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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:
103,333 miles
Total Complaints:
229 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. new radiator and transmission rebuild (83 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 (25 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 #229

Jun 052015

Xterra S V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 128,000 miles


This sucks. I service my Xterra monthly at a certified Nissan dealership. I can't believe this slipped through the cracks.

- , Fort Collins, CO, USA

problem #228

Apr 212015

Xterra SE 3.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 99,700 miles

Took my wonderfully well kept 2005 Xterra with 99.7K miles into the local garage because I noticed more movement than usual in the thermostat while taking a short road trip over the weekend. The mechanics noticed something unusual about the coolant while replacing the thermostat. They checked the transmission fluid and realized that they were cross contaminating. They gave me a $650 estimate for a new radiator and a transmission flush and refill.

Only after I got home did I start looking into the issue myself, did I find that there is no "quick fix" and that it was a known defect in the radiator requiring the transmission to be replaced. I called my local Nissan dealer and they took me in first thing in the morning. The prognosis was not good, and the only "saving grace" was that I was still 300-400 miles from hitting 100K so I was still covered under the $3000 copay to have the entire job done. Another tank or so of gas and I would have been SOL for the entire repair.

After much thought and consideration, I decided to have it done. $3000 is a lot, but car payments will add up to that amount very quickly. I'm not happy at all, but I can't imagine this happening for another 100K and I plan to drive this car until it simply won't drive anymore.

- , Santee, CA, USA

problem #227

Apr 032015

Xterra SE 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 94,000 miles

This issue began in September of 2014. Every now and then the car would vibrate while accelerating. I took my car into Ken Garff Nissan of Salt Lake City in September and was told nothing was wrong with it. I continued to drive it. (After all, there "wasn't anything wrong with it.")

Fast forward to March 2015 and the issue has gotten worse. I took it in again and was told I need a new radiator and transmission. Repairs that are going to me $5,500! Nissan was "generous" enough to take $500 off because they didn't think anything was wrong with the car the first time I brought it in. This still leaves me with $5000 in repairs for a car with approximately 92,000 miles on it! WTF?!?

- , Salt Lake City, UT, USA

problem #226

Mar 022015

Xterra SE 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 183,926 miles


So far with this Nissan I've had from day one, nothing but trouble. Brakes had to be machined at 4,000km dealer said it must be my driving. Last car I had went 110,000km before I even replaced pads. At 10,000km had a shield under car fly off on highway. I do not off road so must have been loose from factory. $150 to replace non warranty. Had the dreaded fuel sender problem just out of warranty. $500 to fix and apparently same issues happened with previous generation Xterra's and Nissan did nothing to fix, of course further ensuring their dealer's repair bays being full. Then had the rear differential rebuilt as a faulty breather clogged bursting pinion seal causing moisture damage in diff. Non warranty as Nissan claims it is not their responsibility to clean the breather from dust and debris. I call that faulty engineering.

After the second rebuild and pinion seal/seat replacement, a non Nissan mechanic recommended modifying the breather for $10 extending it up and out of dirt/harm's way. Hmmm why couldn't Nissan think of that with all their intelligent engineer's or at least have made the modification during a scheduled service and save a lot of people a lot of money. Or was it just to ensure business for their repair shops. So after thousands and thousands extra to keep this beast on the road (cause I can't afford another), I'm rewarded with the dreaded rad/tranny mix. Fluid's mixed while 300km from home of course in middle of winter -20. Replaced rad and had flushed. Like everyone else only an apparent band aid as 6months later here I am with non shifting transmission needing to be rebuilt. $4000 quote and now faced with sending to scrap yard or repairing. That's $4000 non-Nissan small transmission shop. Nissan wants thousands more and I'm of course outside the extended warranty. So now I have a truck worth zero unless I repair, and even repaired is only worth a couple hundred more than the repair bill.

What burns me the most is after a quick Youtube search I found that the possibility of this problem occurring can be eliminated by taking 10 minutes of your time to literally switch 2 hoses from one opening to the other. For added protection for $100-200 you can have a transmission cooler added completely making this design fault a non issue. So Nissan even knowing about the issue could have just done a $100-200 recall service on the trucks and saved potentially thousands of people from having to put out thousands of dollars for these repairs.

Thanks Nissan, once bitten, twice burned, third time this dumbass will never again buy a Nissan unless they decide to do something to stand behind their faulty engineering and loyal customer extortion...

- , Caledon, Ontario, canada

problem #225

Feb 032015

Xterra Off Road

  • Automatic transmission
  • 110,000 miles

Check Engine light came on so I couldn't get a smog. Mechanic friend checks it and it says something about the transmission. He test drives it, it drives fine. I haven't noticed any slipping or anything unusual. We look it up and see all the complaints about the faulty radiator and transmission fluid mixing. Take it to shop, they refer me to AMMCO. After a day there, I'm told I need a new radiator and they can rebuild the transmission, the cost 5,000. They did explain that the radiator leaked fluid into the transmission. My extended warranty ended at 98,000 miles. I bought it used 3 and a half years and have only put 50,000 miles on it. I am disheartend by Nissian's lack of responsibility in this matter. I'm glad there was a class action suit but the results are a slap in the face. I can't believe there has not been a recall.

- , Sacramento, CA, USA

problem #224

Jan 212015

Xterra LX 3.2L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 105,000 miles

Like so many others, my Xterra had a leak from radiator causing all my problems with my transmission. So many customer bitching and yet they won't recall it! They know of the problem, but won't fix and take care of their customers who keep them going...MY LAST NISSAN EVER PERIOD!!!!

- , Laurel, DE, USA

problem #223

Jun 252014

Xterra SE 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 102,000 miles


I replaced the radiator and flushed the transmission twice, it lasted 6 months then we had to have the transmission rebuilt.

- , New Orleans, LA, USA

problem #222

Jan 242015

Xterra Off Road V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 119,000 miles

I am one of the unlucky who didn't have this known defect cause problems until after 100,000 miles. Now, as I am 19,000 over the extended warranty limit, I am stuck with the cost of replacing the radiator and transmission for $7K.

The fact that Nissan has not come out and accepted responsibility for putting defective parts into their products is obscene. I loved my Xterra and had every intention of being a Nissan owner for life. Now, as much as I would like another Xterra, I just don't feel it would be prudent. If Nissan is putting out a product that can die at a mere 100,000 miles and the company thinks that is acceptable, who's to say it isn't some other problem with a newer model that they refuse to stand behind? The recent behavior from Japanese car makers reminds me of decades ago when American cars were crap and you just knew that.

So now I have to find a new car and I can't, in good conscience trade my Xterra in. I know the unscrupulous dealers will just turn around and sell it to unknowing person who might get a couple months out of it.

If any lawyers watch this site and there is any recourse left after the class action settlement - would love to hear about it.

- , Fairfax, VA, USA

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, NJ, 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, TX, 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, 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

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