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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:
102,166 miles
Total Complaints:
208 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. new radiator and transmission rebuild (78 reports)
  2. replaced radiator and transmission (33 reports)
  3. not sure (30 reports)
  4. new radiator, transmission, and flush fluids (24 reports)
  5. replace transmission (24 reports)
  6. so far a new radiator and transmission flush (6 reports)
2005 Nissan Xterra transmission problems

transmission problem

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2005 Nissan Xterra Owner Comments (Page 2 of 11)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #188

Nov 212013

Xterra V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 79,400 miles


Found out about the problem and they wanted $2500 to fix. I was pissed because they knew it was a problem and yet did not warn us to prevent the damage. Hubby replaced radiator and did 2 flushes. So far it's okay but occasionally loses power going uphill after coming to a stop. Nissan screwed with us.

When we went to them for help, they were arrogant and demanded that we prove we were long time Nissan owners by providing all the VIN numbers of all the Nissan's that we had. And we had 24 hours to dig them up. We did it and they blew us off for a few days then they told us 'no'. Worst, most arrogant company EVER! I am never buying a Nissan again!

- , Kaneohe, HI, USA

problem #187

Jan 152014

Xterra Sport V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 100,000 miles

I see that there was some relief from nissan if it happened before 100k...but my local mechanic said this is when it usually happens....I was hoping there could be another class action....the Nissan dealer wanted over$6k to fix....

- , Santa Barbara, CA, USA

problem #186

Mar 152014

Xterra V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 125,000 miles

This problem is a manufacturer's defect where the radiator cracks and leaks fluid into your transmission which then destroys your transmission. Nissan was taken to court for this problem in which they settled and extended the warranty to 100,000 miles or 10years whichever comes first, in which you then had to pay a $3,000 deductible to then get it fixed (how nice of them). The Nissan dealership charges $6,500 to replace the radiator and transmission, by the way. My car, however, is over this mileage and is not covered by this settlement.

When we spoke with an "executive" at Nissan, asking if they were going to stand behind their product, they said that they were very sorry we were having this problem, but they were "VERY GENEROUS" with the customers involved in the settlement and there was nothing they could do for us. My advice is, if you have a 2005-2010 Nissan Xterra is to get rid of it ASAP! That thing is a ticking time bomb.

- , Birmingham, AL, USA

problem #185

Oct 302013

Xterra S 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 73,000 miles


There is only 73,000 miles on my 2005 Nissan Xterra. We were shocked to learn of a radiator leak that allowed fluid to enter the transmission. A hefty price of $3500.00 to fix the problem. What was even more shocking to learn was Nissan is aware of this problem that has occurred to many owners of their 2005-2007 models. Why have they not done a recall to save car owners this costly repair!! I am shocked and appalled at their customer service, or lack thereof. This will definitely be my last Nissan!

- , Haydenville, MA, USA

problem #184

Aug 092013

Xterra Off Road 4.2L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 143,000 miles

Chalk up another one! The class action lawsuit settlement is a joke! The consumer gets jacked again and the big corporation makes out like a thief!!! Nissan should've, at the least, send out a bulletin to notify the consumer of a potential problem. Although they claim its not a safety issue and failed to issue a recall, I find it hard to believe that it's not a safety issue when your vehicle's transmission fails at highway speed. Sounds like a high speed accident waiting to happen to me!!!

I will never buy another Nissan vehicle again!!!

- , Barrington, IL, USA

problem #183

Oct 282013

Xterra SE V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 85,500 miles

I can't believe this issue is not covered under a recall. Having the customer pay any portion of the repair for an admitted defect is OUTRAGEOUS!!!!!!!!

- , La Habra, CA, USA

problem #182

Oct 232013

Xterra Offroad 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 107,497 miles


Brutal.. it's to bad.. I've had 3 Nissans.. 2 Pathfinders both got up to around 13yrs and 400,000km but finally age showed it's ugly side.. the xterra is 6yrs and now sits in the shop with a dead transmission.. This is the first car that has lasted less than 200,000 km.. and unfortunately for me.. my last nissan!

- , Toronto, Ontario, Canada

problem #181

Oct 162013

Xterra 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 143,000 miles

Well it all started about a year ago, I noticed that when I would give it gas going down hill that the RPM's would rev up and I would have to let off the gas and push it hard to switch gears. Also last year I thought that my heater was going out because I would let it "heat up" in the mornings but the heater would not get warm until I got on the highway and was traveling at a steady speed. (Which I just read is a warning sign of this particular problem). About 3 months ago when I would get around 50mph my X-terra would start to vibrate when I had my foot on the gas. When I let off the gas and back on again it would stop. This past Wednesday (October 16, 2013) on my way home from work I was driving along and all of a sudden it just wouldn't go when I pushed on the gas. The next day I had it towed to a mechanic. It took him less than a day to contact me about what the problem was. I needed a new transmission and transmission oil cooler which was going to cost me $5718.92 and that is for a rebuilt one. Then he told me that wasn't all. He said while he was investigating the error message that showed up from the diagnostic, he found out that this is a common problem on this year of X-terra. He told me that the transmission oil cooler breaks down and releases Anti-freeze into the transmission lines in to the transmission. This contaminates the transmission fluid which over time breaks down the transmission and burns up the clutch. He said just go home and google it. So I did. I found out that Nissan had issued an extended warranty for this to 100,000 miles. Which of course I am past the cut off and I was never notified of. Had I known what the warning signs were and that this was a common problem, I would have taken it in a year ago when the problems first started.But now since I am past the mileage cut off I am just out of luck. Nissan is aware that there is a problem and they should do the right thing and fix it. I WILL NEVER BUY ANOTHER NISSAN!!

- , Siloam Springs, AR, USA

problem #180

Sep 272013

Xterra S 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 90,000 miles

My 2005 Nissan Xterra, which I bought used one year ago, just quit on me about 2 weeks ago. When I bought it, I was careful to make sure any recalled issues were performed. Now this radiator leaking into and ruining my transmission. I purchased an extended warranty with an outside company. However, since Nissan will "partially cover" this issue to the tune of $3000 deductible to me, my warranty company cannot and will not touch it. I am out $400 so far for the rental car so that I can go to work and school. As it is, I'm having to withdraw funds from my IRA at penalty to ensure I can cover the deductible cost and rental. This issue is all over the internet, and the original mechanic I initially worked with before realizing it HAD to go to Nissan told me this is and has been a known issue with the 2005-2007(?) models of Xterras, Pathfinders, and Frontiers but no recall? I'm furious and truly so stressed by this issue. I have taken good care of the vehicle and ensured proper maintenance, but none of that matters in this case. It is shameful that no recall has been forced as so many people have dealt, are dealing with, or will be dealing with this issue that is known to the Nissan corporation. I had an Altima that gave me no problems for the entire 6 yrs. I had it. This Xterra, as much as I love it, will be my last Nissan. I would rather walk than deal with this kind of corporate thievery.

- , Missoula, Montana, USA

problem #179

Jun 012013

Xterra V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 117,000 miles

We started experiencing some problems with our Nissan just a month or so prior to taking it in. We took it into Nissan 7/17/2013. There were just a few small things that were happening...cannot pinpoint but just didn't seem to run like normal. We thought it was the tires so we had the tires checked. Then the service engine soon light came on and then went off. Returning from vacation the cruise control wasn't working. Once we got home then the service engine soon light came back on. My husband made an appointment to take the car in. Within a few days my husband could only use 3rd gear. So we got them to take the car in immediately.

The diagnosis from Nissan: Radiator and trans mixed and contaminated which damaged the TCM.

Recommendation: replace transmission and radiator assembly, charge $6600

This was our first Nissan purchase and we have taken very good care of this vehicle. To lose the transmission at 117,000 miles is unbelievable to me. We were basically screwed, either repair or have no car. Never thought we would experience this problem at this mileage. To learn that this is a widespread problem and Nissan is not acknowledging is very disappointing. Sends a message they do not back up their product. We thought we were buying a quality product but now we have our doubts.

- , Bear, DE, USA

problem #178

Jan 012013


  • Automatic transmission
  • 128,635 miles


I work two jobs and I live pay check to pay check I'm the head of house and the only one in the family working at this time. I thought by buying this vehicle I would have it for a long time ,so I spent all that I had saved and I also borrow to get a down payment because I heard nissans were a very good car but now I see they are not reliable at all. Now I am stuck with car payments and paying the loan back. The loan I took out to get this car. What am I to do?

- , bridgeport, Connecticut, USA

problem #177

Oct 302012

Xterra S

  • Automatic transmission
  • 127,607 miles

After limited research, it seems that this is a growing issue with a few models of Nissan vehicles. Nissan won't issue the re-call. Having a warranty is meaningless because the problem can occur over 100,000 miles. The master mechanic at the Nissan dealership in San Juan Capistrano said that he is seeing this more and more and is all because of the defective radiator that Nissan decided to use.

- , San Marcos, CA, USA

problem #176

Aug 022013

Xterra S 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 86,350 miles

I bought a 05 Nissan Xterra with 86000 miles in the odometer. Having knowledge about the big factory defect with the radiator leaking into transmission, a long known mechanic told me that if I wanted to prevent the problem I had to replace the radiator for a heavy duty one, and I had to install an external oil cooler (for the transmission) as well.

I have heard about a couple of cases when they did this modifications on their Xterras (between 80-120K miles), and they haven't had any problem with that issue. On the other hand, if you are actually having problems with your transmission (like the car jarring and shaking), your probably are still on time to prevent the transmission mess. I hope this suggestions could help.

The modification above cost me less than $500, a big difference with the $3500-5000 you could spend fixing the problem if you don't prevent it.

- , Calexico, CA, USA

problem #175

Aug 162013

Xterra SE 4.0

  • Automatic transmission
  • 73,000 miles

I have the same story as everyone else. I tried to avoid it. I bought a used 2005 Nissan Xterra SE with 71k miles from a Toyota dealer. One week later I went back to them asking if they would work with me to get into another used SUV because I found out about the radiator & transmission problems that Nissan has with their Gen2 Xterras, Frontiers & Pathfinders. They refused, even though the deal hadn't gone all the way through with the bank. One month later, before I even made my first payment on the truck, the radiator cracked and had to be towed back to the dealer. I bought the truck from Toyota with an extended warranty, however it is now at Nissan being fixed because it is under 80k. After I showed the dealer all of the issues with the 05 Xterras they are willing to help me get into another truck, NOT A NISSAN. It really is a shame, I loved the truck until all of this happened. I have owned four Nissans over the years, a 91 Pathfinder, an 05 350Z, an 01 Xterra, and now this piece of crap on wheels. Nissan should be ashamed of themselves, I work hard for my money and I put my trust in their product. I can promise this, I will NEVER EVER buy another Nissan for as long as I live, and if I can help it, none of my friends or family will either....Disgusting

- , toms river, NJ, USA

problem #174

Aug 012013

Xterra S 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 86,323 miles

I have read about the 05's Xterra's failure issue, but I haven't read in this page about SOLUTIONS!!! It's because is in human nature to complain about everything, (like me in this typing),but not giving solutions.

GIVE SOME SOLUTION ADVICES FOR GOD SAKE (after complaining, of course).

- , Calexico, CA, USA

problem #173

Jul 302013


  • Automatic transmission
  • 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 #172

Sep 032012

Xterra 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 117,000 miles

Same old story...talked to Consumer Affairs...nada. Did establish this nifty Facebook page though. http://www.facebook.com/IHateXterraTransmissions

- , Madison, MADISON, USA

problem #171

Jun 272013

Xterra S/X 4x4

  • Automatic transmission
  • 105,000 miles

This problem should have been a Nissan recall with the radiator defect prior to it effecting the transmission. At a minimum, Nissan should cover the radiator replacement and transmission and cooling system power flush in an attempt to save the transmission.

- , Colchester, Vermont, USA

problem #170

Oct 182012

Xterra V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 130,000 miles

I talked to Nissan about this problem. They first sent me a letter months and months ago stating that if the problem occurred within 80,000 miles (or something like that) or before a date in 2014, they would cover repairs with a deductible. When I got the letter, the car had 92,000 miles on it already. Today, on the phone, the consumers affairs person told me it had been recently extended to 100,000 miles. However, my car has 130,000 miles on it and it would not be covered. I don't understand. They said the radiator corrodes/rusts. My understanding of corrosion is that it is a problem of time, not how many miles are on the car. I have a 2000 Sentra that I gave to my daughter. It (the Sentra) has 174,000 miles on it and is 12 years old...........no such problem ever. My boyfriend has a Ford Ranger that is 18 years old, no such problem ever. With the radiator, flushes, and my gas and oil gauges not working plus some vent sensor being replaced, it was a little over $1,300. However, when the tech test drove it, it went into what they called limp mode, shifted with a big jerk, check engine light came back on, and it barely made it back to the dealership. So, transmission is shot. That is going to cost $3,642 PLUS labor. I still owe 6 payments on the car. I am unemployed and can't even look for work because I don't have a car. Thanks Nissan. This was my 3rd Nissan, I will never buy another Nissan!

- , Onsted, MI, USA

problem #169

May 212012

Xterra S V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 121,000 miles

I bought my X used at 65000 miles. I have babied it, taken great care of it, and planned to make it last at least 5-6 more years. At 121xxx miles, the transmission slipped while I was barely accelerating. I was going a steady 50-55 mph. I was less than two miles from my destination, and before I could make it there the transmission stopped shifting completely. I finished my drive in first gear limping down the shoulder of the road. I had it towed and the transmission rebuilt. Total cost was about $2400 for everything. I picked it up from the mechanic on Thursday night and Saturday afternoon it went into "limp mode" and had to be towed again. Now it lives in my driveway and hasn't been driven in months because I can't afford to have it fixed... again. This is not on my mechanic. This is on NISSAN. I have read that victims of Nissan's abuse should file a complaint with the NHTSA to try to get a retroactive recall, so I did, and I encourage you to do the same. I had to buy a new car, so now I have two car payments and one car. NOT COOL, NISSAN! I want my money back and I know you do too! REPORT THIS! Here is the link:


Click on the right of the page that says "Report a Vehicle or Child Seat Defect."

- , Silver Creek, GA, USA

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