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 9 of 17)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #162

Jun 262013


  • 130,000 miles


I have had my Xterra for 7 months when one day I was approaching a very busy and long intersection when my Xterra went into a safe mode and lost most power which had me hoping on coming traffic would not tbone me as I could not accelerate through. The local dealer told me that this was all electrical and I would need two wire harnesses and a ECM. This cost 3,800 dllrs. After replacing those parts they told me I needed more work due to my radiator and transmission having cross contamination due to a defect, bad weld on the radiator from the factory, but yet im still responsible. My new total bill is roughly 9,000 dlrs which is more then the vehicle is worth. They have mis diagnosed this from the get go and will not take any responsibilty or ownership. Nissan has been the worst to work with. They have had my vehicle for over a month and I have been told it was first my ECM computer then a fuel injector, ignition coil, then wire harnesses and now a new transmission and radiator. Basically if you go to a dealer and the tech has no idea what hes doing they will call a support line and make you pay for the parts until they can narrow down the problem. Now they are linking everything together with some bogus theory and im financialy responsible. Why is it up to me and my wallet to pay for parts when it should be on them to properly diagnose the issue for the get go. They told me ignition coil and injector were the problem. I have not since heard about those parts only because they didnt replace them in his blind search to pinpoint the real problem. I could have been seriousaly injured if other drivers were not paying attention. Im thankful that was not the outcome or Nissan would have been paying me a large sum all due to they will not recall this 600 fix. Its bound to injure or kill someon in the future. I will never buy another nnissan again. Horrible service and product.

- Las Cruces, NM, USA

problem #161

Aug 012013

Xterra 6-cyl

  • 113,226 miles
I have about 113,226 miles on my 2005 Xterra. The other day I had driven my car to work with no issue and left for lunch again with no issues. However, when I got in my car to return to work from lunch, I had started the car with no issues, put in drive and when I pressed on the gas it felt as if though my car was stuck in neutral. I even checked to make sure it was not. I released the gas and pressed on it again and the went however every time I had to stop and go again I had to floor the gas in order to get it going. Once it got over 25mph it seemed to kick back into gear. I took my car to the Nissan dealership right away to find out what was wrong with my car, since it had been working fine up until lunch. Today I got a call from Nissan telling me it was an issue with a radiator fluid leak into my transmission and that the fluids had mixed and that I would now need to replace the transmission and radiator. The thing that gets me in that my car has been to Nissan twice in the last year for issues with my transmission, and with the first time it was in for repairs they told me there was a small leak with the coolant and yet said nothing to me about this issue nor about the extend warranty (10 years/100,000 miles) which if I had know about I would have had them check at that time to make sure the leak was not related, and if it was would have had them fix it. But instead they let me take my car and now I am faced with a estimated $6K repair job.

- Modesto, CA, USA

problem #160

Jul 192013


  • 101,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Nissan Xterra. The contact stated he took the vehicle for routine maintenance when the mechanic informed him that radiator fluid had leaked into the transmission. As a result, both components would need to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the defect. The approximate failure mileage was 101,000.

- Nappa, CA, USA

problem #159

Jul 172013


  • miles


The contact owns a 2005 Nissan Xterra. The contact stated that after shifting into drive, the vehicle erroneously accelerated in reverse. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was not contacted about the failure. The failure mileage was not available.

- Henderson, NV, USA

problem #158

Jul 012013

Xterra 6-cyl

  • miles
The transmission went out when radiator acted up.

- Lake City, FL, USA

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problem #157

Jul 032013

Xterra 6-cyl

  • 84,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Nissan Xterra. The contact stated that while having the vehicle inspected, she was advised that radiator fluid had entered the transmission. The dealer diagnosed that the radiator and the transmission needed to be replaced. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The approximate failure and current mileage was 84,000.

- Hillside, NJ, USA

problem #156

Jul 062013

Xterra 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 108,000 miles


The contact owns a 2005 Nissan Xterra. The contact stated while driving 45 mph the vehicle stalled and failed to shift gears. The vehicle was taken to a private mechanic, who stated the transmission failed because cooant mixed with the transmission fluid. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure was not reported to the manufacturer. The failure and current mileage was 108,000. Updated 08/20/13

- Fountain Inn, SC, USA

problem #155

Jul 082013

Xterra 6-cyl

  • 94,000 miles
Fortunately I was simply attempting to back out of my driveway when the vehicle would not move. I read numerous horror stories of others who had this issue in the middle of the highway so I am very thankful that this did pose any further risk of injury especially since I am 9 months pregnant and was on my way to an ultrasound. After taking my SUV in, we learned that anti-freeze was leaking into the transmission causing complete transmission failure and ultimately requiring a full transmission replacement. The cost is closing in on $4,000. Never did I receive any notification from Nissan that this was possible and my Xterra did not show any signs of concern. I started researching this problem online only to learn that I am one of many who have experienced this issue and at a hefty price with no help from Nissan. I read online that Nissan's answer to the problem was to extend the warranty to 80,000 miles but I have just recently passed that threshold. Furthermore, I have learned that this problem more often begins to present itself after 80,000 miles. I am appalled that this issue has not been investigated and more importantly been recalled since it could cause serious injury if not death. One thing is for sure, my husband and I will never purchase another Nissan vehicle. I strongly feel that the NHTSA should analyze the way Nissan is doing their business not to mention find a way to compensate every single customer who has suffered from this problem. Nissan should be ashamed of themselves and hopeful that no one gets seriously hurt should it occur in the wrong circumstances.

- Haddon Heights, NJ, USA

problem #154

Jul 012013

Xterra 6-cyl

  • 99,800 miles
Car started vibrating like it was going over a rumble strip, loss of power/rpms, unable to accelerate. Problem was intermittent and got worse. Took it to Nissan dealership, and apparently this is a known problem on some makes and models manufactured between 2005-2010 with defective radiators that leak coolant into the transmission system hence damaging it. Since I was at 100,000miles I had a copay of $3000.

- Newark , DE, USA

problem #153

Jun 272013

Xterra 6-cyl

  • 105,000 miles
A radiator failure caused the cooling system fluid to mix with transmission fluid causing transmission failure.

- Colchester, VT, USA

problem #152

Jun 212013


  • 98,812 miles


The contact owns a 2005 Nissan Xterra. The contact stated that the vehicle shook violently and slipped while shifting gears. The vehicle was taken to the dealer where it was found that that radiator fluid had entered the transmission. The vehicle was repaired. The manufacturer was contacted about the failure. The failure mileage was 98,812.

- Long Beach, CA, USA

problem #151

Jun 012013


  • 126,000 miles
Started vehicle and began to drive when the vehicle appeared to have no power. Continued around the block to return home and realized that the vehicle was not shifting gears. It appeared to be stuck in 2nd gear and would not shift up or down. Shut vehicle down and tried again believing that perhaps "something was stuck" with the same results. The vehicle was towed to a transmission mechanic who diagnosed the problem as glycol contamination in the transmission requiring an entire rebuild of the transmission. Upon research of the internet, I have discovered that this is a known problem to Nissan with the 2005 Xterras and other Nissan vehicles. While it is accurate that Nissan did offer to extend the warranty for the radiator (the known source of the problem) they did so without explaining the full extent of the problem or known possible catastrophic events if the radiator leaked. The resulting events of a leaking radiator is a damaged transmission requiring a full rebuild due to the glycol contamination.

- Wrightsville, PA, USA

problem #150

Jun 102013


  • 115,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Nissan Xterra. The contact stated that while driving 45 mph, he attempted to accelerate but the vehicle did not respond. The vehicle was towed to an independent mechanic for diagnosis. The contact was informed that the transmission would need to be replaced. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The vehicle had not been repaired. The failure and current mileage was 115,000.

- Jackson, NJ, USA

problem #149

May 252013

Xterra 6-cyl

  • 117,100 miles
The 2005 Nissan Xterra with an automatic transmission was driving fine, then suddenly jerked into four wheel drive low. The vehicle would barely move and the RPM gauge would rise, but would not change gears. The oil pressure also dropped drastically. Now, this has been occurring for the past two weeks, with the vehicle running well sporadically and inconsistently. However, the transmission is no longer jerking into four wheel low (or the indicator lights aren't showing that it does). At times, the Xterra will not even move or go into gear, but the RPM gauge will rise. I have taken the Xterra to two different garages and both have informed me that I not only need a new transmission, but a radiator as well. The estimates that I have received range from $3,500 to $5000.

- Tazewell , TN, USA

problem #148

Jun 072013

Xterra 6-cyl

  • 126,000 miles
The car who was behind me almost got me because all of the sudden my car speed lower dramatically, I took it to the Nissan and left it there, they call me and toll me is a problem with the transmission and everything was going to cost me repair it $7,500 with labor and parts, they have the gods to tell me that is better to sell it because the car is not worth fixing it, that car cost me $37,000 brand new to at least have it for 10 years I been changing the oil frequently so I have no problems, but Nissan is one of the worse car ever sold, my friend had an 2004 Altima and after 5 years everything was failing on that car worse than my X terra, I swear I will never buy Nissan again is bad investment for the money.

- Santa Clarita , CA, USA

problem #147

May 302013


  • 115,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Nissan Xterra. The contact stated that while driving 30 mph, the vehicle stalled without warning. The vehicle was towed to a dealer for diagnosis and the contact was informed that the transmission and the radiator would need to be replaced. The vehicle had not been repaired. The failure and current mileage was 115,000.

- San Jose, CA, USA

problem #146

May 182013

Xterra 6-cyl

  • 107,000 miles
Pulling from side road onto main road when vehicle lost all power. Would not pull at all, had to put the vehicle in neutral to coast down an incline to get out of main road traffic. Took vehicle to shop to find out transmission was shot due to factory defect in radiator and transmission causing radiator fluid to go into transmission and transmission fluid to go into radiator destroying them both. Research showed Nissan knew of this problems in these vehicles but did not recall them to fix problem. They did offer to extend warranty to 80,000 miles but statistics show this generally doesn't happen til 100,000 miles. Repairs are gonna cost $5700 which Nissan should be required to pay. This is a factory defect!! luckily for me when I pulled out on a main road and my vehicle lost all power another vehicle was not coming at me because I could not have gotten out of their way...also had there been a vehicle behind me or no place to coast my vehicle to it could have caused an accident....Nissan should be liable for this!!

- Oak Hill, WV, USA

problem #145

May 172013


  • 114,500 miles
I had an issue approximately 6 months ago regarding my radiator. The coolant and transmission fluids were mixing due to a defective (known) issue. My transmission has now failed due to a rusted valve body in the transmission. In fact it completely failed as I was driving. After pulling into a parking lot, it would not go into gear, any gear. These issues are obviously directly linked but I am now left holding the bag due to the fact that Nissan's extension of the warranty covers only vehicles with up to 100K miles. I am now nearing 115K miles.

- Winer Park , FL, USA

problem #144

May 182013

Xterra 6-cyl

  • 142,170 miles
Noticed vibration and bumping while car shifted randomly. Transmission is basically shot due to coolant leaking into the transmission cooler and mixing with transmission fluid causing total destruction of the transmission. Radiator needs to be replaced due to failure.

- Arlington, WA, USA

problem #143

May 092013


  • 123,500 miles
When I was driving home and I came to a full stop my Xterra wasn't accelerating. I called a mechanic and explain him what was wrong and he told me my transmission was bad and that I need it to replace it also the radiator. The price for the transmission was $3800.

- Raleigh, NC, USA

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