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:
105,981 miles
Total Complaints:
295 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. new radiator and transmission rebuild (87 reports)
  2. replaced radiator and transmission (47 reports)
  3. not sure (39 reports)
  4. replace transmission (35 reports)
  5. new radiator, transmission, and flush fluids (31 reports)
  6. replace radiator and transmission (28 reports)
2005 Nissan Xterra transmission problems

transmission problem

Find something helpful? Spread the word.
Get notified about new defects, investigations, recalls & lawsuits for the 2005 Nissan Xterra:

Unsubscribe any time. We don't sell/share your email.

2005 Nissan Xterra Owner Comments (Page 2 of 15)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #275

Feb 252013

Xterra Off Road

  • Automatic transmission
  • 82,000 miles


The dealer paid half, I paid half. The warranty was 2 thousand miles expired. Petty. I should not have had to pay a dime for this repair of a defect and no one else should either. I urge the NTSB to complete this matter and instruct Nissan to refund all costs associated with the defective radiator and subsequent transmission failure to it's customers.

- , Gig Harbor, WA, US

problem #274

Apr 292016

Xterra X V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 146,000 miles

Add me to the list of Nissan owners getting screwed by the company who knows there is a problem. Every time I reached the 60-70 mph range the Xterra would have a horrible shudder. Had it checked out and to no surprise there is coolant and transmission fluid mixing. So off to the shop to replace everything and have them put the bypass in so it doesn't happen again. I don't get how Nissan is not held responsible for this problem. I don't really care how many miles I have on the rig, it's still faulty!

- , Jefferson City, MO, USA

problem #273

Feb 242016

Xterra S 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 113,852 miles

There seems to be a trend with this particular issue of the radiator bursting sending coolant into the transmission rendering it destroyed and sending you back several thousands of dollars in repairs. Please include me in any other law suits against Nissan. I will never, ever, ever buy another Nissan again.!

- , Woodbridge, VA, USA

problem #272

Mar 282016

Xterra Off Road Sport Utility 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 71,188 miles


We bought the Xterra from a used car dealer in North Phoenix last year and it has run great until last weekend when the Check Engine light came on. We took it to a certified mechanic on Monday morning (Today). We were told that the radiator has cracked a leaked water into the transmission and it will cost $3,000 - $4,000 to repair. Further we were told that the manufacturer (Nissan) knows of the problem and had issued a Recall that expired 2 months ago (January 2016) but even though our Xterra only has 77K miles on it we are out of luck. There was a class action law suit on this issue and we will likely be seeking remedies from both the Car Dealership and Nissan to help cover the cost of these repairs...

- , Mesa, AZ, USA

problem #271

Jul 172013

Xterra S 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 120,000 miles

Yet another quality part used by Nissan in the mid-2000's - the radiator. They must've bought this part from the same place that sold them their timing chain guides and sensors. I was riding with some friends when it suddenly felt like I was driving on those rumble strips on the side of the interstate to let drivers know that they're drifting off the road. A quick acceleration made it go away and it didn't happen again for the rest of the weekend. Days later it reoccured and continued to happen every so often, each time with an deceleration or acceleration resolving the issue temporarily. I then took to the Xterra forums to find that it was a cheap ass radiator that Nissan had installed that was leaking into the tranny.

I promptly bypassed the radiator and had the tranny flushed by Nissan for $270, of whom were well aware of the issue, yet offered no break in price. That same day I had read that Nissan had a quasi-recall and offered to pay for half of the repair for those who had less that 100K miles and who had to get both the tranny and radiator replaced, which was still $3K out of pocket for something that Nissan should've paid the entire cost of. I wasn't about to do that - it was a slap in the face. I went ahead and bought my own radiator with a lifetime warranty (even if you nail a deer, they'll replace it) and installed it myself. Total cost of repair for me was around $500, which still sucked, but was far better than $3K.

I've said it before - never again will I buy a Nissan.

- , Leander, TX, US

problem #270

Oct 062015


  • Automatic transmission
  • 150,000 miles

In 2012, I absolutely fell in love with my Xterra. When I bought it, on my way home that day the car would shutter at 40mph. I turned around and they told me it was the torque converter. Okay fine, its under warranty, supposedly they fixed it. Got it back, once again, at 40 mph, shuddered. Took it back and the dealership told me that it was the exhaust heat shield. Once again, I got it back, and ONCE AGAIN at 40 mph, it shuddered. I am beyond annoyed at this point. I bought a car that I LOVE, and i can't even drive it home yet. That should of been a red flag for me. They finally towed it to Nissan dealership and they had to replace the radiator because of coolant mixing in there. Present day, Oct 2015. I move to Texas from SC. I drive my car, no problems. The next week, my transmission goes out. completely. It loses all power and goes in the failure mode. The mechanic tells me that he has to replace the transmission with nearly a 3500.00 dollar price tag. I took out a loan and paid for it ( i had to, I don't have any other way of getting around. I get it back from the mechanic, a week later, it goes out again. I have had my car back for about two months now. Now, I am feeling the same shudder at 40 mph that I felt when I initially bought the car. I am SICK of this car! Nissan needs to DO something about this! When you have multiple after multiple complaints of the SAME exact problem, it needs to be addressed and fixed. I will never buy a Nissan AGAIN

- , Grapevine, TX, USA

problem #269

Apr 042015

Xterra V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 108,000 miles


I should have know to run when I bought the car at 86,000 miles from NISSAN OF RENO - and went to buy an extended warranty, specifically asking about this problem, and they said there was no warranty that covered transmission at that mileage, but that it was up to date with all RECALLS, and there was no problem with the radiator/transmission. 2 years later and I'm screwed, even though I had taken it in before it had any symptoms of failure (a fellow Xterra owner warned me, but it was too late).

I had to replace the radiator and rebuild the transmission because like so many others have said, THE DAMN RADIATOR LEAKS INTO THE TRANSMISSION AND RUINS IT. How a company is able to get away with this is outrageous, as is the stupid settlement which doesn't cover the car through the mileage when they KNOW the radiator is going to fail. LESS THAN A YEAR LATER, AND I HAVE MORE PROBLEMS TOO, but that's another complaint file. AVOID THE 2005 LIKE YOUR LIFE DEPENDS ON IT - your wallet definitely does. LAST NISSAN EVER.

- , Truckee, USA

problem #268

Jan 222016

(reported on)

Xterra SE 4L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 90,725 miles

I believe that Nissan is negligent in not doing a recall on these vehicles because of the faulty radiator leaking coolant into the transmission fluid. Although Nissan added an extended warranty for the radiator, they did nothing to resolve transmission problems resulting from the leaky radiator. An extended warranty did nothing to warn me, buying secondhand, that there were problems with this vehicle, in fact, I thought good! the guy bought an extended warranty! I asked the mechanic what happens if the transmission goes after I replace the control valve assembly. He said he would advise customers to get the whole transmission replaced. So now I'm faced with paying $7,000.00+ to replace the transmission, meaning I will spend over $20,000 for a 2005 vehicle...or trade it in for much less than it would be worth if it didn't have these factory flaws...if anyone wants it that is. I can't afford either of these scenarios. I realize that buying secondhand I am SOL, that it is BUYER BEWARE, but if Nissan had assumed responsibility for their mistakes in the first place, I wouldn't be in the position I am now. I WILL NEVER BUY ANOTHER NISSAN AND WILL TELL EVERYONE I KNOW OF THEIR CORPORATE IRRESPONSIBILITY. I suppose someone will have to die because of transmission failure before something is done!

- , Prince George, BC, Canada

problem #267

Jan 112016

Xterra S

  • Automatic transmission
  • 108,000 miles

Radiator cracked causing mixture of fluids-strawberry milkshake. Replaced radiator, flushed system. Twp months later, transmission is going out. This is not what an expectant mother of twins should have to worry about.

- , Dover, USA

problem #266

Dec 282015

Xterra S V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 92,180 miles

My 2005 Nissan Xterra transmission started slipping a few months ago. It got worse, I took my Xterra to Smithtown Nissan in N.Y.. They checked the transmission and told me the coolant fluid leaked into the transmission. I would need a transmission and radiator replacement. The price was over six thousand dollars.

- , Ronkonkoma, NY, USA

problem #265

Dec 152015

Xterra SE V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 76,000 miles


We have a 2005 Nissan Xterra with 76,800 miles. When we start to pull off from a stop, all we get is alot of revving and very slow moving. We took it to a mechanic and they replaced the radiator and solenoid valve. We just got it back today and the Service Engine Light is back on. After following steps on the internet we determined the ECM code P1754 which is Input Clutch Solenoid Valve. This is very confusing since we just paid $1,500+ for the service which included a solenoid. Also, we see many complaints about the radiator frying the transmission in many Nissan cars. Could this be our problem? We just emailed Nissan but based on the other complaints filed, we doubt that they will do anything. Beyond frustrating since our car has so few miles.

- , Lafayette, CA, USA

problem #264

Dec 132015

Xterra Limited V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 107,538 miles

My transmission went out. I had it towed to my dealer Midway Nissan. Phoenix. They said that my radiator had leaked coolant into my transmission (05 Nissan Xterra) they said it was not worth fixing, that the cost of replacing the radiator and the transmission was more than the value of my Xterra. They would take it as a trade in, a salesman offered me $1500 as a trade in. They never said that there was a problem with 05 Xterras.

I decided to some research online of 05 Xterras.I found that there was a big problem with 05 Xterras, with cracked radiators leaking coolant into the transmission, and Nissan did not do a recall on these radiators. They did not notify owners that there was problem and they should have. I bought this Nissan new off the lot. I had it for 10 years. I thought Nissan was a great car. I cannot understand how Nissan would do this to their customers. There should have been a recall on these radiators!

- , Phoenix, AZ, USA

problem #263

Aug 152014

Xterra SE 4.0L, V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 115,736 miles

Nissan should be punished for this horrible design defect in an automobile which allows for transmission fluid to drain into the transmission (thoroughly destroying it), causing untold millions of dollars of damages to consumers. The problem doesn't usually arise until well after mileage on a vehicle which allows for recovery under the class action lawsuit which was previously filed and settled. It's wrong. Glad I wasn't part of that lawsuit because I feel compelled to file a separate lawsuit and try to recover for what I see as design defects that should be covered no matter what the mileage is on the car. The transmission and radiator should not have been designed in the manner the morons at Nissan designed them. What brainiac engineer came up with that design. No way should consumers suffer over $5,000 of damage and not be taken care of by Nissan where Nissan is fully responsible for such an irresponsible and short-sighted design for such an important piece of equipment in a vehicle. Wrong, wrong, wrong.

- , Brush Prairie, WA, USA

problem #262

Oct 072015

Xterra ES V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 124,000 miles

Bought this truck used in 2008 only 3 years old fastworward to 2015 the horror, radiator leaked into transmission

3200.00 to repair, transmission shop has taken since october 7 2015 till now November 16 2015 and I still don't have my truck repaired, they told me it was going to take 3 to 5 days, everyday is a different excuse, they supposedly repaired it on October 22 when they called me to go an pick it up from the Nissan dealership where they re-programmed the Valve Body, Picked it up and started hesitating and jerking on the freeway, called the shop and was told to pull over and they would pick it up, got off the freeway, parked at a restaurant, tow truck came picked it up and it would not start, was told that the Valve Body was burnt, waited another week while the Transmission shop and the Nissan dealership fought over who's fault it was to replace the Valve Body on the Transmission, finally it was replaced over the warranty, new Valve Body was installed and still was giving an error code on the computer, was taken back to Nissan Dealership to re-program, the truck sat at the dealership for almost a week before they looked at it with numerous calls from the Transmission shop, and I have called DAILY to get updated, the shop never initiaded the calls, I made comments on the Dealership's website about their service and the Manager called me and said it wasn't their fault it was on the Transmission shop end where the problem was, some tipe of sensor that needed to be replaced, now the truck is at the Transmission shop waiting on the sensor to be replaced and it is supposed to be ready today for pick up.....the shop gave me a loaner car, first it was a 2003 ford van all dirty with bottles of oil on the back no rear seats, then they gave me a 2003 subaru vue that smokes as i accelerate and it has some noise coming from the driver side experience with this problem has been a total nightmare...I don't want to get a new car as I don't want to make monthly payments again.....the shop will give me 2yrs 24k miles warranty.....I hope I don't have any problems once I pick it up from the shop because I dread the time they will take to fix any future problems, also the Transmission shop did no honor a coupon they have on their website for 650 off any major transmission work at this place....the first estimate was for 1500 for the rebuild kit, when I mentioned the coupon I was told the estimate already had the discount included, WTF!! disaster of experience with this problem....

- , houston, TX, USA

problem #261

Dec 032014

Xterra ES 3.2L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 124,000 miles

Bought my 2005 Xterra used from a Chevy dealership in Aurora in 2011. Loved my Xterra. Last year started shaking and shifting at 40 mph. Had it looked at by my mechanic. " need a new transmission and radiator. I'm not going to touch it. Take it to Nissan." Took it in to Nissan in Springfiled MO. They did not mention any class action or anything. Told me it would cost $5,600 to fix. Truck is not worth the $5,600 to put into.

My wife's Honda mechanic (All Pro- in Springfield MO. Great people by the way) told me about the class action. Too bad it doesn't apply to me anymore. Feel like I got taken shelling out good money for a vehicle that SOMEONE knew there was a problem with and didn't get fixed when it could have. I am a firefighter so don't make crap tons of money to just throw at the problem. I expected to have a good vehicle that would last many years. Not less than four for the amount I paid. I expect to pay for repairs. But this...THIS is something else.

Now I have a very expensive paperweight that is taking up space in my carport. Can't afford to fix it. Not worth anything on trade. So I am stuck. I had considered a Nissan Titan once upon a time. But not anymore. A happy person tells three people on average about the situation. An UN-Happy one tells at least 11. I will make sure I tell more than 11... Good luck with sales around me with people I know...

- , Monett, MO, USA

problem #260

Oct 302015


  • Automatic transmission
  • 96,000 miles

I had been noticing a bit of sporadic shuddering over the month leading up to the breakdown and I was planning on taking it into the shop (once I had the money). Then I was on the highway when it suddenly stopped accelerating. Pumping the gas shot the RPMs through the roof but otherwise didn't engage the wheels. By a miracle I made it to the next exit and just managed to pull into a nearby autoshop with smoke pluming up from beneath my hood. After a couple of hours, I got the bad news: transmission failure.

They recommended either repair or replacement. I was fairly surprised since I'd never encountered any significant mechanical issues with my vehicle up to this point. The car came to me new and I've driven it for 10 years over 96,000 miles without a hitch. At this point, either repairing or replacing the transmission will cost $3K-4K, which according to Kelley Blue Book is approaching the value of the entire vehicle.

When I searched online, I came across the serious complaint on this site regarding the radiator-transmission issue on '05 Xterra's and it all clicked. I'm now supremely frustrated and out of transportation.

- , Macon, GA, US

problem #259

Nov 172015

Xterra LX 3.2L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 115,712 miles

As with the many other people on this site the transmission died as a result of a coolant leak. Estimated cost is going to be $4000 and that is if I purchase the materials myself and have them installed.

I purchased this car for my daughter so she would have a reliable car. She is in college and thankfully she was near our house when it finally died.

So here is the reality; I have a car that I purchased less than a year ago from a dealership. Checked out as good because this problem doesn't really happen slowly. I paid $6500 for the vehicle and I owe $5000. Now I have a $4000 dollar bill on my hands. Effectively I purchased my daughter a car to $10,500. I could have done much better for that kind of money.

Nissan knows they have a problem and they essentially don't care. They figure that a $4000 dollar repair after 100K miles is totally acceptable.

I have never owned a foreign car before and never will again!!!!

- , Hillsborough, NJ, USA

problem #258

Nov 232011

Xterra S 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 70,969 miles

Here is my complaint sent to Nissan which was obviously ignored and written off as me being out of warranty. I brought this vehicle upwards of 140 plus times for issues almost leading every service with a complaint about some type of noise with the car while operating. We spent countless time and money on this thing always being directed to something else being wrong. 6 different Nissan dealers and several dozen mechanics all telling me different stories. This car was a piece of junk from purchase. Nissan will say "we can't speak to that". Horrible ordeal. We have a Versa that is already acting up at 20,540 miles. I amazed by their response to all of these owners who have shelled out thousands of dollars. A simply pathetic company, period.

2005 Nissan Xterra 5N1AN08W55C630273

I am writing to inform whom it may concern of an ongoing problem I have had with my vehicle, virtually since purchase.

Today I was told that I just missed out on a warranty extension to do with transmission and radiator fluids combining together. I was informed that the damage that has occurred to my vehicle forces me to pay upwards of $8,000 to replace my transmission and radiator due to this known defect that Nissan has acknowledged.

My reason for contact is simple. I feel that once I provide the history my car has gone through in its duration, I can provide a pattern of failure to address its evident issues. I have brought my vehicle into multiple car service shops including 6 Nissan dealers throughout its 10 year existence. More than half of my reasons for going was noise. I have had rattles, pings, vibration, shimmying, and rocking for the duration I have owned this car. I honestly don't remember a time I drove it without noise since about 2007.

It was purchased on 6/15/2005 at Cherry Hill Nissan.

Starting from today:

10/26/15 Leith Nissan: Cary, NC, States Transmission and Radiator needs replacement, and missed warranty cut off.

5/8/2015 Fitzgerald Nissan: Chambersburg, PA, Brought in for violent vibration, like riding a rumble strip. Told it was tire cupping, and brakes(while driving)??

8/13/14 Fitzgerald Nissan: Chambersburg, PA, Noises mentioned in customer comments. Check engine light on, tank gauge reads empty when tank is full. Fuel sending unit failure. Rental car needed.

8/10/12 Frederick Nissan: Frederick, MD, Brought in for noise. Battery deteriorating from terminal corrosion(happened at least 6-7 times in duration of vehicle, all documented).

11/23/11 Frederick Nissan: Frederick, MD, Brought in for grinding noise, and vibration. Told it was heat plates and that they needed to be removed to fix problem. Noise was exactly the same when driving out of their parking lot. Multiple line services were flushed and also blamed for the noise($1,100 Bill)

2/17/11 Chantilly Nissan: Chantilly, VA, Brought in for squealing and rattling while driving, told it was brakes, again(while driving)?? ECM relay replaced.

9/17/2009 Chantilly Nissan: Chantilly, VA, Brought in for slow start, battery failure, noise, and hesitation issues.

7/30/2009 Sterling Nissan: Sterling, VA, Brought in for squealing, driving noise from drive shaft.

7/01/2009 Nissan of Turnersville: Turnersville, NJ, Brought in for battery failure, and corrosion on terminals.

2/23/2009 Nissan of Turnersville: Crash Sensor Recall and noise complaint.c

10/30/08 Nissan of Turnersville: Front Differential leaking, oil plug leak.

12/11/07 Nissan of Turnersville: Brought in for noise, told it was belt.

4/16/2006 Nissan of Turnersville: Brought in for noise replaced all drive belts.

3/28/2006 Nissan of Turnersville: Brought in for squealing, told it was my seat not latched correctly?

Non Nissan dealers, but brought for same reason:

Mr Tire Morrisville, NC 7/4/15 Petrie's Auto & Truck Waynesboro, PA 5/22/14, 4/24/14, 3/4/14, 2/17/14, 8/7/13, 3/1/13 Virginia Tire & Auto Sterling, VA 6/10/10 Jiffy Lube multiple locations: 15 different times brought with noise complaint. Talcotts Auto Repair 10/14/14 Belt tensioner, and noise complaint. Sears multiple locations: 4 times for noise complaints. Walmart multiple locations.

Preventative maintenance was continuous. Oil changes, rotations, line flushes(which in hindsight were extensive and multiple times over the recommended outline as the fluids were probably mixing consistently together), brake changes(blaming the noise on my brakes), heat plates(being removed and cut off in one instance since they couldn't remove the bolt properly).

I have all documentation and invoices to back up my dates and happenings. I also have added up the amount of money put out on possible fixes for these noise problems that have fixed nothing, and basically got sick. We have literally thrown away thousands of dollars on guesses by mechanics.

After all that I want to state we enjoy the Nissan brand. I have owned 3 so far, and want to own another. My wife just purchased one a few months ago, but we don't want to be forced into a new one yet. The extensive work needed on my vehicle we can't justify paying for when we've already put so much money into it to no avail. We have well documented complaints about the issues we've experienced with it since purchase.

We hope by starting this dialogue we can determine how best to continue working with Nissan to have the situation remedied.

Please contact us at your earliest convenience.

- , Morrisville, NC, USA

problem #257

Oct 272015


  • Automatic transmission
  • 175,000 miles

If Nissan knows there is a problem radiator leaking into the transmission and causing it to fail, they have already had a class action law suit filed and won against them, why in the world would they not have a recall for this problem! The $4,400 plus cost for the new transmission was so preventable, has been seen several times by my local mechanic and the transmission shop he recommended to do the work. Makes no sense why Nissan would not have already fixed this problem! Last Nissan for this family!

- , Pascagoula, MS, USA

problem #256

Jul 022015

Xterra ES 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 170,000 miles

This is probably the worst issue I've ever had with any vehicle I've ever owned. A known problem with the radiator leaking into the transmission after a certain amount of time and no recall or recourse. Brilliant! My hat's off to the genius's at Nissan! I'm sure we'll all be talking about your bailout 10 years from now.

- , Dripping Springs, USA

Read the next 20 complaints »

Not what you are looking for?