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CarComplaints.com 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
Typical Repair Cost:
Average Mileage:
104,794 miles
Total Complaints:
235 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. new radiator and transmission rebuild (84 reports)
  2. replaced radiator and transmission (38 reports)
  3. not sure (31 reports)
  4. replace transmission (27 reports)
  5. new radiator, transmission, and flush fluids (26 reports)
  6. buy new car (10 reports)
2005 Nissan Xterra transmission problems

transmission problem

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2005 Nissan Xterra Owner Comments (Page 2 of 12)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #215

Nov 132014

Xterra ES 3.2L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 102,100 miles


I need to replace the transmission and I don't have money.

- , El Paso, TX, USA

problem #214

Oct 062014

Xterra SE 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 106,403 miles

Coolant leaked from the radiator into the transmission, causing the ECM to go out and needing a new transmission. The Nissan dealership gave me an estimate of $5,500. Putting that much money into my car would be paying a lot more than it is worth and not fair to any customer or consumer to have to pay such an amount over a major design flaw.

- , Killeen, TX, USA

problem #213

Jul 212014

Xterra V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 177,800 miles

Due to a radiator defect in many '05-'10 Nissan SUV models, coolant leaks into the transmission. The cross contamination causes an immense amount of damage that is not only costly, but very dangerous.

- , Bear, DE, USA

problem #212

Nov 042014


  • Automatic transmission
  • 105,555 miles


Well, as I have attempted to purchase this type of vehicle and now hoping I'm not locked into the loan how being that I'm a single mom of three and can't afford to do major fixes. As of this thinking I'm upgrading, which I'm obviously not, but as I did research and looked myself there is a milky substance developing in the coolant tank. So I'm hoping that I do not have to keep this vehicle because I can't risk anything being a single mother. This definitely needs to get solved.

- , Ames, IA, USA

problem #211

Oct 162014

Xterra Off Road V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 102,800 miles

It all started with my panel lights going on, even the gas gauge worked as it wanted, I ended needing a new IPDM. It ran as the part was being sent and the mechanic said it was OK to drive, it was stuck in 4 wheel also. While going up a hill to my job it started overheating, backing down and parking, after the tow a puddle of trans fluid was left. The radiator shot as trans.

- , Montoursville, PA, USA

problem #210

Oct 272013

Xterra LX V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 101,000 miles

I contacted a Nissan dealer who said that it is a known problem, but since I have more than 100,000 miles, tough luck.

- , New Orleans, LA, USA

problem #209

Aug 212013

Xterra S 4.0L V6

  • Manual transmission
  • 110,000 miles


My car over heated, had the thermostat replaced and my radiator replaced. It was leaking into the transmission. The mechanic replaced the radiator, flushed the transmission a couple times. About 2 months later, my transmission started slipping, and not wanting to shift. Now my car just sits in my driveway, because I can't afford to fix this problem.

- , camarillo, CA, USA

problem #208

Dec 152012


  • Automatic transmission
  • 110,000 miles

Like so many others my Xterra had a leak from the radiator that ruined the transmission. I initially had the radiator replaced and the transmission fluid flushed. This was only a bandaid however, and did not fix the problem. I am now about 2 years post radiator replacement and my vehicle is having serious transmission problems. I have been recommended to have a transmission rebuilt but don't want to spend the money.

- , Las Vegas, NV, USA

problem #207

Jul 152014


  • Automatic transmission
  • 100,000 miles

They knew the problem existed and never sent recall to us. They sent us home without telling us the transmission would eventually self destruct. Cars this old are often not worth the repair cost after repair and are worth nothing if not fixed. Terrible criminal act on Nissans part. Lying to and cheating the loyal Nissan customers. It is a shame that more people are not made aware of this issue with Nissan.

The settlement of the class action lawsuit against them was a joke since after 100000 miles (people bought these cars being assured of at least a life of that long) one pays full cost of the repair. This compounded with the fact that the issue appears at an average of 90-95000 miles. They knew about it and they cheated us by not telling us. If this had been a pharmaceutical company they would have made full reparation with significant monetary penalties.

- , Bozeman, MT, USA

problem #206

Apr 082014

Xterra LX V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 128,000 miles

We've had the same response from Nissan USA as all the other owners - absolutely no help whatsoever. Their customer service people told us we had to tow the vehicle to an 'authorized dealer' in order to determine the problem, even though they know of this problem. We spent $130 on the tow and then they wanted to charge us $140 for the diagnosis. Guess what? It was radiator fluid in the transmission and both are ruined.

Since our vehicle has more than 100,000 miles their rep, Jason Boynter, said tough luck and with a bored/rude tone of voice told us we could file a complaint with the Better Business Bureau, he didn't care, they weren't doing anything to help us.

The original estimate for the repair by our Nissan dealership was $6,400. They dropped it to $5,600 but a local transmission shop can do it for $4200. So, Nissan sells a defective vehicle and then wants to profit on the repairs for it. Smooth.

I will do everything in my power to tell everyone I know not to buy NISSAN. Period. They don't stand behind their vehicles and they don't care about their customers.

- , Bloomburg, TX, USA

problem #205

May 012014


  • Automatic transmission
  • 91,000 miles


I evidently missed getting info on the recall. Nearest dealership is 100 miles away and says it will do the job for $3,000.00 while covering the rest of the cost of repair. However... the Nissan Office of Consumer affairs wants me to call immediately after the dealership gives me the results of their diagnosis. Maybe they can help me some more, but maybe not.

- , Quincy, CA, USA

problem #204

Jul 132014


  • Automatic transmission
  • 107,000 miles

It's the same old story. 2005 Nissan Xterra having a transmission failure. Had it towed to a transmission shop since the car is totally off warranty (100,000+ miles). Today is 8/13 and we are into the 4th week waiting for the shop to complete the repair. It's not the shop's fault. They needed the valve control assembly. Nissan does have them in stock because they are being sucked up like crazy for all the failures. Took 3 weeks to get the part. Sad thing. It did not work! The microprocessor would not communicate to the computer.

So I ordered another part from my dealer (by the way, the car is 70 miles away from the dealer) and they said they can get it delivered in 2-3 days. The part is in stock, yada yada yada. That was Friday 8/8. Today, 8/13, I'm being told it won't get in until maybe Friday which means I'll have to wait until the following week to get the shop to even try to install it.

Through all this, the transmission shop tells me there was a Nissan posting regarding this problem and that they offered refunds depending upon age and miles. My SUV's age and miles basically say I'm screwed. So I'm wondering, why no recall? Why wasn't there a notification to the owner (me) that this was a defect?

Worst yet, they knew about this problem and can't even come up with parts? All they can do is make excuses.

So here's my thought. Who can I complain to in Nissan that even cares that might help me get this part expedited. Also, is there a any class action lawsuit on this that I can get in on? This is absolutely ridiculous. Think a report to the BBB would help?

- , Mantua, NJ, USA

problem #203

Jul 212014

Xterra V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 177,900 miles

Purchased my '05 Nissan Xterra in the spring of 2012 with about 160,000 miles. For the past 4-5 months I had minor issues like shuddering/vibrations randomly when I accelerated and the heat not working when I was at a complete stop. It was not until the other day when I was at a complete stop and my car would not accelerate properly that I knew I had a problem with the transmission. I took my Xterra to 3 different mechanics and each one explained to me that I would need a completely new transmission and from there they would see if I in fact needed to change the radiator (which they were positive was the original issue due to similar issues with other Nissan SUV owners). The repairs will cost me well over $4,000 and unfortunately, there is no way I can afford to repair the transmission and radiator. What was appalling to me was when I researched the issue online. There are hundreds upon hundreds of complaints online on various websites about this issue and Nissan has yet to issue a recall. The extended warranty excluded many people and put many more at an unfair disadvantage. I personally bought my Nissan, because of their reputation, but the fact that they will not come to the aid of their consumers speaks volumes of this company.

- , Bear, DE, USA

problem #202

May 022014

Xterra SE 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 160,000 miles

Obviously this is a manufacturers defect It is widely reported and has affected so many Nissan owners of several year models. I am quite angry about the failure of Nissan to do the responsible thing regarding this problem (regardless of the mileage) on the huge numbers of vehicles affected by this same defect. This vehicle - purchased for my daughter - was the 8th Nissan I have bought and we were loyal Nissan owners for many years - in fact, I have recommended them to almost everyone I know. Well, not anymore! I bought my wife a new Toyota Highlander this year and am telling everyone that I have lost trust and faith in Nissan after 30 years of driving nothing else. All our Nissans received excellent care and they have all exceeded 300.000 miles before being replaced. I expected no less from this one.

- , Arthur City, TX, USA

problem #201

Jul 152014

Xterra SE 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 72,630 miles

This is known defect. Nissan should have recalled and fixed everyone. The $2500.00 co-pay to fix a known defect in a car is a joke. I will not be buying another Nissan! I received a letter a few years ago stating that this problem is very rare. That is BS!

- , Reedley, CA, USA

problem #200

Jul 252014

Xterra 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 135,372 miles

This is a problem with Nissans. The radiator leaked into the transmission-ruining the transmission. It needed to be rebuilt and the radiator needed to be replaced.Costs over 5000.00 to get fixed. Thought I could file a claim but was told its too late!!!!!That's not fair.

- , Sayreville, NJ, USA

problem #199

Jun 012014

Xterra SE 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 97,000 miles

have a missing problem in trans. read on internet that nissan has added an extended warranty for radiator and trans replace. this is due to coolant leaking from rad. to trans, which causes the trans to fail. i called nissan and asked them to fix what i call a "recall" they said no it's an extended warranty only. i told them i bought a nissan, 2nd owner from a dealership "larry h. miller" in salt lake. and they never mentioned a problem or anything. i drove the vehicle for the last 2 years without a problem. now this starts. nissan said "sorry" the first $3,000 is from you. how is it i have to pay for their defective part? they "sorry" i said this is ridiculous. how can you do make the consumer pay for your mistake. would you buy a hamburger with rotten meat, and then pay for extra cheese? they have told me again "sorry" well sorry doesn't stop me from having to walk to work, while i make payments for a truck that won't run. i tried to even trade the truck in and no one will take because of the problem. i owe 12k on the truck and it is worth 8k on a trade or 10.5k private party according to Kelly Blue Book. and that's if the truck runs correctly. the dealership is willing to give me $5300 for it on a trade now. thanks nissan for give the worst headache since my daughter's first date.if anyone has any solutions let me know, or else i'm might go picket in front of nissan corp office.

- , Mesquite, NV, USA

problem #198

May 152014

Xterra SE 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 100,553 miles


Just bought this car 1 year ago. Obviously, issue due to a design and factory defect.

$3,672 later, my transmission might still be going out.

Will never buy another Nissan again!!!

- , Quincy, IL, USA

problem #197

May 152014


  • Automatic transmission
  • 76,000 miles

I'm supposed to be happy about "only" a $3000.00 deductible for the extended warranty from Nissan to cover this problem. Poor design, lost class action law suit, should have been a full recall from the company. This is my 2nd X Terra, and I was about to shop for the next one. Not anymore, lost respect for Nissan after reading all the stories on the web from the many with this same problem.

- , Harahan, LA, USA

problem #196

Aug 012014


  • Automatic transmission
  • 98,000 miles

Last night my wife was stranded borrowing my Sentra when the battery died (I walk to work so my car gets minimal use; understandable) until a Samaritan gave us a jump after I failed to start it. She’s borrowing my car because her inoperable Xterra has been at the Connel Nissan dealership in Costa Mesa, CA for a week awaiting our pickup. We took our Xterra to a family-friend mechanic shop in August last year because of a vibration in the engine. He recommended replacing the radiator and flushing the transmission. The vehicle ran fine until recently when it would stop moving forward in the middle of the freeway, and eventually struggled to drive even after idling.

We took the Xterra back to the mechanic who said the transmission had finally given up. I had never heard of a car having this kind of issue with regular highway use, so I researched online only to discover articles on Nissan regarding class-action suits, investigations, extended warranties, and recalls. I found out Nissan extended warranties to 100k miles for our series Xterra and remembered that our radiator issue occurred at 98k miles. I took a chance and called consumer affairs hoping this vehicle could still be covered at 114k miles.

I kept hearing terms like “We’ll take care of it,” and “let us reach out to the dealer and handle it.” Words like that create a strong sense of hope for someone who works in customer service. Vance, in consumer affairs, had spoken with the dealership and emailed me for proof of the work done at 98k miles, which was not even taken into consideration in the end, creating more false hope. I found myself begging to get Vance to see my perspective of the situation when he said Nissan is denying my case because it is out of warranty, and when it was in the extended warranty, the mechanic was not a Nissan dealer.

You can imagine the frustration of not knowing of the extended warranty’s existence until now, so I asked Vance why I wasn’t informed. Apparently it is because the dealerships are responsible for informing customers of known issues with models such as this and only when someone comes to them, they don’t “reach out” to owners. When I explained that I am not a “Connel Nissan” customer, but a Nissan customer having owned nothing but Nissan my entire life, I asked why Nissan doesn’t inform us of such an expensive, dangerous defect as the one we discovered on our own through online research. That question was never answered. The rest of the conversation was filled with apologies from Vance and my expression of how disappointing this experience was.

Three promises were broken from Nissan: “We’ll handle it,” which was the promise made to me from consumer affairs. They heard my story, they made me feel valued, they seemed to empathize with me, yet somehow they had a change of heart for seemingly trivial reasons. The other two promises are in their business model: “We will respect your time,” and “We will market our products and services honestly.” The former promise was broken when it took 3 days of information gathering, for information that was not taken into account, or at least had so little leverage for my case that it could have been avoided in the first place. The latter promise was broken when as a Nissan customer – again, not a Connel Nissan customer, no one was informed of this serious issue. I received letters about the Xterra ECM module having a defect, and my Sentra airbag defect immediately! However, a known issue where Xterras stop driving in the middle of a freeway because they can’t switch gears was kept an insider-secret for dealerships and misfortunate online forum users to know.

I finally emailed several executives at Nissan (randy.parker@nissan-usa.com, takehiro.terai@nissan-usa.com, john.spoon@nissan-usa.com) none of which had any interest in contacting me back and just had consumer affairs call me again to tell me no again. This was an extremely pathetic example of customer service and leadership.

- , Newport Beach, CA, USA

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