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 2 of 17)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #302

Nov 112015


  • 108,000 miles


After a year of ownership at approx.. 108000 miles, the vehicle would not start. Had it towed to reg. Garage and subsequently another garage with better diagnostic system as the code would not hold/replicate easily. Code was for ECM, which was repaired at owners cost (unaware of recall). There was mix of antifreeze/oil due to leak in radiator. Flushed system and replaced radiator at owner's cost. Within weeks, vehicle was not accelerating correctly and code showing emissions issue and catalytic converter issue. Looking at thousands of dollars in repair costs which appear to simply be a band-aid until the issue begins again. Still paying on the vehicle and a new mom of twins. Now stuck with an unsafe vehicle riddled with repair costs for an issue that Nissan is well aware of and should have fixed. How frustrating that this issue is still in limbo after 2 years, how this cannot be seen as a constantly recurring problem which is extremely unsafe and be the responsibility of Nissan is beyond me. These issues occurred while in motion on a major highway and on side roads with hills.

- Dover, PA, USA

problem #301

Dec 292015


  • 75,222 miles
Radiator defect causing atf fluid to contaminate the transmission, leading to transmission failure, with extensive repairs, and extreme associated costs. This commonly known defect causes transmission to fail while driving, which can be a serious safety issue, and necessitates a full recall!

- Wheat Ridge, CO, USA

problem #300

Dec 142015


  • 135,000 miles
Transmission has failed at 135,000. Fuel gauge does not work.check engine light stays illuminated, therefore I am unaware of any additional issues, and cannot pass emissions in atlanta, ga, therefore I cannot renew my tag.

- Atlanta, GA, USA

problem #299

Dec 052015


  • 140,000 miles


I purchased a 2005 Nissan Xterra. The vehicle's transmission is gone due to a fault in the manufacturing. This could have been a potentially dangerous situation - but luckily for me I was not driving or on the highway. I have contacted Nissan regarding this issue and was told that they are not going to assist me in repairing the problem because the vehicle warranty has run out. I bought this vehicle used - the dealer never mentioned anything about a recall or problem at the time that could be fixed by Nissan nor did I receive any correspondence from Nissan themselves. Now I am stuck with the financial burden of $5000 for the repair. I don't think this is fair - the used car dealers should be mandated by law to fix vehicles with recalls and inform car buyers that there is a manufacturing defect. Nissan also should be held accountable.

- Leominster, MA, USA

problem #298

Aug 152014


  • 115,756 miles
Catastrophic transmission failure as a result of radiator fluid leaking into the transmission allowed by a design defect in the transmission/radiator. Had to pay $5,158 to fix this problem. Manufacturer seems to take no responsibility for this design defect when failure occurs over 100,000 miles. This is wrong.

- Brush Prairie, WA, USA

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problem #297

Nov 172015


  • 115,712 miles
Engine coolant infiltrating in to the transmission which causes both the transmission and radiator to fail. Estimated cost to replace these items is approximately $4500. This problem happens and corrodes the valves, gaskets and seals. In my case will driving the vehicle the transmission completely failed causing the vehicle to be stranded on the side of the highway for 2 hours while a tow truck was enroute.

- Hillsborough, NJ, USA

problem #296

Oct 272015


  • 140,000 miles


Radiator has transmission fluid in it. Transmission has radiator fluid in it. Will have to replace both. App, $5000. Vehicle shifts hard then stutters, vibration

- Pace, FL, USA

problem #295

Oct 272015


  • 175,000 miles
Radiator fluids leaked into tranmission causing failure. This is a known problem on these vehicles and Nissan has not recalled them. They were in a class action lawsuit in 2012.

- Pascagoula, MS, USA

problem #294

Oct 132015


  • 144,350 miles
I bought a used Nissan Xterra last year that had 100K mile. Traveling from work warning lights come on. I took my vehicle to meineke for diagnostic. The warning code read transmission. Took it to the Nissan dealer knoxville tn the next day and tech diagnosed problem as a failed transmission fluid cooler located in the radiator assembly that allowed coolant to mix with and contaminate the automatic transmission fluid, resulting in damaged internal transmission components and a damaged internal transmission computer. That week my car produced slowing of vehicle and times where engine would not crank. I ended up paying $3010.35 (attached) to chip's transmission to get fixed. I contacted Nissan North America regarding the issue and was provided documentation that after reviewing my case; they were unable to offer financial assistance because the vehicle was outside the new vehicle limited warranty. (attached) I found out a class action lawsuit was filed regarding this matter and the fix was an extended warranty. Per document if you miles were over 90K miles you were out of luck. Well luck plays no part in this matter as I had bought this vehicle used over 100K miles and was never notified. I had a warranty for 1 yr or 12000 miles when I bought was never notified. I feel like regardless of the mileage. This was a defective part that was installed by Nissan dealership and was a known problem by consumers. This part should be replaced or recalled by Nissan and that an ongoing investigation on the behalf of those consumer who had these vehicles should not have to pay for such extensive repairs or damages being that it is Nissan's wrongful intentions. I have had to eat the cost of not only missing work but paying for rental car expenses for 14 days (attached) plus the parts/repair to this vehicle. F you would like to contact me regarding this matter.]

- Lenoir City, TN, USA

problem #293

May 032015


  • 100,000 miles
The transmission is damaged, because the cooland fluid got mixed with automatic transmission fluid. All of this because a bad Nissan design. Nissan does not take care of this problem, leaving the costumer with a mayor problem. People should not buy Nissan. This company does nothing for problems that they created. It happened in motion driving on a city street.

- Durham, NC, USA

problem #292

Oct 022015


  • 140,000 miles


The contact owns a 2005 Nissan Xterra. The contact stated that while driving at various speeds, the vehicle jerked intermittently. The vehicle was taken to a dealer where it was diagnosed that the transmission and radiator needed to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was not made aware of the failure. The failure mileage was approximately 140,000.

- Lenoir City, TN, USA

problem #291

Oct 062015


  • 132,546 miles
I was driving my Xterra and it surged acceleration then just quit won't turn over nothing... I was on the deuce of clubs driving......

- Show Low, AZ, USA

problem #290

Oct 032015


  • 107,333 miles
A leak inside the radiator has allowed radiator fluid into the transmission. Just driving a short errand near home when I felt a vibration at about 40-45mph, followed by erratic shifting. As I returned home, the car wouldn't even climb up my driveway. I was able to back out, and tried driving forward, but could only crawl a couple of mph. Luckily reverse still worked enough to safely move out of the street.

- Westminster, CO, USA

problem #289

May 192014


  • 99,295 miles
Transmission fluid and coolant mixing. Poor and dangerous design. Took the car to the dealership several time with them like they never heard of the issues(shuttering when climbing on a slight incline, losing power, over heating) after complaining they change the radiator, rear axle, and transmission. This was at 99,295 miles on the odometer. The repairs took a month to complete. Now less then a year and at 128,000 miles on the odometer, it is happening again!!! also the extended warranty is over. The dealership is now saying that it is not their problem. Now I have to pay $1200 to change my radiator so I can drive this time bomb. And they suggested that I change the transmission again for $8,000!!! I will never buy Nissan again. I guess I will drive it until it dies. Searched online and found out that this is a known issue. NHTSA, what are you waiting for to call a recall"?"

- Benbrook, TX, USA

problem #288

Sep 292015


  • 120,000 miles
Transmission abruptly failed over the course of less than 10 minutes. The vehicle was moving at approximately 30 mph, starting making a whining noise, and then motive power stopped being transmitted to the wheels. Final diagnosis is still pending, but symptoms match other widely-reported failures due to mixing of engine coolant into the transmission fluid.

- San Francisco, CA, USA

problem #287

Jun 012015


  • 170,000 miles
Radiator leaked fluid into the transmission effectively destroying it.

- Dripping Springs, TX, USA

problem #286

Dec 122014


  • 75,000 miles
The car shudders and wont accelerate. The transmission won't shift properly. I understand this was was a class action lawsuit and recall. I am outside the time frame. I was never notified and was deployed at the time.

- Portsmouth, RI, USA

problem #285

Feb 112015


  • miles
The contact owns a 2005 Nissan Xterra. While driving at any speed, the vehicle idled highly and made an abnormal sound. The vehicle was taken to the dealer where it was diagnosed that the radiator fluid leaked into the transmission and the transmission fluid leaked into the radiator. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure mileage was unknown.

- Greer, SC, USA

problem #284

Aug 072015


  • 152,946 miles
My son was driving the car on a local road near home at night. He was accelerating up a small grade, when he said the car acted as if it had popped out of gear. It began to rev higher and made a higher pitched sound. He tried changing from being in "drive" to a lower gear, but it still did not engage the transmission. He had enough momentum to be able to coast onto our side street and park the car. Luckily there was no accident, but he was almost rear-ended as his car slowed suddenly and traffic ran up on him. The car would not start, nor turn over at that point. I had the car towed to the local Nissan dealer. They mentioned it was a known issue with the transmission and radiator and it would cost over 5K for just a new transmission, not including a new radiator or labor to install both. I was able to find another mechanic that purchased a rebuilt transmission, but the whole thing still cost over 5K to have the rebuilt transmission and radiator installed with no assurance that it would not happen again. This is a well documented issue with these vehicles and continues to cost people thousands of dollars for a very poor and dangerous design.

- Woodbridge, VA, USA

problem #283

Jul 222015


  • 127,000 miles
My daughter was driving and the engine started to rev high. The transmission felt like it was slipping, the car would barely move. She was able to get it into a parking lot. The vehicle started smoking and fluid poured out of the bottom of the vehicle. We had it towed. The mechanic said the radiator leaked fluid into the transmission. He said he sees this all the time with Nissan vehicles, it is a know flaw. It will cost almost $4000 to repair, it is still in the shop. Update 9/15/15

- Waco, TX, USA

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