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:
105,586 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 10)

problem #185

Apr 022016


  • miles


Transmission started to shudder at around 45 miles an hour. Drove the vehicle home and parked it in the driveway. Went out to start vehicle next day and it would not crank. Had vehicle towed to dealership and had it diagnosed and found out that the radiator had an internal rupture which caused antifreeze to contaminate the transmission fluid causing the tcm module to fail along with damage to internal parts. The repair is estimated at about $5300. Since the problem was diagnosed, I learned that Nissan has known about the problem for years but no notification was sent to me warning me of the problem. Despite Nissan knowledge of the problem, the company has recently refused to cover the cost of the repair.

- Indianapolis, IN, USA

problem #184

Apr 122016


  • miles
Timing chain on 2005 Nissan Frontier. The engine makes a loud whining noise due to the chain contact. When the vehicle is stationary or motion it make the noise. When the vehicle in motion it changes gears at a higher RPM. I have sensors that were operable because of the timing chain issue.

- Gibsonton, FL, USA

problem #183

Feb 132016


  • 102,000 miles
In 2013 I received a notice of class action about a Nissan vehicles related to possible radiator fluid leak into the transmission due a defect that permits cross-contamination of engine coolant and transmission fluid. It did not include vehicles before it happens. In 2013, I went to a authorized Nissan dealer to check if my radiator can be affected but they told me that in that moment the radiator was working well without given me the option of replacing it to prevent damages. At the time I was under the warranty limits, less than 10 years and less than 100,000 miles. Now in February 13, 2016 my vehicle began to have problems to move, had a harsh shift, it slowed down and did not drive at times. I clearly saw a transmission problem. I called united Nissan service for a diagnose. They check my vehicle and told me that my radiator leaked fluid into the transmission due the radiator defect. I couldn't understand why this class action did not include vehicles that will face this damage in a future. It did not include prevention of damages. Nissan did not released a recall for the faulty radiator. I know I am now outside the warranty limits, but at the time when I visited Nissan service to prevent this no one provided my help or information that would help in prevent such damage. The price for a new transmission is 6,000 dlls. The total cost of repair all goes up 9,000 dlls. Also I received a rude customer service by the service agents of Nissan service. Now I have to cover these costs by myself. My son was driven the vehicle when this happen. The good thing is that the failure occurred while he was driven on the freeway making it so dangerous. What will happen with people like us? the legal case was closed in 2012 but Nissan still having vehicles suffering this this damage. This is a negligence that pass the financial burden to consumers.

- Las Vegas, NV, USA

problem #182

Mar 022016


  • 91,000 miles


The contact owns a 2005 Nissan Frontier. The contact stated that while a traffic light, the accelerator pedal was depressed but the vehicle failed to accelerate over 5 mph. The failure occurred intermittently. The vehicle was taken to an independent mechanic where it was diagnosed that the transmission was flooded with coolant and needed replacement. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The approximate failure mileage was 91,000.

- Richmond, VA, USA

problem #181

Jul 142014


  • 136,968 miles
Original manufactured radiator deffect caused automatic transmission cooling line to mix with coolant causing transmission failure with no warning signs. A catastrophic failure of the transmission almost resulted in a crash do to vehicle stalling at high speeds. Not covered by warranty. The warranty denies the radiator as part of the warranty resulting in the owner having to pay for fixing damages.

- Wenatchee, WA, USA

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problem #180

Jan 192016


  • 89,125 miles
Last November 6th I hit a deer, front impact. Took truck to local garage to have it serviced. The only damage they said occurred was body damage. 3wks later got my truck back with body damage repaired. About 3wks after that I started to notice a slight vibration in my truck when I got to a certain speed. I really didn't think nothing of it and thought maybe I had a tire out of balance. Well the vibration started getting worse and I started to notice a strong vibration and decrease in power when it shifted. So I took the truck back to the garage to see if they could figure anything out. I thought maybe the deer caused more damage than expected but they couldn't find anything. The didn't charge me anything because they found nothing wrong. So I drove it for another 2 weeks and it got worse. I took it to a local Nissan dealership and within 30mins they determined a transmission cooler rupture and that it basically has ruined my transmission and would need to replace it, a service charge of $6,000!!! they told me I was just out of warranty on it. I've been reading on this issue and know Nissan has an extended warranty of 10yrs or 100,000 miles. I went to the dealer on the 19th of January. 19 days out or warranty!!! when I had originally had an issue in late December and nothing was found!!! the truck is barely 10yrs old and has less than 90,000 miles on it.

- Mcconnelsville, OH, USA

problem #179

Jan 062016


  • 145,000 miles


Transmission starts slipping at highway speed. RPM increases without increase in speed. Intermittent but getting worse. This is my son's truck and I am worried about his safety when merging into the interstate. He almost got hit by a semi last week when merging into I-20 as the slipping was happening.

- Anniston, AL, USA

problem #178

May 012014


  • 125,000 miles
Radiator leak into the transmission fluid, causes transmission to fail and requires a rebuild. Expensive $3000 repair. Current litigation and court case does no good to most of the customers experiencing this problem. No warning from Nissan that the radiator is flawed.

- East Peoria, IL, USA

problem #177

Jan 022016


  • 97,668 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Nissan Frontier. While driving, the vehicle was not able to shift gears and the gears were stuck occasionally. In addition, the vehicle accelerated independently. The vehicle was taken to a dealer where the failure was undetermined. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was not notified of the failures. The approximate failure mileage was 97,668.

- Orlando, FL, USA

problem #176

Nov 022015

Frontier 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
2005 Nissan Frontier. Consumer writes in regards to coolant leaks from radiator into transmission.

- Heflin, AL, USA

problem #175

Sep 142015


  • 103,000 miles


Soon after passing the 103,000 mile mark in October, 2015, my 2005 Frontier 's automatic transmission (with the V-6 engine) started shuttering when I pressed the accelerator while the car was going 62 to 65 mph. It was quite startling and worrisome. The problem slowly got worse with shuttering occurring at different speeds and under different loadings. Within a week or two, I took it into a national transmission repair store (amaco) who wanted to charge me $180 for 2 hours of diagnosis to find out what the problem was. I ended up paying them for only 1 hour of their time. They said I had water in my transmission and that it would need to be rebuilt to the tune of around $5,000! they said I'd need to replace an internal computer...along with the cost to rebuild the transmission. What makes me mad is that I took the car to amaco at around the 90,000 mile mark (in 2014) to get some major transmission work done that turned out to be a malfunctioning electronic/computer part in the transmission. This cost me around $1,600 to fix. At that point, there was no water in the transmission. However, they should have informed me I should replace the radiator at that point because the radiators were failing and would require the transmission be rebuilt. The repair shop could have informed me of the problem Nissan was having with the radiator...but chose not to tell me. I could have fixed the potential radiator problem for around $300, before it created the eventual transmission failure which cost $5,000. Nissan also knew, but chose not to advise me to replace the defective radiator before it failed. The dealer's failure to notify me about the radiator design flaw, which they knew about it in 2007, kept me from replacing it. I would have gladly done this to avoid spending $5,000 when the radiator failed. The estimated "date this happened" is 9/14/2015.

- Jacksonville, FL, USA

problem #174

Aug 242015


  • 108,000 miles
My radiator failed and contaminated the transmission with coolant causing the transmission to fail. The truck has 108,000 miles but the technician that replaced the transmission and radiator said that it had been mixing for a while so it is difficult to say how many miles the vehicle had at the time of the failure. It cost me $4750 to repair. This is a common problem with Nissan Frontiers.

- Portland, ME, USA

problem #173

Jun 182015


  • 49,562 miles
There was a class action lawsuit settlement alleging Nissan North America concealed from consumers a cross-contamination of engine coolant and transmission fluid for 2005-2010 Frontiers. On June 18, 2015 my truck lost power and stopped working, in the middle of an intersection, almost creating an accident. I towed my truck to get it repaired, I paid $120 and $1800, they fixed half of the problem. Since my truck was still not working I did some research and found out about the extended warranty. I towed my truck to buena park Nissan where I had to pay $3000 to fix my truck. I contacted Nissan na to see if I could get a refund for cost I had already made, they told me to send them invoices of what I had paid. Later they said that they could not reimburse me since it was not repaired at a Nissan dealership. I have paid a total of $4920 for a problem Nissan created, knew about and concealed from customers.

- La Mirada, CA, USA

problem #172

Feb 202015


  • 180,000 miles
Check engine light came on, got scanned at auto zone, all codes referenced transmission & sensors (I.e. cam shaft)...took to geurlich's auto for an inspection and transmission was suggested to be replaced...took it to aamco for an inspection/2nd opinion and same diagnosis, replace/re-build transmission. Finally accumulated the funds to have a mechanic rebuild our transmission and upon return of our vehicle, and unbeknownst to us, he mentioned the know issues/investigation stemming back to 2012 with the radiator leaking into the transmission and causing it to fail, which is ultimately what he felt happened. Since we purchased the vehicle on 08/08/2012 with an odometer reading of 100,340. We would have been entitled to none of the repair options or concessions Nissan offered under the proposed class action, since all were offered only up to 100K miles. The date the investigation was opened according to was 6/11/2012, 2 months prior to our purchase. The dealer at the time should have been well aware of the open investigation and provided us information on it so that we may have made a more informed decision. I feel that this purchase, although 3 years post purchase, falls within the lemon law statutes and warrants reimbursements to us of the cost to re-build the transmission, replace radiator, etc.

- San Tan Valley, AZ, USA

problem #171

Jul 212015


  • 104,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Nissan Frontier. While parked, the vehicle failed to start. The vehicle was towed to a dealer, who diagnosed that there was contamination by the engine coolant. As a result, the transmission and radiator needed to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The failure mileage was 104,000.

- Port Arthur, TX, USA

problem #170

Jul 152015

Frontier 6-cyl

  • 91,000 miles
Nissan has admitted to faulty radiators in their 05-10 midsize vehicles. Mine being a Frontier but also used in xterra, pathfinders and I believe titans.these radiators when they go, take the transmission with them. 4700 dollar bill later Nissan says I'm 2 months beyond my 10 years and will not honor any help, even though I'm 10K under the 100K mile limit. So because I kept my miles low and have taken care of my pickup I am still at fault for their faulty equipment. My family will ***never*** own another Nissan as long as we live. At anytime they could have said hey for $275 we won't recall these radiators but they are $275 to replace you should do it before it goes and takes the transmission too. [xxx] you Nissan.... poor business. Information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Center Point, IA, USA

problem #169

Jun 152015


  • 93,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Nissan Frontier. While attempting to drive, the vehicle would not accelerate. The vehicle was towed to the dealer who diagnosed that the transmission failed. While repairing the vehicle, it was discovered that the transmission could not be installed because sections of the subframe were rusted and corroded. No further information was available. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The failure mileage was 93,000.

- Rowe Mountain, TN, USA

problem #168

Jun 012012


  • 90,000 miles
Nissan's rear axle design for the Frontier is faulty, utilizing a bleeder valve that clogs causing seals to fail. Failed seals cause differential oil to leak leading to axle wear, among other issues. Oil leak also spreads all over breaks leading to possible break failure. My axles were replaced in 2012 (along with breaks due to oil damage), now I'm being told (2015) that axles need to be replaced again. I believe Nissan is aware of the problem but this part failure generates revenue, as the work is costly, and leads to the need for break replacement. There needs to be a recall.

- Quincy, MA, USA

problem #167

Jun 032015


  • 86,576 miles
Engine coolant is leaking into the transmission and vice versa

- Hampton, VA, USA

problem #166

Apr 302015

Frontier 6-cyl

  • 67,500 miles
My 2005 Nissan Frontier has cross contamination between the radiator and the transmission. Nissan new about this problem years ago. To fix the problem they extended the warranty out to 10 years. Now I need a new radiator and transmission. My cost 3000 dollars. I only had a month left before I was [xxx] out of luck. I have been driving for 35 years and have never had to replace a transmission that only had 67000 miles on it. Poor design and the consumer pays. They wanted to know if I was going to fix it. I told them I had 2 choices fix it or set it on fire. They gave me a strange look. I told them to repair it and I would but Toyota next time. Information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Bristol, CT, USA

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