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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:
102,813 miles
Total Complaints:
221 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. new radiator and transmission rebuild (80 reports)
  2. replaced radiator and transmission (36 reports)
  3. not sure (31 reports)
  4. replace transmission (27 reports)
  5. new radiator, transmission, and flush fluids (24 reports)
  6. buy new car (7 reports)
2005 Nissan Xterra transmission problems

transmission problem

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2005 Nissan Xterra Owner Comments (Page 1 of 12)

problem #221

Jul 072014

Xterra SE

  • Automatic transmission
  • 138,000 miles


Bought my car brand new and now its worth nothing. Nissan would do nothing to help so I now have a useless vehicle that will cost 5x's what its worth to fix! NEVER buy Nissan again.......

- , Madison, FL, USA

problem #220

Oct 152014

Xterra SE 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 153,150 miles

Hello Everyone,

I own a 2005 Nissan Xterra. I was feeling vibration when going between 40-60 MPH. Then had a mechanic look at it said that the radiator looked milky so i brought it home before deciding what i was going to do. I took the next day off from work to have this problem taken care off and went to leave my house and it would not shift. Had it towed to the nearest Nissan dealer they said the transmission cooler broke cause failure to the transmission. I have an extended powertrain warranty through AUL Corp and they said since the radiator went causing the failure to the transmission that i wasn't covered!!!! I did research and found this was a known problem. But, i wanted a second opinion. I had my car towed to another licensed mechanic and they did a test on the radiator finding it to be A-OKAY!! Told this to the warranty company they sent a inspector out and denied my claim because the transmission fluid is "milky". I went to the mechanic where my car sits now and had them show me the transmission fluid and they said it was NOT MILKY!! I do not have the $4,800 to fix this problem and i still owe another 2 years on the car! If someone has any input it would be appreciated because this problem is ridiculous!!!!!

- , Center Ossipee, NH, USA

problem #219

Dec 012014

Xterra Off Road

  • Automatic transmission
  • 73,000 miles

I have the same problem that a lot of people are having with the radiator and transmission. It's costing $3000, for a co-pay. Plus they said that everything fell apart while taking the transmission out (belts, boots, etc) and that's going to cost an extra $1800 to fix. The transmission can't be fixed until the other problem is resolved. It's never a good time of the year to have this sort of expense but for me Christmas is even harder. This is not fair when this is a problem/defect with this radiator/transmission and this should be on Nissan, not us! There are tons of complaints about this and nothing can be done?

- , COVENTRY, RI - Rhode Island, USA

problem #218

Aug 042009

Xterra SE 3.2L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 80,000 miles


Had this problem at 80,000 miles` Rumble sound like your riding over highway safety rumble strips on the edge of the highway. I did a power purge at AAMCO and they found this is on going problem with Nissan Xterra, the cross contamination of Anti-freeze and Trans Fluid causing Transmission failure which Nissan chooses to ignore . This is a bunch of BULLSHIT, now at 153,000 miles Nissan is telling me I need to replace my transmission . All of a sudden the Service Writer & Service Tech never heard this sound until now .

Real DOUCHBAGS .... Why, cause in 2009 when my truck was still in warranty it was too costly of a repair and didn't want to foot the bill. Nissan wants the consumer to pay for their STUPIDITY ! Assholes. Also wanna replace Passenger side front hub, another on going problem they need to take charge of by fixing it properly .


Joe J.


- , Sewell, New Jersey, USA

problem #217

May 172014

Xterra SE

  • Automatic transmission
  • 113,000 miles

This now piece of crap car needs a tranny rebuild... which mean it also needs torque converter and valves replaced. Assuming it also need Nissan's stupid computer to be replaced as well.

This has been a pain, such a pain... for someone who had this car for not even two years when the tranny stated going bad. I have barely driven it since this stated back in May 2014. I have had 3-4 mechanics look at it and they all say the same thing. I do not have $4-5000 to fix it, nor do I have the money to continue paying for this stupid vehicle which I have a loan on. I don't have a job and it's been hard getting one when I can't even drive anywhere. This was my dream car... a 2005 Xterra. Purchased it in May 2012 with 98,000 miles. Complaints started coming in October 2012. By this time I was already over the 100,000 mark and knew NOTHING of this problem until it started having it's issues.

I, like so many others on here are extremely annoyed with Nissan.. Is there no reason why we cannot sue them? Not just for what they did, but also because they have screwed so many people's lives over and have caused so much inconvenience on the consumer's part. BOY, have they lost A LOT of customers here. My bet is, they don't even care. If anything, I just want this crap out of my life, but OH WAIT... I cannot get rid of it because I still owe $6000 on it. If Nissan won't fix my car then they should find out a way to pay back my bank and cancel my loan.. or my bank should sue Nissan to get the money from Nissan that I owe them. This is ludicrous.

If anyone else hears anymore on another suit or anything, hit me up. I am desperate for this thing to be out of my life.

- , Mountlake Terrace, WA, USA

problem #216

Nov 062014


  • Automatic transmission
  • 108,349 miles

Coolant and water leaked into the transmission. Transmission repairs cost me $3,100. My vehicle has only 108,000 miles, I take really good care of my vehicles. I lost all respect for Nissan since I can't have a claim or reimbursement for costs since it is over 100,000 miles.

- , Little Elm, Texas, USA

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, Texas, 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, Texas, 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, Delaware, 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, Iowa, 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, Nevada, 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, Delaware, 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

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