. Immediately I had to turn 5000 rpms to reach a speed of 20 mph. I drove the vehicle approximately 5 miles to home and parked it their. Contacted my mechanic and took the vehicle to his garage the next morning for a total of 8 miles in addition to the 5 for a total of 13 miles driven while in warning. Upon completion of a diagnostics check, it was discovered that there had been a transmission radiator valve failure. This valve fails to operate, and does not allow coolant and lubrication of the transmission to continue. The valve is connected to the transmission radiator, located within the confines of the cooling radiator. The radiator was replaced, and upon test drive it was discovered that the transmission was deficient or had burned up 3rd and 4th gears. The totality of the repairs to include replacement of a transmission, radiator, fluids and labor was in excess of $4,000. A vehicle with less than 130,000 miles of highway use, with all maintenance performed as prescribed within the owners manual, service recommendations should not have failed. A single valve is/ was the responsible culprit. I have previously owned a Ford Ranger, took care of it as I have the Frontier, and had in excess of 200,000 miles on the Ranger upon trading it in. I never replaced a transmission in my life on any vehicle. Nissan needs to acknowledge the issue at hand and take the appropriate corrective action, respect the customers that have respected you over the years.

- Tucson, AZ, USA

problem #129

Apr 302012

Frontier 6-cyl

  • 91,551 miles


Improper shifting, sometimes major vibrations, or kicks out hard.

- Kihei, HI, USA

problem #128

Mar 262014

Frontier 6-cyl

  • 73,850 miles
I was at a stop light, waiting for light to change. As light changed applied pressure to gas pedal but the vehicle would not move the engine would just rev up, finally moved slowly. I drove it like that for couple blocks then I parked for an hour or so, after that I was able to get home without a problem. I reserched online about it and found out that it is a common and known issue of cooland mixing with transmision fluid that ruins the transmision due to a defect on the radiator. Took it to the dealer and they confirmed that the transmision need it to be replaced as well as the radiator which it would cost over $8,000. The extended warranty (8years/80,000miles) was already expired for 8 months with only 73,800 miles on the truck, so I had to pay $2,500 copay which I found it outrageous for a known factory defect. At least they should let owners of these vehicles known that this could happend to their cars.

- Everett, MA, USA

problem #127

Mar 072013


  • 154,000 miles
Transmission coolin in the radiator ruptured causing complete failure of the transmission.

- Walnut Cove, Nc 27052, NC, USA

problem #126

Nov 012013

Frontier 6-cyl

  • 119,000 miles
Vibration in motor like driving over grooved pavement - on and off again for months before realizing it was the radiator and transmission problem that occurs in these trucks and SUV's. I don't want to pay $6,000 to fix a defect. They should pay no matter when it happens.

- Wall, NJ, USA

problem #125

Nov 122013


  • 110,000 miles


Radiator leaked antifreeze into the transmission. Transmission has to be rebuilt/ replace and radiator has to be replaced.

- Florence, AL, USA

problem #124

Mar 142014

Frontier 6-cyl

  • 67,350 miles
I was driving along on a major interstate at 65 mph when my engine was revving up to about 3500 or 4000 RPM but my speed was dropping. I pulled over to the right hand side of the road, stopped and turned the vehicle off. Had I not been in the right lane of the major interstate when traffic was very light, I could have had a major accident. Everything seemed normal except the low coolant level in the reservoir bottle. There did not appear to be any problems with the engine so then I placed the truck into drive and moved the vehicle forward. As the vehicle picked up speed and at about the 35 to 40 mph the truck engine would rev up but the transmission was slipping and not allowing the truck to move any faster. When I took the screw off the transmission dipstick to see that fluid level was too high for the proper level in the automatic transmission. Also, I noticed that the fluid had a greyish milky appearance which is a clear indication of contamination with a water based material such as engine coolant.I find the fact Nissan clearly knew that was a problem and failed to notify me as the original owner of the vehicle annoying. They would rather pay to have vehicle repaired after the fact than take care of a potential safety problem before it occurs. This is extremely troublesome when a manufacturer places profits and the bottom line ahead of customer safety. Upon further research, I have learned that I could have replaced the faulty radiator with another product from koyorad for about $120 retail and prevented this problem. So for a couple hundred dollars, Nissan is willing to jeopardize my safety and all other Nissan owners safety. As the national safety Agency, I implore you act immediately and order a recall on these Nissan vehicles before people get hurt. It is your duty to protect the people of the nation from safety issues when manufacturers fail to do so.

- San Antonio, TX, USA

problem #123

Mar 072014


  • 90,000 miles
Nissan knew a defect was in the transmission cooler built into the radiator tried to cover it up or at least not acknowledge the issue. Now 9000 miles after Nissan told me I was good, I have an issue where the transmission fluid is contaminated with coolant and vice versa. Nissan says this is a small percentage of vehicles. This will occur with all vehicles with the defective radiator. The cost of repair is ruining peoples lives and is a safety issue with seizing of transmissions while driving. Please address this NHTSA.

- Portland, OR, USA

problem #122

Mar 132013

Frontier 6-cyl

  • 142,855 miles
Sitting at a stop light with right foot on brake, waiting for light to change. As light changed applied pressure to gas pedal but the vehicle would not move the engine would just rev up. Put the vehicle in park and turn off the engine waited a moment then turned the vehicle back on and put the transmission in drive, vehicle began to move but the transmission acted like it was slipping. Drove vehicle to dealer and they said that the transmission had failed on vehicle and it would need a new one. Paid $5,321.74 to have transmission replaced. Dealer said transmission failure was due to a radiator issue on vehicle.

- Lake Lotawana, MO, USA

problem #121

Feb 182014

Frontier 6-cyl

  • 137,000 miles
While driving on the interstate my truck began a small intermittent shudder, as if driving over rumble strips. This occurred 2 or 3 times. The next week the shuddering recurred. Scheduled and appointment with my local Nissan dealership. They very quickly diagnosed the problem. They indicated it was a common problem with this vehicle where the transmission cooler fails and intakes radiator coolant into the transmission. The indicate the transmission will in all likely hood need to be rebuilt.

- Deer Lodge, TN, USA

problem #120

Feb 202014

Frontier 6-cyl

  • 80,774 miles
Transmission slipped and loss power while driving down the highway. Dealership service department claims issue is a common complaint with this vehicle. Actually has an extended warranty because of it.

- Winchendon, MA, USA

problem #119

Feb 142013


  • 100,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Nissan Frontier. The contact stated that while driving approximately 20 mph, the vehicle began to slightly jerk as the transmission failed to respond. The vehicle was towed to an independent mechanic, who stated that the transmission would need to be replaced. The vehicle was repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the defect. The approximate failure mileage was 100,000.

- Antelope, CA, USA

problem #118

Jan 152013

Frontier 6-cyl

  • miles
This issues is with a 2005 Nissan Frontier le. Shuddering at approximately 40-45 mph (seems to be while shifting) and sometimes between 80-85 mph. The sound and feel of this shuddering is very similar to driving over highway hazard speed bumps. I initially thought that road work had been done in certain areas and didn't realize the effect was emanating from my truck. Loss of horse power and miles per gallon are also a symptom of this issue. Some jerking movements in the lower ranges of shifting. During the shuddering it feels as though the tranny is trying to catch the next gear. If I accelerate or decelerate passed the above ranges the shuddering subsides till the next time I cross those ranges. This description is of the final symptoms at their very worst for my individual experience, leading up to this points has been gradual signs of the same issues beginning at the 50K-60K mileage ranges. Even though, to date, Nissan corporate has known of this defect their dealerships/service depts seemed to be completely unaware of the issue till I was well passed the extended warranty (class action lawsuit imposed). At that point they became very informative of the problem and its symptoms. On several occasions (months if not yrs ago) I had mentioned these symptoms and was told fluids were checked and ok'd by techs and service reps, but reading into the issue now I have learned it is very easy to spot if you truly do know what you are looking for or actually check the fluids as I suspect they never did.

- Escondido, CA, USA

problem #117

Jun 012013

Frontier 6-cyl

  • 143,000 miles
I noticed as I was driving vehicle started to have shaking or vibrating/jerking ( at different speeds), it seems to hesitate when I increase speed. My technician thinks something is going on with transmission or torque converter. Concerned vehicle may break / stop running.

- La Grange, NC, USA

problem #116

Jan 232014


  • 91,250 miles
Transmission failure related to coolant leaking into the transmission from the radiator oil coolant assemble. Nissan will not cover the complete cost of this know defect.

- Taylors, SC, USA

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