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 5 of 17)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #242

Jan 022014


  • 140,000 miles


2nd owner of 2005 Nissan Xterra. First had issues with heat not working when at a complete stop, then car would begin to vibrate on the hwy, and now car is having issues up shifting. 2 mechanics have told me the same thing, stating defective radiator was leaking fluid into transmission. Now I must replace both at about $4000. After doing some research online, I have found this is a common issue with this model and Nissan has not issued a recall. Jeopardizing the safety of many and being very costly to those who can not afford a major issue like this.

- Bear, DE, USA

problem #241

Jul 212014

Xterra 6-cyl

  • 135,372 miles
The radiator leaked into the transmission causing the transmission to stop working. I had to have the transmission rebuilt and a whole new radiator system put in my truck. 5300.00.this is a common problem with this model. Tried to send in a claim but was told they are no longer excepting claims because of the problem. If they are aware of the problem then they should help those of us it happened to!!!!!!

- Sayreville, NJ, USA

problem #240

May 142014


  • 146,000 miles
I noticed the transmission 'slipping' when I pulled into work, especially in traffic on my commute. When I got back in my car 2 hours later, I could barely make it up a 2% grade in the parking lot. I immediately went to a reputable transmission shop who said I was lucky to make it there and not pay the towing charges (he pointed to another Xterra that came in the day before). My vehicle was past the (wimpy) extended warranty (mileage) for the class action lawsuit and the age was well past it. It cost me $3750 out of pocket with no hope of financial relief from Nissan. The transmission repair store owner said this whole situation (design and lawsuit) was terrible and could have been avoided. Lucky I wasn't on the interstate!

- Greenville, SC, USA

problem #239

Jun 232014


  • 85,000 miles


Complete catastrophic engine failure during rush hour traffic. Luckily I was approaching a red light and there were cars slowing ahead of me I was able to brake slowly to a stop while I was not able to be steer. I had to be pushed to the side of the road by the help of others. The vehicle was towed to the pinnacle Nissan dealership where they informed me that the transmission and the radiator has to be fully replaced due to a faulty valve. Nissan said the valve that connects the radiator and transmission broke allowing coolant and anti freeze to mix together and immediately catastrophically destroying both components. I was informed that their was a classaction suit for this very reason that was settled but this is very dangerous if I had been in a freeway situation. Nissan has had numerous complaints for this vehicle for this reason. I have had every recall part for this vehicle needed to be replaced due to faulty manufacturing, this is a very expensive repair and it has been known due to the # of complaints on this particular part being faulty but a recall needs to happen not at the expense of Nissan. I am expected to cover this with a deductible of $2500 at no fault of my own. I am lucky to be alive. I have maintained all necessary/reccomended service outlined by Nissan up till L this failure. Thank you

- Phoenix , AZ, USA

problem #238

Jul 152014

Xterra 6-cyl

  • 72,630 miles
Luckily I was waiting in a drive thru when the known defect occurred. The radiator is known to crack and leak in to the transmission mixing both the coolant and transmission fluid requiring the replacement of both the radiator and transmission. The failure of the radiator also requires that the engine be flushed multiple times. I received a letter from Nissan a few years ago that this is a rare occurrence. It doesn't appear that they were telling the truth. Nissan settled a class action suit so I will have to pay $2560 to get the problem fixed. Because the parts have to be ordered it takes a week or longer to get the car fixed. This is a known problem that affects multiple Nissan models from 2005 through 2010. Nissan should be required to recall and fix everyone of the affected models.

- Reedley, CA, USA

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problem #237

Jun 132014

Xterra 6-cyl

  • 110,000 miles
Because of a failed radiator, coolant became mixed with automatic transmission fluid and the transmission stopped working in rush hour traffic.

- Colorado Springs, CO, USA

problem #236

Jun 022014

Xterra 6-cyl

  • 82,500 miles


The cooling system failed and mixed coolant with transmission fluid, transmission subsequently failed.

- York, PA, USA

problem #235

May 152014

Xterra 6-cyl

  • 76,500 miles
Transmission failure because of coolant fluid leaking into it. A design flaw which brought a class action suit against Nissan. Nissan lost the suit, but did not recall these vehicles for repair. I was forced to pay $3000 deductible for the repair, but I may be lucky since many with this problem will not be covered at all. Very unfair of Nissan.

- Harahan, LA, USA

problem #234

Aug 012013

Xterra 6-cyl

  • 98,000 miles
Radiator defect causes leakage into transmission. Transmission fails and vehicle abruptly stops unpredictably on the freeway.

- Newport Beach, CA, USA

problem #233

Jun 022014

Xterra 6-cyl

  • 99,635 miles
Monday June 2 my husband told me something was wrong with his 05 Xterra. He said it sounded like it was driving on rumble strips in the road. We went online to find that there have been several complaints brought against Nissan for folks experiencing the same issue. We contacted our local Nissan dealer. I spoke with [xxx] and he informed me that there is a known issue with 05 Xterra's where the radiator fluid leaks into the transmission which will in turn cause the engine to cease. He then indicated to me that there was a class action law suit that settled back in Jan 2013 that if the vehicle was under 100,000 miles all would be covered all but $3,000. That's what we would have to pay to have this fixed knowing that this is a defect on the vehicle that Nissan has known about as it effects 2005-2010 Xterra's, pathfinders and frontiers. Yet its us that has to pay out of pocket this astronomical amount of money. Anyone over 100,000 miles would have to pay in full which ranges $7000 - $10,000 depending on the state you live in. You can't tell me that this is how a company stands by their name. This was literally almost a total loss on this vehicle but luckily enough we were 300 miles under the 100,000 mark. How is this ok to charge folks these prices for something that is a defect on the company. To date, we were never notified nor was a recall ever put into place. There are thousands of folks filing complaints on this matter. We should not have to have this worry how we will come up with this amount of money and by all means we should not have to borrow from 401K's to afford what we rightfully did not damage ourselves. I will never, we will never purchase another Nissan again because they did not stand by their name. All we are asking is that something be done to return our money that we so rightfully shouldn't have had to put out. Information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Baltimore, MD, USA

problem #232

Jun 022014


  • 168,000 miles


The contact owns a 2005 Nissan Xterra. The contact stated while driving 35 mph, the check engine warning lamp illuminated. The contact mentioned that the vehicle was making a loud knocking sound and was hesitating. The vehicle was taken to an independent mechanic where the technician diagnosed that the transmission was defective and needed to be replaced. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The VIN was not available. The failure and current mileage were 168,000.

- Irondale, AL, USA

problem #231

May 212014

Xterra 6-cyl

  • 100,553 miles
Driving on highway and transmission failed. Nearly had accident getting car off of road. Problem exists do to factory defect of radiator leakage into transmission fluid. Requires new radiator and other repairs and new transmission. Estimated repair cost = $6,800.

- Quincy, IL, USA

problem #230

May 122014


  • miles
I was driving one morning and at the front of my neighborhood is a hill. I had to stop and wait for traffic so that I could go. Once I put my foot on the gas I couldn't go anywhere, the engine just revved. So I had to back all the back to my house. My husband is a mechanic and told me it was the transmission. We have now found out what the problem was being that the coolant is getting into the transmission and ruined it. Now, at the time I find that there was a settlement, my vehicle has over the 100,000 mile limit. From what I read, the majority of the vehicles are over the 100,000 mile limit when the problem occurs. Something needs to be done about this because it could cause a fatality if you are driving and suddenly can't go anywhere fast enough and get hit!

- Austell, GA, USA

problem #229

Jan 112011


  • 44,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Nissan Xterra. The contact stated there was a loud noise heard from the front of the vehicle intermittently. The authorized dealer was unable to replicate or diagnose the failure on several occasions. The vehicle was taken back to the dealer where the timing belt was repaired however, the failure recurred. The contact was also advised that there was a leak in the engine. Additionally, when the hood was opened the cap to the transmission overflow was missing and was replaced by the dealer. The vehicle was taken back to the dealer for further inspection and diagnosis. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 44,000. The current mileage was 65,000.

- New Rochelle, NY, USA

problem #228

Jan 112011


  • 44,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Nissan Xterra. The contact stated there was a loud noise in the front of the vehicle intermittently. An authorized dealer was unable to replicate nor diagnose the failure on several occasions. The vehicle was taken back to an authorized dealer again who diagnosed that the timing needed to be reset. The timing was reset and the failure recurred. The vehicle was also leaking fluid; the hood was opened and the cap to the transmission overflow fluid was missing however, the dealer replaced the cap. The contact continued to hear a loud noise intermittently. The vehicle was taken back to an authorized dealer for further inspection and diagnostic testing. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 44,000. The current mileage was 65,000.

- New Rochelle, NY, USA

problem #227

May 022014

Xterra 6-cyl

  • 160,000 miles
Manufacturing defect in radiator caused transmission failure that could have been quite dangerous under some circumstances. This has been widely reported by huge numbers of Nissan owners of various year models and styles. Nissan refuses to be accountable for the failure and denies acceptable service to their customers on this issue.

- Arthur City, TX, USA

problem #226

Aug 012013


  • 102,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Nissan Xterra. The contact stated that while traveling various speeds, the vehicle suddenly lost acceleration power and would not exceed 25 mph. The vehicle was taken to the dealer where it was found that the transmission had failed due to being contaminated by coolant. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was contacted about the failure. The failure mileage was 102,000.

- Mission Viejo, CA, USA

problem #225

Apr 142014

Xterra 6-cyl

  • 95,550 miles
When driving at highway speeds, vehicle would start to shudder and thud into gear. Had vehicle checked out and told there was a defect in which the connection between radiator and transmission malfunctioned and coolant mixed with transmission fluid, thereby destroying the transmission and radiator. I have found that this is apparently a very common problem of Nissan Xterras from 2005 to 2010 that I had no idea about. This really should be recalled on all affected vehicle, because it is such a common problem and if one has over 80K miles they still pay half for the repair and if over 100K miles there is no warranty coverage from Nissan. The warranty extension was the result of a class action suit but is not enough when full repair can be $6000 and there has been no warning from Nissan that this is a potential problem to look for.

- Fort Thomas , KY, USA

problem #224

Dec 312013


  • 10,000 miles
Transmission has a jerk, and it turned out to be due to the oil and coolant mix in the transmission. This has been an ongoing issue and several complains have been filed, no extended warranty, dealer or anybody is covering the cost. It is a very expansive repair and I can not afford to fix on this financed vehicle. Nissan must pay for the repair.

- Rochester Hills, MI, USA

problem #223

Feb 032014


  • 120,000 miles
I was driving on an interstate highway where the speed limit is 70mph. Car begins have a large rumble. Can't tell if it the rear end, the drive shaft or transmission. There is no pattern to the rumble and it continues for several weeks, so I take it to an auto repair shop. They tell me that I have water in my transmission fluid, which was caused by a cracked line in the radiator. I am told to check on the internet, because this is a big problem that lot of Nissan Xterra owners are facing. So, I check it out and the issue is huge. I bought the Xterra about 2 years ago and during that time was never contacted by anyone warning me of this issue. Now, at the time I find that there was a settlement, my vehicle has over the 100,000 mile limit. From what I read, the majority of the vehicles are over the 100,000 mile limit when the problem occurs. My vehicle still will drive and only get the rumble occasionally, but I now know it's fate. It's ashamed that I could not have been warned by Nissan before facing costly repairs. Nissan could have saved us lots of headache and money if we had know and been able to be pro-active before the damage was done.

- Angier, NC, USA

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