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 1 of 17)

problem #322

Aug 012016


  • 89,000 miles


Antifreeze leaked into transmission causing irreparable damage to transmission and radiator replacement

- Shirley, NY, USA

problem #321

Sep 092016


  • 149,000 miles
Has 149 K mileage and has started to have vibration at speeds over 50 mph. Radiator fluid has oil in it. Was told by mechanic it is transmission fluid.

- Aledo, TX, USA

problem #320

Sep 072016


  • 145,000 miles
Please see attached uploaded document.

- Bridgeport, CT, USA

problem #319

Aug 172016


  • 111,326 miles


The contact owns a 2005 Nissan Xterra. While driving 4 mph, the transmission failed and the vehicle stalled. It was diagnosed that the radiator fluid leaked into the transmission. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was made aware of this issue. The failure mileage was 111,326.

- Benicia, CA, USA

problem #318

Jul 192015


  • 75,000 miles
Vehicle was not driving well, we were having problems accelerating, and were hearing noises similar to when you drive over rumble strips. Our mechanic diagnosed the problem as radiator coolant missing with the transmission fluid. Vehicle was transferred to Nissan dealership and we opened a case with Nissan Consumer Affairs as vehicle only had 75K miles, however it was 9 years old and therefore subject to the $3,000 deductible. After reviewing our case for almost three weeks, we were informed that Nissan could not help us. We paid the $3,000 deductible to have the transmission replaced, however feel that Nissan should be held accountable for fixing the known defect with this vehicle that could have caused significant accidents and injuries if the transmission failed while we were driving on a busy roadways.

- St Louis Park, MN, USA

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problem #317

Jul 052016


  • 110,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Nissan Xterra. While driving 30 mph, the vehicle failed to shift into third gear and the vehicle decelerated. The check engine light illuminated. The dealer diagnosed that the coolant was leaking into the transmission and the transmission failed and needed to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The failure mileage was approximately 110,000.

- West Islip, NY, USA

problem #316

Jul 202016


  • 125,000 miles


125K much like several other customers the transmission started slipping and have been informed that the vehicles contains a defective radiator cooler tank that ruptures and forces coolant into the transmission through the cooler lines. When the coolant mixes with transmission fluid it creates a frothy liquid that eats valves, erodes seals and causes corrosion. Waiting to see what cost would be to replace system but have been told its around 5K and the car is not even worth that!!

- Galloway, NJ, USA

problem #315

Jun 292016


  • 105,000 miles
Transmission failure (atf contamination). ODI received a petition requesting investigation of transmission damage attributed to contamination by engine coolant. The source of the contamination is a cracked atf line that runs through an engine coolant chamber in the radiator.

- Mckinney, TX, USA

problem #314

Jul 012016


  • miles
Radiator crack and mix radiator fluid w transition fluid, transition problems, not change gears when I driving.serious safety problem when I'm slow dawn on intersection I can't go forward and I stuck on the center of intersection. Possible crush accident

- Arlington Hts, IL, USA

problem #313

Mar 242016


  • miles
The well known leaking radiator issue that has leaked into the transmission and has destroyed my transmission. Both must be replaced. But of course it is beyond the warranty covered dates. Since this is a known issue. It should be covered 100%, shame on Nissan for ignoring the issue. When sites are posting "avoid at all cost", should become a federal investigation. I will not purchase another Nissan.

- Livermore, CA, USA

problem #312

May 192016


  • 66,000 miles


The contact owns a 2005 Nissan Xterra. While pulling out of the driveway, the vehicle surged, hesitated, and lost acceleration. The vehicle was towed to an independent mechanic where it was diagnosed that the radiator fluid was leaking into the transmission and the transmission needed replacement. The contact also stated that a humming noise was present for approximately three months every time the vehicle was driven. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The approximate failure mileage was 66,000.

- Virginia Beach, VA, USA

problem #311

Apr 162016


  • 87,000 miles
A crack in the radiator occurred allowing coolant in to the transmission mixing with the transmission fluid causing catastrophic failure of the transmission. Thankfully, the car was parked and would not start. However, we did "jump" the starter and the car crept home with very little acceleration capabilities.

- Yakima, WA, USA

problem #310

May 042016


  • 68,400 miles
I purchased this car used from a dealer with approx 64,000 miles. After 2 days and less than 200 miles the car started shuddering as if I was driving over rumble strips and the check engine light came on. The next morning when I went to take it to the dealer there was a horrible rattling sound coming from under the hood that softened as the car warmed up. Needless to say that both of the more common complaints about this car raised their ugly heads at the same time: Transmission and timing chains!! I took it to my local Nissan dealer for evaluation and repair and was told that the cost would be between $8-9,000. Thank god for aftermarket warranty. Anyway... if Nissan does not intend to issue a recall, there should be a disclosure on carfax/autocheck/etc for these significant problems.

- Jackson, NJ, USA

problem #309

Jan 032015


  • 109,000 miles
My radiator broke and leaked radiator fluid into my transmission ruining the whole transmission in the radiator transmission fluid in it and so did the engine result $2600 transmission bought.

- Unionville, CT, USA

problem #308

May 042016


  • miles
Radiator fluid leaking into tranmission

- Beaver Falls, PA, USA

problem #307

Apr 042016


  • 116,000 miles
Transmission was rebuilt when I was unable to get it into reverse, costs $3850. A few days after work was done the vehicle starting running rough. Mechanic checked it out and let me know that transmission coolant line in the radiator was allowing coolant to get to the transmission and this voided any warranty on the transmission that he had given me and now the transmission as well as the radiator needed to be replaced. Since this happened, thru some research I see im not the only one and besides the thousands of people that have been ripped off be this obvious defect I'm sure there are at least twice as many that didnt bother to voice a complaint, due to the fact that nothing has been done, nor does it look like anything will be done about this no matter how obvious it is that there should of been a recall. I can only assume that someone or maybe more have been compensated to ensure this issue wasnt pursued by anyone that could make a difference.

- Seguin, TX, USA

problem #306

Mar 252014


  • 79,000 miles
Suddey I found my heat not working. Strange, I was low on coolant and no visible leaks. While researching this I came across all the complaints of transmission failure due to the defective welds on the atf cooler within the radiator. I immediately went to dealer and had everything checked out and pressure tested for leaks. They said all is fine and tested ok, we have no idea why you would be low on coolant. Mind you, at this point there is 79K on the odometer and we all know Nissan lame warranty extension is useless due to the convenient mileage cap completely and obviously is in their best interest. Appalling and 100% a safety issue and complete negligence. In an effort to be pro active I ordered an aftermarket radiator and installed it myself. I also flushed and refilled tranny fluid. I am now about to break 100K. I'm now worried about the timing chain issue Nissan also doesn't want to deal with. Anyone reading this should be pro active and change out your radiator and flush your transmission immediately, it's all you can do right now to prevent a bigger issue. It also cost me $400 to do myself. The quote from the dealer was $1500. Good luck to all, I argued and called and called and Nissan could care less and wouldn't even consider any help whatsoever. This was my wife and I's 5th Nissan. Never again!!!!!!

- Mechanicsville, VA, USA

problem #305

Apr 012014


  • 140,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Nissan Xterra. The contact stated that the transmission failed and the vehicle jerked. The vehicle was taken to an authorized mechanic who stated that radiator fluid leaked into the transmission, which caused the transmission to fail. The transmission was replaced. The contact also stated that the fuel gauge failed. The contact did not know if the fuel tank was full or empty. The fuel gauge was not repaired. The manufacturer was not notified. The failure mileage was 140,000.

- Boise, ID, USA

problem #304

Feb 012016

Xterra 6-cyl

  • 100,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Nissan Xterra. While driving 60 mph, the vehicle stalled. The contact was able to restart the vehicle. The failure recurred on numerous occasions. The vehicle was taken to a dealer where it was diagnosed that the transmission needed to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The failure mileage was 100,000. Updated 06/15/16 the transmission was replaced on March 25, 2016. Updated 06/20/16.

- Easley, SC, USA

problem #303

Feb 252016


  • 87,000 miles
Transmission fail due to defect in transmission cooling tank housed inside the radiator.

- Pittsfield, MA, USA

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