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CarComplaints.com 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:
107,300 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 9)

problem #169

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 #168

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 #167

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 #166

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 #165

Jun 032015


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

- Hampton, VA, USA

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problem #164

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

problem #163

Apr 012015


  • 85,000 miles


Due to a defect known by Nissan, the radiator coolant leaked into the transmission causing transmission failure. Nissan knew about the defect and did nothing to correct it. Instead they added an "extended warranty" that most people will not be able to take advantage of due to years/mileage limitations. I made it into the last bracket, where my co-pay for the repair is $3000 instead of the full $5800. The dealer did not research the warranty and tried to have me pay full price. I will never buy a Nissan again due to their decision not to take responsibility for a known defect.

- Vandergrift, PA, USA

problem #162

Mar 302015


  • 130,000 miles
Radiator leaked into transmission and both need to be replaced. This is an ongoing problem (class action and many other complaints) for Nissan and they refuse to be accountable. Bought used from Nissan dealer and issue was never mentioned even thought they have serviced several cars with same problem.

- Pawleys Island, SC, USA

problem #161

Mar 182015


  • 132,715 miles
Vehicle wouldn't shift into a high gear. This after hesitation, stuttering, and other issues. Transmission cooler failure resulting in transmission failure and radiator failure. Common defect. Local Nissan dealers as well as Nissan Consumer Affairs department unwilling to fix or to "good will" a solution. 3700$ at a local licensed garage to fix.

- Tehachapi, CA, USA

problem #160

Mar 242015


  • 84,326 miles
I own a 2005 Nissan Frontier. At about 84365 miles, the transmission started slipping badly. The mechanic said that my transmission cooler had ruptured inside the radiator and coolant had gotten inside the transmission. My transmission was basically destroyed and it cost over $5000 to fix it. After reading other articles about Nissan owners with similar experiences, I think this is outrageous and Nissan should be held accountable for these failures.

- Clarksville, TN, USA

problem #159

Jul 142014


  • 93,000 miles


The contact owns a 2005 Nissan Frontier. While driving approximately 50 mph, there was an abnormal noise coming from the vehicle. The vehicle failed to accelerate and the check engine warning light illuminated. The vehicle was taken to a dealer where it was diagnosed that the transmission, the torque converter, and the radiator needed to be replaced. The vehicle was repaired; however, the failure recurred. The vehicle was taken back to the dealer where it was diagnosed that the timing change needed to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The failure mileage was 93,000.

- Nacogdoches, TX, USA

problem #158

Feb 262015


  • 72,000 miles
Vehicle made a noise what sounded like driving over a rumble strip. It then failed to accelerate and I was forced into the breakdown lane on the highway. I had vehicle towed to shop and was informed of the radiator and transmission issue with these vehicles. Radiator fluid leaked into the transmission and now its junk. It will now cost me $3400 to replace the transmission and radiator. I can't believe there isn't a recall out for this issue. This is a complete disregard for consumer protection.

- Lowell, MA, USA

problem #157

Feb 272015


  • 103,000 miles
Transmission began to shudder at speeds 40-50 mph a few weeks ago, feels like going over shallow rumble strips. Did research online and found that the issue is coolant leaking into the transmission fluid.this has been a major issue with all 2005 Nissan Frontiers. My truck has 103, xxx miles. Outside the warranty now. Never new of this warranty and now I'm stuck paying thousands of dollars out of pocket for new transmission and radiator

- Salem, OR, USA

problem #156

Feb 162015


  • 155,000 miles
Driving along at 65 miles per hour seemed like transmission went into neutral and engine revved up. Rolled to side of road. Truck would no longer move. Had truck towed to garage where they informed me that the transmission had coolant in it and had wiped it out. To replace trans and radiator was 5300 dollars.

- Springfield, OH, USA

problem #155

Jan 152015


  • 113,500 miles
Transmission began to shudder when in overdrive and at speeds 40-50 mph. Shuddering gradually grew worse and worse. Occasional clank sound when shifting from reverse to forward. Diagnosed at dealer as ruptured heat exchanger in radiator which allowed coolant to enter and contaminate the transmission.

- Alexandria, LA, USA

problem #154

Dec 172014


  • 120,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Nissan Frontier. While driving approximately 40 mph, there was water leaking into the transmission. The vehicle was towed to an independent mechanic where it was diagnosed that the transmission and the radiator needed to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was not made aware of the failure. The failure mileage was 120,000.

- Fort St Lucie, FL, USA

problem #153

Feb 072015


  • 144,000 miles
I was driving my truck notice the service engine light had came on and while driving the accelrationwas very weak.I had the code check and it came back as tcm and valve body problem and came home and researched to be a common problem with this truck type

- Albemarle, NC, USA

problem #152

Jan 052015


  • 134,000 miles
I was driving on the highway and my truck shutters like going over shallow rumble strips for about 3 weeks. I realized it was my transmission and searched on transmission issues with my truck and found the big one (coolant leaking into the transmission fluid). I immediately flushed the coolant and the transmission fluid, performed the at cooler bypass operation and refilled. I'm now saying my prayers, taking my vitamins, and exercising hoping for the best.

- Sand Springs, OK, USA

problem #151

Jan 202015


  • 96,000 miles
Vehicle shudders bad in 5th gear clunking in and out of gear, and unable to maintain speed on highway. Hard up shifts from gears 1 to 2 and 2 to 3. hard down shift clunk from gear 2 to 1. coolant leaked into transmission fluid causing catastrophic failure of transmission and new radiator needed as well.

- Meridian, ID, USA

problem #150

Nov 142014


  • 89,570 miles
While driving at speeds of approximately 40 mph the truck made a sound as though it was driving over rumble strips and it feels as though the transmission is slipping or about to fail. This will last 5 to 10 seconds and then it will seem normal, and then after a short while the sound and slippage will again occur. I am concerned that the transmission is experiencing the problem which has plagued other 2005-2010 Nissan models where transmission fluid becomes contaminated with antifreeze from cracks which develop in the transmission cooling line where it passes thru the radiator. I have called Nissan to report this. It was assigned case #17221886.

- Caldwell, WV, USA

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