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 6 of 17)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #222

Apr 012013


  • 145,000 miles


Transmission locked up intermittently, then stopped shifting all together. Replaced transmission, but quit again after only a week of driving. Turns out the cooling system was leaking into transmission and causing parts failure. Had to replace radiator, and, multiple transmissions parts for 2nd time.

- West Monroe, LA, USA

problem #221

Apr 012010

Xterra 6-cyl

  • 72,890 miles
Transmission failure while merging into traffic almost causing a crash.vehicle was running fine then suddenly would not accelerate. Vehicle has no indications of problems prior to this incident. Transmission fluid was contaminated with engine coolant according to the shop that repaired it.

- Milton, FL, USA

problem #220

Apr 012014

Xterra 6-cyl

  • 1,000,750 miles
The vehicle doesn't move, despite acceleration, no engine light. Went to the dealer and after diagnosis they said the radiator was cracked and the transmission was leaking. The cost comes to $7500. Contacted Nissan they say its not within warranty. Theses is a defective design on the radiator. Updated 05/01/14

- Shoreline, WA, USA

problem #219

Mar 292014

Xterra 6-cyl

  • 112,800 miles


Internal radiator transmission cooler cracked leaking coolant into the transmission and destroying it, rendering it useless. The transmission failed on me while I was driving and the vehicle gave me absolutely no warning lights or any indication of an issue occurring with the transmission. I had no advance notice so I was unable to avoid any damage to my transmission.

- Poplar Branch, NC, USA

problem #218

Mar 292014

Xterra 6-cyl

  • 90,000 miles
Transmission failure due to a problem well known by Nissan. Coolant entered through a failed radiator and causes failure of the automatic transmission. Timing chain failure also well known by Nissan.

- San Francisco, CA, USA

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problem #217

Mar 282014

Xterra 6-cyl

  • 120,000 miles
I took my car into the shop because of a rumbling noise and shake that was happening while driving. It feels like hitting the safety strips on the edge of the road by the shoulder. The mechanics pulled things apart and identified that there was radiator fluid and engine coolant leaking into my transmission. There were also metal shavings mixed in with the fluids.

- Cedar Rapids, IA, USA

problem #216

Mar 212014

Xterra 6-cyl

  • 120,000 miles


Radiator coolant and oil mixture and due to that, the transmission makes the car vibrate to an undrivable point affecting the driver ability to conduct a safe operation on the road including busy highways.

- Gautier, MS, USA

problem #215

Jun 202013


  • 103,000 miles
I was driving down a mountain in Tennessee on a family vacation, when my transmission failed because the coolant was leaking into the transmission fluid. In order to get to a safe location I had to drive in reverse to a driveway which could have caused me to be in an accident with a young child and my fiance in the car. Upon further research I realized that Nissan has over 500 complaint on the same issue and it was never resolved. I paid 4800 dollars out of pocket in order to replace the transmission and radiator.

- Columbus, OH, USA

problem #214

Feb 012014

Xterra 6-cyl

  • 131,000 miles
The transmission became stuck in 3rd or 4th gear and would not accelerate. Then it worked for a few days. After that it got stuck in 1st and would not shift. It is currently stuck in 3rd or 4th again. The transmission fluid is a red brown foamy color. It is giving a code of P1754.

- Newnan, GA, USA

problem #213

Mar 142014

Xterra 6-cyl

  • 125,000 miles
There is a manufacturer's defect with the radiator in which it cracks and leaks fluid into the transmission, which then destroys the transmission. When we called Nissan to ask if they were going to stand by their product, they told us there was nothing they could do for us.

- Birmingham, AL, USA

problem #212

Jan 242014

Xterra 6-cyl

  • 117,045 miles


My 16 year son was driving home at 11:00 pm on the interstate when, with no warning, the car lost all acceleration power. He was able to get the car to the side of the road and turn the car off and on and got it into 3rd gear. It would not work in drive. He proceeded very slowly for a short distance until he would lose acceleration power. He had to continue to turn the car off and on the highway multiple times to get it home that evening. He continued very slowly with his flashing lights on. It subsequently had to be towed. Thankfully, it did not result in a crash on the interstate. The car is black and it was very dark. It would've been very difficult for someone immediately behind him to react on the interstate. My son's safety was severely compromised. The problem turned out to be the radiator/transmission problem Nissan is already being investigated for (NHTSA action number DP12004). It required a new radiator, a new transmission and a new transmission computer as this was all ruined with the catastrophic failure of the radiator. The cost of repairs was $4632.97 including the tow charge. Nissan has been aware of this problem for quite some time and even settled a class action lawsuit for this very issue a few years ago. Had they voluntarily recalled the vehicle and fixed the problem, my son would not have been put in this dangerous situation and the costs would have been minimized. I desire for Nissan to be held liable for this - you have received literally hundreds of the very same complaint. Please conduct a recall on the Xterra, pathfinders and frontiers you know are impacted. We were fortunate not to have a crash resulting in injury or death; the next family may not be so lucky.

- Brentwood, TN, USA

problem #211

Jan 022014


  • 97,000 miles
I started to notice a problem while driving on the highway and thought it may be a engine oil issue. I knew there was something wrong because it did not feel right when driving the car it on the highway. Attaining the speeds on the highway was difficult and slow. When braking it was also slower to react. I took it too Nissan thinking it an easy fixed, I paid $700 dollars to fix whatever they could analyze. I thought the problem was solved, but no. Then I was hit with a $3000 to replace the transmission and radiator, which was known about back in 2010. What a rip off Nissan, you knew there was an issue and you neglect to inform your customers. I hope you go bankrupt now!

- Plainsboro, NJ, USA

problem #210

Feb 182014


  • 125,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Nissan Xterra. The contact stated that while driving approximately 60 mph, the transmission began to slip gears before becoming inoperative. The engine was turned off and upon restarting, the vehicle resumed normally. The vehicle was taken to an independent mechanic who informed the contact that the transmission fluid had turned into a dark brow, almost black color. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the problem. The approximate failure mileage was 125,000.

- Hamilton, TX, USA

problem #209

Feb 032014


  • 115,000 miles
Automatic transmission fluid was cross contaminated with coolant due to faulty radiator. This is a know problem with Nissan Xterra and pathfinders. Nissan is aware of the problem but refuses to take responsibility for the problem. Nissan sold products with poor manufacturing quality that cause this catastrophic malfunction. Current Nissan owner are stuck with a repair bill for 5 to 6 thousand dollars or with a truck that they can't drive of sell because Nissan refuses to take care of its customers.

- Rahway, NJ, USA

problem #208

Jan 242014

Xterra 6-cyl

  • 110,000 miles
Transmission died and needs to be replaced, due to the radiator issues of the Xterras from the year.

- Littleton, CO, USA

problem #207

Jan 232014

Xterra 6-cyl

  • 126,000 miles
While driving and in flow of traffic vehicle lost all power, but rpms would still increase due to faulty transmission in the Xterra. Faulty transmission leads to mixing of the radiator and transmission fluid causing loss of acceleration. Almost caused an accident with another vehicle.

- Brentwood, TN, USA

problem #206

Nov 012013

Xterra 6-cyl

  • 119,337 miles
Engine coolant leaked into the transmission, causing transmission failure. Replacement transmission is required.

- Santa Rosa, CA, USA

problem #205

Jan 022014


  • 136,000 miles
Driving 35 mph, vehicle suddenly stops. By reading all the other complaints in regards to the transmission, the coolant mixing and contaminating the transmission fluid. Sounds exactly the same issues. Will be bringing to get final diagnosis. All other recalls have happened to my Xterra, and I am the original owner.

- Taunton , MA, USA

problem #204

Jan 022014

Xterra 6-cyl

  • 104,000 miles
When I am driving on the highway doing 65 or 50 miles an hour the car would slow down and cars behind me would almost hit me. This car was on a recall for the transmission and was fixed. The same problem came back on the transmission and Nissan would not fix it. Information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Brockton, MA, USA

problem #203

Dec 312013

Xterra 6-cyl

  • 153,900 miles
I had my transmission and radiator replaced in my 05 Nissan Xterra in Dec 2010 at 69,000 miles due to defect of radiator leaking into transmission which caused me to brake down on a 2 lane highway. The Nissan service/dealer in kingston MA where we purchased the vehicle tried to tell us all that was needed was a radiator and transmission flush but we had already contacted Nissan corporate and found out we were entitled to a new transmission and radiator assembly due to a recall. They unwillingly replaced both assemblies. I have now experienced a 2nd brake down on an on ramp entering the highway and could not move my car as the transmission again failed at 153,900 miles. I had it towed to the Nissan service/dealer in kingston MA and was informed the transmission we had put in 2010 was only under warranty for 1 yr/12000 miles and I am responsible for all repair costs. I have to think that the original repair was not done properly and the same problem existed in the new assemblies that were put in as a new transmission should last longer than this. I feel my safety and the safety of other motorists was put at risk due to these problems as severe accidents could have occurred due to the fact that the my vehicle lost the ability to move at all on the highway in two different incidents. Nissan should be held responsible for not fixing the initial problem properly.

- Plymouth, MA, USA

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