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 4 of 17)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #262

Jan 032015

Xterra 6-cyl

  • 118,000 miles


Unexpectedly, transmission seemed to be in neutral. Applying gas just revved engine. Then strong jerk and back into gear. Happening at highway speeds on a busy interstate had it gone on longer or I not been able to pull to the side, this could have triggered a major pile up.

- Fairfax, VA, USA

problem #261

Jul 072014


  • 138,000 miles
Bought my 2005 Nissan Xterra brand new and it now needs a new transmission because of a radiator leak. After doing some research I see that there are thousands of them with the same problem yet no recall and Nissan is not willing to do anything!

- Madison, FL, USA

problem #260

Jan 012014

Xterra 6-cyl

  • 135,000 miles
Vehicle moving along interstate in heavy traffic at 60 mph when acted as if it was shifted into neutral. Almost got hit twice trying to coast to side of road. There was no response to trying to accelerate, shifter still in D position. Engine temperature rose quickly. Shut engine off engine, to prevent a fire. Sit there momentarily, restarted the engine, temp came down, transmission engaged, drove home. Husband investigated and found oily substance in radiator and transmission low in fluid that was a pasty looking material now on dipstick. Refer to the Nissan radiator defect class action lawsuit settlement case is in re: Nissan radiator/transmission cooler litigation, case no. 10-cv-07493, U.S. district court for the southern district of New York. We were never notified of a recall or the suit, when we would have qualified for assistance from Nissan. Does the state of New York decide reparations to the rest of the country while I am now poor and need a car and can't afford to repair it. How many more failures are out there? includes pathfinder and frontier models. Also discovered VIN number on top of dash was incorrect. Thanks.

- Satsuma, AL, USA

problem #259

Dec 062014


  • 143,000 miles


The contact owns a 2005 Nissan Xterra. The contact stated that while driving at approximately 55 mph, the vehicles speed decreased without warning. The vehicle was restarted and failed to accelerate. The vehicle was towed to an independent mechanic, who diagnosed that the radiator failed causing the transmission to fail. As a result, the transmission needed to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was not made aware of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 143,000. The VIN was unavailable.

- Casco, WI, USA

problem #258

Sep 012014

Xterra 6-cyl

  • 96,000 miles
The transmission shakes violently on acceleration. So I drove the vehicle to the dealership for a diagnosis. I have learned that the radiator cracking and leaking into the transmission is a common problem for the 2005 Nissan Xterra, and that Nissan settled a lawsuit in October of 2012. I do not remember getting any information that this might be a problem and I have to pay $3000 to get the transmission and radiator replaced! after 100,000 miles I am stuck to pay the complete cost of the repairs. Is there any kind of recourse for this problem that I am unaware of?

- Rochester, MN, USA

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problem #257

Oct 272013

Xterra 6-cyl

  • 101,000 miles
The engine started to overheat and the vehicle transmission started to shift irratically. There was an oily substance in the coolant reservoir. I contacted the dealership and was told that this is a known condition requiring replacement of the radiator and rebuilding of the transmission. I was told that since there was 101000 miles on the vehicle, that the entire $3800 for repair would have to be borne by me. I tried driiving the vehicle several times afterwards with the same result. It has been parked in front of my house for 6 months now as I don't have the money to repair.

- New Orleans, LA, USA

problem #256

Oct 062014

Xterra 6-cyl

  • 106,403 miles


My car was running fine and normal but when I tried to start it, nothing happened. I tried to jump the battery and I replaced the starter. After those attempts I had the vehicle towed to a nearby dealership who told me that coolant from the radiator leaked into the transmission and mixed fluid, damaging both the transmission and ECM. Car will not start and the is no communications working. The Nissan dealership recommended I get a new radiator, ipdm module, and transmission which was estimated at a cost of $5,500 after parts and labor. I had the vehicle towed to a local repair shop for a second opinion and was told the same thing as the dealer had said.

- Killeen, TX, USA

problem #255

Aug 152013

Xterra 6-cyl

  • miles
Cracked radiator causing coolant to leak into the transmission. Once mixed with the transmission fluid this lethal combination kills the valves, seals and torque converter -- rendering your entire transmission useless. My Xterra is not able to drive. Got quoted over three thousand to repair and my car is not even paid off yet.

- Dallas, TX, USA

problem #254

Sep 292014


  • 73,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Nissan Xterra. While driving 40 mph, the vehicle shook and failed to shift gears. The vehicle was not diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The failure mileage was 73,000.

- Reno, NV, USA

problem #253

Sep 192014

Xterra 6-cyl

  • 133,600 miles
Nissan's defective transmission / transmission cooling system design has ruined another transmission. Nissan knows the issue will occur after their warranty (even an extended warranty) expires. So their defective design costs them nothing. And they know that regulators can't touch them. And Nissan dealers are useless. They could care less about their "customers" after they make a sale.

- Forest, VA, USA

problem #252

Jan 072014

Xterra 6-cyl

  • 126,000 miles


A few days prior to this vehicle's shut down, I had noticed when driving at either 40 mph or 60 mph, the vehicle would start to 'vibrate'; the feel was as if driving on the highway and the tires are driving over the meridian entering the brake down lane. The alignment wasn't the issue. The day of incident, I was driving on a 50 mph main street, when approaching 40 mph, the vehicle shut down. After about 10 minutes, the vehicle started back up, enough time to drive 5 minutes back home. Once towed to the garage & after inspection I was told there was a crack in the atf line which caused coolant to mix with transmission fluid in result causing my transmission to fail. Of course I just went over my 100,000 ml warranty, my vehicle is just at 126,000 ml! I am the only owner of this vehicle & have done well maintaining it. After doing research on this issue, I am disgusted with Nissan not taking ownership to this situation! this model alone has the most complaints with this specific issue, and to only do an extended recall up to 80,000 ml is ridiculous when this issue appears to happen from 90,000 ml +!!!!!!! I bought this vehicle brand new, with the hopes to have it live for almost 300,000 ml, which I was told by the dealership prior to me buying. This company used to have a great reputation.....let's pray they try to get it back. I hope Nissan owns up to this situation & is just not sitting around until a death happens to recall it!

- Taunton, MA, USA

problem #251

Sep 142014

Xterra 6-cyl

  • 97,000 miles
This is a complaint towards Nissan and there failure to be and act as a professional car company. There should be a recall on there radiators leaking into the transmission, it has costs numerous amounts of people thousands of dollars to replace transmissions and radiators and even when done the problem still occurs. The class action lawsuit that they were so "nice" enough to agree on does not help anyone what so ever especially when hitting the 100K mark. These vehicles were built to last a long time, not crap out after 50,000 miles. It's a problem that needs to be resolved.

- Milford , NJ, USA

problem #250

Aug 112014


  • 71,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Nissan Xterra. The contact stated that while driving at an unknown speed, an abnormal noise emitted from the engine. The vehicle was taken to an independent mechanic. The technician diagnosed that there was water in the transmission and oil in the radiator. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 71,000.

- Cranston, RI, USA

problem #249

Aug 012014

Xterra 6-cyl

  • miles
2005 Nissan Xterra. Consumer writes in regards to transmission and radiator issues. The consumer stated after he dropped the vehicle off at the dealer, he received a call from the service advisor, stating transmission fluid was leaking into the radiator and Nissan was aware of the defect and should cover the cost in replacing the radiator and transmission, because they extended the warranty. When the consumer contacted Nissan to confirm, he was informed the vehicle had over 80,000 miles and he would have to pay $3,000 if he wanted the repairs done.

- Milwaukee, WI, USA

problem #248

Jan 012013


  • 93,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Nissan Xterra. The contact stated that while driving 55 mph, the vehicle started shaking and stalled without warning. The vehicle was towed to the dealer. The technician stated a crack in the atf caused a cross contamination of the engine coolant into the transmission. As a result of the failure, the transmission would need to be replaced. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure mileage was 93,000.

- Mission, TX, USA

problem #247

May 052014

Xterra 6-cyl

  • 102,594 miles
My truck felt sluggish. Upon diagnosis, there was transmission fluid in the radiator and the radiator was replaced on 5/7/14. Several weeks later, my truck stalled, and I had the intelligent power distribution module replaced. Several weeks later, the service engine light came on. This time, there were three transmission codes. The transmission had coolant in it, and was starting to fail. Nissan corporate only offers an extension over 100,000 on their powertrain warranty with a $3,500 deductible. With the transmission (rebuilt) being $3,500 and the radiator being $500. It was not worth it to go to the dealership to get a new transmission. Nissan failed to notify their customers in 2007 when they became aware of the problem. It would have been a lot less costly for Nissan truck owners to buy a new radiator before it failed, then to have also lost their transmissions. It looks like Nissan wanted to avoid a costly recall, which will cost them more in lost new car sales in the future. One CEO looks good, the next one will not.

- Colorado Springs, CO, USA

problem #246

Apr 082014

Xterra 6-cyl

  • 128,000 miles
Coolant enters into the transmission system from a defective radiator system and destroys transmission. Nissan manufacturer is aware of this, even lost a class action lawsuit, but has not recalled the vehicle. As a result, owners are not aware of the defect until transmission is ruined. Nissan only agreed to help repair vehicles, after the fact and only up to 100,000 miles - with the owner still having to pay $3,000 toward repair. Since we were not aware of the defect, we didn't do anything preemptive so we had to wait until our transmission was ruined. Since we are beyond the 100,000 mile mark, Nissan will not accept any responsibility for repair.

- Bloomburg, TX, USA

problem #245

Dec 112013


  • 142,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Nissan Xterra. While driving approximately 40 mph, the vehicle shook. The failure occurred multiple times. The dealer stated that the transmission and radiator needed to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired and the manufacturer was not notified. The approximate failure mileage was 142,000.

- Hendersonville, TN, USA

problem #244

Jul 212014

Xterra 6-cyl

  • 177,700 miles
Purchased my '05 Nissan Xterra in the spring of 2012 with about 160,000 miles. For the past 2 months I had minor issues like shuddering/vibrations randomly when I accelerated and the heat not working when I was at a complete stop. It was not until the other day when I was at a complete stop and my car would not accelerate properly that I knew I had a problem with the transmission. I took my Xterra to 3 different mechanics and each one explained to me that I would need a completely new transmission and from there they would see if I in fact needed to change the radiator (which they were positive was the original issue due to similar issues with other Nissan SUV owners). The repairs will cost me well over $4,000 and unfortunately as a college student, there is no way I can afford to repair the transmission and radiator. What was appalling to me was when I researched the issue online. There are hundreds upon hundreds of complaints online on various websites about this issue and Nissan has yet to issue a recall. The extended warranty excluded many people and put many more at an unfair disadvantage. I personally bought my Nissan, because of their reputation, but the fact that they will not come to the aid of their consumers speaks volumes of this company.

- Bear, DE, USA

problem #243

Jul 212014

Xterra 6-cyl

  • 81,000 miles
While driving vehicle vibrated as if it didn't know whether to shift or not. Found out later that I had water in my trans and trans fluid in my radiator.

- Montague, NJ, USA

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