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hardly worth mentioning
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 1
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
101,272 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 1 of 7)

problem #127

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 #126

Apr 302012


  • 91,551 miles
Improper shifting, sometimes major vibrations, or kicks out hard.

- Kihei, HI, USA

problem #125

Mar 262014


  • 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 #124

Mar 142014


  • 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 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

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problem #122

Mar 132013


  • 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. Payed $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


  • 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 reoccurred. 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


  • 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


  • miles
This issues is with a 2005 Nissan Frontier le. Shuddering at appoximately 40-45 mph (seems to be while shifting) and sometimes between 80-85 mph. The sound and feel of this shuddering is very similiar to driving over highway hazard speed bumps. I initailly thought that road work had been done in certain areas and didn't realize the effect was eminating 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 excellorate or decellorate 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 milage 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 impossed). At that point they became very informative of the problem and its symptoms. On several occassions (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 truely 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


  • 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

problem #115

Dec 132010


  • 95,000 miles
Transmission failure related to coolant from the radiator oil coolant assemble

- Frazier Park, CA, USA

problem #114

Jan 172014


  • 170,000 miles
The transmission started jerking very bad when it hit 1700 RPM range while driving, so I slowed down...scared. I went and had it checked only to find out it is very common with this truck - fluid in transmission caused from the trans fluid running through the radiator and the heat exchange leaks water into the trans fluid. This is a well documented problem I learned. The repair is not covered by Nissan and is a 5000 dollar repair at Nissan dealership, a total transmission aand radiator replacement is needed.

- Jacksonville, FL, USA

problem #113

Jan 152014

Frontier 6-cyl

  • 112,191 miles
The radiator failed causing the the transmission fluid to get contaminated with coolant. This caused the transmission to fail resulting in a nearly $5,000 bill.

- Merriam , KS, USA

problem #112

Jan 092012

Frontier 6-cyl

  • 90,000 miles
At 45mph the truck started jerking and I thought it was going to stall out. When I got it to my mechanic we found radiator coolant had contaminated the transmission fluid.

- Collinsville, AL, USA

problem #111

Dec 232013

Frontier 6-cyl

  • 118,500 miles
Exited side street onto frontage road, right turn, car shuddered and stopped moving. Transmission was erratic causing car to lurch forward at times and remain immovable at others. Fortunately oncoming traffic was able to stop and alleviate a possible T-bone scenario. Was able to limp car through light and into service station.

- Round Rock, TX, USA

problem #110

Oct 192013


  • 120,000 miles
2 months ago I had a leak in the radiator and I fixed it. Then after that I start having problem with the transmission. The speed does not change immediately and when it change you feel like some has pushed you from the back. And now the car does not drive anymore.

- Kennesaw, GA, USA

problem #109

Nov 092012

Frontier 6-cyl

  • 92,540 miles
The first week of November 2013 while driving at approximately 50-60 mph, I would intermittently experience shuddering vibrations like the ones you feel when you drive through those highway strips. I did not pay much attention to eat thinking it probably was a minor problem with the tires. 3rd week of November the truck started slipping. I went online to find out what causes the slip and there it was. Hundreds of not just 2005 Nissan Frontier owners but also xterra's and pathfinder owners from 2005-2010 having the same problem.internet searches came out that at a certain point in the life of the vehicle at average about 90-100T miles, radiator coolant mixes with the transmission fluid due a crack inside the radiator, and the transmission becomes contaminated and eventually fails. After finding out the symptoms of possible contamination I examined my truck's radiator and transmission and found out that indeed transmission oil and coolant had mixed. I immediately replaced the radiator and flushed the transmission thinking that this could still save the transmission. A week ago while at a stop, with the truck on drive and right foot on the brake pedal, I heard a big bang around the transmission area and felt a violent shake and then the truck jerked forward and I almost hit the car in front of me. I was able to bring the car home.I cannot use the truck now out of fear that the transmission will suddenly fail while I'm driving in the freeway and cause or be in an accident. Many owners have reported that when their transmissions failed, their vehicles suddenly lost power in the middle of the highway and almost got into an accident. I called Nissan customer service and I was told that this is a known problem with this vehicle and they have extended the radiator and transmission warranty to 100000 miles with a $3000 co-pay.

- Bordentown, NJ, USA

problem #108

Nov 302011

Frontier 6-cyl

  • 45,000 miles
Vehicle shifts up and down frequently and hard at 40 to 45 mph while in drive D.

- Haleiwa, HI, USA

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