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: The 2005-2007 Xterra appears to have a widespread defect where coolant leaks into the transmission, causing transmission failure around 90,000 miles. Repair costs are typically upwards of $3,500.

The same defect exists in the Pathfinder & Frontier as well. And according to the New York Times & a class action lawsuit, the defect actually extends through 2010 model year. More info here.


really awful
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 2
Injuries / Deaths:
1 / 0
Average Mileage:
103,994 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 Xterra drivetrain problems

drivetrain problem

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2005 Nissan Xterra Owner Comments (Page 15 of 17)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #42

Apr 042012

Xterra 6-cyl

  • 89,254 miles


Transmission failed while trying to accelerate across an intersection almost causing me to be hit by on coming cars. Nissan is aware of the problems with these cars and has not recalled. I feel this is poor business and will result in loss of life!

- Merritt Island , FL, USA

problem #41

Jun 072011


  • 99,000 miles
The contact owns 2005 Nissan Xterra. The contact was driving 45 mph when the vehicle started to shake. The vehicle was taken to the dealer where they confirmed that the transmission needed to be replaced. The manufacturer was contacted but the vehicle was not repaired. The failure mileage was 99,000 and the current mileage was 110,000.

- Pooler, GA, USA

problem #40

Dec 202011

Xterra 6-cyl

  • 85,000 miles
While driving my Xterra I started to notice it shuddering and vibrating while driving to work. This was getting worse so I brought it in to be looked at and they new what it was from the moment I drove in. They told me it was my transmissions and they have fixed multiple Xterras with this problem. So naturally the warranty has expired so my cost is $3800.

- Ocala, FL, USA

problem #39

Feb 152012


  • Automatic transmission
  • 95,000 miles


As with most of the 2nd generation Xterras, my radiator failed causing coolant to mix with transmission fluid. This causes the transmission to seize up and/or an inability to shift. I first felt shuddering while shifting into 4th (automatic transmission). I immediately recognized a problem and and began driving to my mechanic. I entered the freeway and found myself unable to get out of 1st or 2nd gear - I could not drive faster than 20 miles per hour with traffic traveling at 65+ and no shoulder. This is a serious safety issue. Nissan has acknowledged the problem and extended their warranty to 80,000 miles but apparently this issue happens between 85K and 100K typically (my issue came to light at around 95,000). I was in serious danger on the highway and this is not an isolated incident by any means.

- San Antonio, TX, USA

problem #38

Feb 252012

Xterra 6-cyl

  • 122,784 miles
Radiator fluid leaked into my transmission, which caused transmission failure.

- Wakefield, MA, USA

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problem #37

Feb 142011

Xterra 6-cyl

  • 105,127 miles
Rattle shake feel at 45 mph. Loosened transmission drain plug. Transmission fluid has antifreeze mixed with it.

- Burlington, NC, USA

problem #36

Feb 222012

Xterra 6-cyl

  • 113,000 miles


Went to pull out into traffic and experienced tranny slipping. I was very lucky not to be involved in an accident. Check engine light came on took my vehicle to the dealership and they told me what was wrong and that they have been seeing this problem more and more frequently. It would seem Nissan is aware of the manufacturing defect in the radiator which causes fluid to leak into the tranny thereby slowly destroying the transmission, they offered an extended warrant to 80,000 miles but thru research I have discovered that this problem does not manifest itself until around 100,000 miles. I was never contacted by Nissan about this issue and there is no recall but hundreds of complaints. It is obvious that if Nissan does not resolve this issue there are going to be accidents and maybe even deaths related to this manufacturing defect.

- New Port Richey, FL, USA

problem #35

Feb 072012

Xterra 6-cyl

  • 114,650 miles
Total transmission failure after engine coolant floods transmission, causing vehicle to lurch and stop. Incurred repair costs at dealership of $5,968.89. Nissan is aware of this problem on 2005 Xterras, but failed to inform owners to replace faulty radiators which causes the transmission failure. Nissan secretly extended the power train warranty to 80,000 miles because of this problem (owners not informed), but the transmission failure associated with this issue does not occur until after 80,000 miles. One website,, as 23 pages of complaints from 2005 Xterra owners documenting this issue. Ref: refuses to reimburse owners for the repairs. The Nissan Consumer Affairs file no. For my complaint is [xxx]. please help. Information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Anaheim Hills, CA, USA

problem #34

Jan 292012


  • 150,000 miles
Radiator fluid leaked into transmission. Caused transmission failure. Had to replace radiator, electrical components, hoses, transmission, etc. Repairs cost over $3900. This is a known problem by Nissan and they refuse to recall, but they have issued bulletins.

- Lawrenceville, GA, USA

problem #33

Jan 122012


  • 2,007 miles
We have a 2005 Nissan Xterra that we had to have a transmission replaced on in 2007 because radiator coolant leaked into the transmission. Again, the same thing has happened. Recall these cars, please. They are dangerous and this repair is very expensive. I had read the complaint history and I am not the only one with this problem.

- Vienna, VA, USA

problem #32

Jan 122012


  • 84,000 miles


My 05 Xterra has a leak from the radiator in the transmission due to a defect in the lines. Now I have to replace the transmission and the radiator which will cost $6000. I filed a claim with Nissan to try and get this repair covered. I was denied because Nissan said this is not a problem other people are having. If you are also having this problem you need to open a claim with Nissan to show them there is a real problem here. The rep I talked to is named [xxx] and her personal work line is 615-725-7205. Please open your claim with her and prove to Nissan that there needs to be a recall for this problem. Information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Kingman, AZ, USA

problem #31

Jan 112012


  • 97,500 miles
While driving, the engine cuts off without warning causing all systems to shut down, including brake assist and power steering causing a near collision twice, once while navigating a curve at low speed with a ditch on the right side and once while navigating a curve at higher speed and nearly coasting into oncoming traffic. The issue is due to a known defect in the radiator causing coolant to spill into the transmission. This is a major safety concern that appears in vehicles without warning in any circumstance at any speed. Please initiate a recall asap for our safety!

- Atlanta, GA, USA

problem #30

Nov 042011


  • 80,000 miles
My 2005 Nissan Xterra with 85000 miles has a vibration which feels like driving on rumble strips that comes and goes. There is also the smell of antifreeze and the heat works sporadically at idle. Looking at everyone's else's post it looks like this is a known issue with the 2005 Xterra that Nissan is not fixing. There should be a recall on this so that Nissan can make the adequate repairs.

- Bristol, CT, USA

problem #29

Dec 172011

Xterra 6-cyl

  • 116,000 miles
Radiator failed and allowed coolant to mix with transmission fluid. Both radiator and transmission need replaced at a cost of $6411 (includes labor).

- Crofton, MD, USA

problem #28

Jan 032011


  • 70,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Nissan Xterra. The contact was driving 20 mph when the vehicle started to jerk violently and there was an abnormal increase in engine rpms before shifting into gear. The contact also mentioned that the air bag warning lamp was illuminated. The vehicle was taken to the dealer who diagnosed that the radiator and transmission fluids had mixed erroneously and both the transmission and the radiator would need to be replaced. In addition, the belt tension sensor would also need to be replaced in order to repair the air bag system. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure who offered to waive the fee of diagnostic testing. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure mileage was 70,000 and the current mileage was 87,000.

- Los Angeles , CA, USA

problem #27

Dec 092011

Xterra 6-cyl

  • 96,000 miles
Vehicle failed during operation without warning secondary to faulty original radiator which leaked coolant into the transmission. Transmission and radiator destroyed and require replacing. Despite extensive documentation of this problem on consumer websites and a class action lawsuit, Nissan America and dealership denied any knowledge of this problem and did not accept any financial responsibility. Total repairs estimated at $5,000. Notifying consumer of and/or replacing faulty radiator could prevent a costly destroyed transmission.

- Forest Grove, OR, USA

problem #26

Nov 302010

Xterra 6-cyl

  • 80,000 miles
My husband and I purchased our 2005 Nissan Xterra, 17 miles young. Exactly one month after we purchased, the rear differential went out and was covered under warranty. No problems for a few years, until we noticed that the gas gauge was not giving accurate readings, we had to watch our odometer count to make sure we didn't run out of gas, which is a very scary thought when you have two young children. This happened when we had approximately 80000 miles on the truck and $600 to repair. Shortly after, the transmission was acting up and the heater wasn't working. No why wasn't that working? apparently, Nissan thought it would be a cool trick to have the radiator leak into the transmission.... brilliant business plan they have. Took the truck in and had to pay $5800 to have the transmission, radiator and computer all replaced. This financial hardship was in fact a hardship. One that shouldn't have had to happen had Nissan provided quality parts and provided stellar service. I will sue Nissan for this major safety issue, blog/facebook my little heart away about how insincere of a company Nissan is and never ever-ever-ever give them a positive recommendation.

- Castro Valley, CA, USA

problem #25

Aug 082011


  • 76,000 miles
My Nissan Xterra started making a vibration sound around August of 2011. It sounded like your vehicle was running over a "rumble strip". it was infrequent at first so I ignored it. I did notice some other warning signs of potential trouble (at hindsight). The vehicles heater would never heat the interior of the vehicle at idle, but would do it at speed. Nissan knows the issue is a defect but refuses to take responsibility. Several times while I have been driving the vehicle it would shudder and almost result in a accident. I have only narrowly avoided a collision on 3 separate occasions. Nissan extended the powertrain warranty to 80,000 miles because they know of the issue, but refuse to admit its a defect. Had I been informed about the warranty extension I may have been able to have it services while within the warranty period. My vehicle is currently at 83,000 miles, but within the 96 month portion of the warranty. I'm currently afraid to drive the vehicle on the highway because I'm worried the transmission will fail at high speed and result in a serious accident.

- Waterloo, IL, USA

problem #24

Oct 012011

Xterra 6-cyl

  • 129,000 miles
Started hearing a rumble strip sound while on smooth pavement. Vehicle started shifting harder, with slight vibrations. Before I could take it in, I was involved with a hit in run in a parking lot. Nissan said the upper and lower radiator hoses were soaked in transmission fluid. Manager said it had been leaking for some time. He said I needed a new radiator, and transmission cost of 6500. Nissan updated their radiators because they new it was a defective part, but refuse to take care of damage they have caused. See link

- Stevenson, AL, USA

problem #23

Nov 092011

Xterra 6-cyl

  • miles
It has come to my attention during a recent horrific event that my transmission has seized due to a failure of the radiator cracking and mixing coolant into the transmission. I had bought an extended warranty plan through my dealer when I purchased this vehicle in 2009. They had an adjustor from carefree car protection come out to look at the vehicle on Friday November 11, 2011. With that being said; they stated they do not cover the radiator issue; and since it was the faulty radiator that caused the entire transmission to fail and ultimately seized, they will also not cover that or any other of the repairs. Upon a bit of research on my own this is a known failure with this particular year/make/model of Nissan. There are hundreds if not thousands of documented cases of consumers with the very same issue. There has been no recall made on this at all. Yes, Nissan extended the radiator warranty up to 80,000 miles but not the transmission. Guess what; this happened in my vehicle at 89,000, so not only can I not fix the radiator issue but the transmission is also the same. The worst part of all this is; on Wednesday November 9th my four year old daughter and I were almost killed due to this known malfunction. We were traveling on a very busy highway in mid-day traffic when the entire transmission seized in the middle of the highway. I have to say, if it were not for my extensive training in emergency vehicle operations by the state of Massachusetts, I honestly do not believe my daughter or I would be alive today. The vehicle seized right on that stretch of highway and I had to veer into a ditch avoiding other vehicles, trees, guardrails and jersey barriers. I am thankful that we did survive that horrific even. Now I am looking to Nissan to do the right thing and make this right. Updated IVOQ 12/01/11

- North Adams, MA, USA

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