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:
103,997 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 #168

Jun 242013

Xterra 6-cyl

  • 85,255 miles


Check engine light came up in my 2005 Nissan Xterra at 85,000 miles. Took it to the repair shop where I make oil changes, I was told transmission broke and radiator fluid contamination. Took it to the dealer, they confirm that the transmission failure, but they flat out refused the contamination, instead offer to replace both transmission and radiator for $5,500 to avoid future problems. I was not convinced. Immediately, another guy in the dealership offers to trade in for a new car. I took the car out and went to another transmission shop. Sure enough, they noticed radiation fluid contaminating the transmission fluid. Cost was around $3,750. Because, the deadline was early June'2013 and now is early July, they are telling me I cannot submit the claim. I hope the court does not approve the final settlement. Nissan should recall and pay for the repairs of defective transmission/ radiator.

- San Diego, CA, USA

problem #167

Jun 152013


  • 140,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Nissan Xterra. The contact stated that while driving 65 mph, the transmission failed as the vehicle shifted to neutral with the illumination of the check engine and slit warning lights. The vehicle was taken to an independent mechanic where it was stated that the transmission needed to replaced. The vehicle was not repaired and the manufacturer was notified. The approximate failure mileage was 140,000.

- Rancho Santa Margarita, CA, USA

problem #166

Jun 132013

Xterra 6-cyl

  • 185,000 miles
While driving my 2005 Xterra SE noticed loud noise coming from front end - found out transmission fluid had become mixed with coolant from radiator. (I have a sample of the cloudy looking fluid). The problem rendered the SUV undrivable so was towed to dealer where spent $5,400 to have both transmission and radiator replaced, but do not know for sure if this a permanent fix or not.

- Emory, TX, USA

problem #165

Jul 072013

Xterra 6-cyl

  • 111,400 miles


The contact owns a 2005 Nissan Xterra. The contact stated that while driving approximately 10 mph, the vehicle would not accelerate as the check engine warning light illuminated. The vehicle was taken to the dealer for diagnosis. The technician stated that the transmission would have to be replaced because radiator fluid was leaking into the transmission. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The approximate failure mileage was 111,400.

- El Paso, TX, USA

problem #164

Apr 152013


  • 107,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Nissan Xterra. The contact stated that while driving 65 mph, the vehicle became hesitated and decelerated independently with the illumination of the check engine warning light. The vehicle was taken to the dealer for diagnosis where it was advised to the contact that radiator fluid had leaked into the transmission fluid, causing the transmission to fail. The vehicle was repaired but the problem persisted. The manufacturer was notified. The approximate failure mileage was 107,000.

- Humble, TX, USA

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problem #163

Jul 302013

Xterra 6-cyl

  • 133,242 miles
The vehicle was being driven, as normally, to work on the highway. The engine started to accelerate but the vehicle kept slowing down. There was very little power. The vehicle was brought to a Nissan dealer. The mechanic at the shop told me the transmission had been damaged due to a failure of the radiator. The radiator, transmission and trans computer would have to be replaced at a cost of $4500. He also mentioned that this is a problem Nissan knows about but will not cover the repair under a recall or warranty. I took the SUV for a second opinion to a reputable repair shop. He confirmed the findings of the Nissan mechanic and offered to repair the vehicle for $4,140.47. I agreed to have the vehicle repaired. The mechanic said I should look up a class action suit that has been generated. That is why I am posting this incident.

- Deltona, FL, USA

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

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

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