Notes: In a very limited selection on small pickup trucks, the Frontier is one of the best options except -- and I cannot emphasize this enough -- for one problem that makes it an avoid-at-all-costs pain in you know what: the radiator ruptures and leaks coolant into the transmission, killing it. Such a buzzkill.

This problem affects most 2005-2008 (and maybe beyond) Frontiers.


hardly worth mentioning
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 1
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
103,743 miles

About These NHTSA Complaints:

This data is from the NHTSA — the US gov't agency tasked with vehicle safety. Complaints are spread across multiple & redundant categories, & are not organized by problem.

So how do you find out what problems are occurring? For this NHTSA complaint data, the only way is to read through the comments below. Any duplicates or errors? It's not us.

2005 Nissan Frontier drivetrain problems

drivetrain problem

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2005 Nissan Frontier Owner Comments (Page 2 of 10)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #177

Jan 022016


  • 97,668 miles


The contact owns a 2005 Nissan Frontier. While driving, the vehicle was not able to shift gears and the gears were stuck occasionally. In addition, the vehicle accelerated independently. The vehicle was taken to a dealer where the failure was undetermined. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was not notified of the failures. The approximate failure mileage was 97,668.

- Orlando, FL, USA

problem #176

Nov 022015

Frontier 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
2005 Nissan Frontier. Consumer writes in regards to coolant leaks from radiator into transmission.

- Heflin, AL, USA

problem #175

Sep 142015


  • 103,000 miles
Soon after passing the 103,000 mile mark in October, 2015, my 2005 Frontier 's automatic transmission (with the V-6 engine) started shuttering when I pressed the accelerator while the car was going 62 to 65 mph. It was quite startling and worrisome. The problem slowly got worse with shuttering occurring at different speeds and under different loadings. Within a week or two, I took it into a national transmission repair store (amaco) who wanted to charge me $180 for 2 hours of diagnosis to find out what the problem was. I ended up paying them for only 1 hour of their time. They said I had water in my transmission and that it would need to be rebuilt to the tune of around $5,000! they said I'd need to replace an internal computer...along with the cost to rebuild the transmission. What makes me mad is that I took the car to amaco at around the 90,000 mile mark (in 2014) to get some major transmission work done that turned out to be a malfunctioning electronic/computer part in the transmission. This cost me around $1,600 to fix. At that point, there was no water in the transmission. However, they should have informed me I should replace the radiator at that point because the radiators were failing and would require the transmission be rebuilt. The repair shop could have informed me of the problem Nissan was having with the radiator...but chose not to tell me. I could have fixed the potential radiator problem for around $300, before it created the eventual transmission failure which cost $5,000. Nissan also knew, but chose not to advise me to replace the defective radiator before it failed. The dealer's failure to notify me about the radiator design flaw, which they knew about it in 2007, kept me from replacing it. I would have gladly done this to avoid spending $5,000 when the radiator failed. The estimated "date this happened" is 9/14/2015.

- Jacksonville, FL, USA

problem #174

Aug 242015


  • 108,000 miles


My radiator failed and contaminated the transmission with coolant causing the transmission to fail. The truck has 108,000 miles but the technician that replaced the transmission and radiator said that it had been mixing for a while so it is difficult to say how many miles the vehicle had at the time of the failure. It cost me $4750 to repair. This is a common problem with Nissan Frontiers.

- Portland, ME, USA

problem #173

Jun 182015


  • 49,562 miles
There was a class action lawsuit settlement alleging Nissan North America concealed from consumers a cross-contamination of engine coolant and transmission fluid for 2005-2010 Frontiers. On June 18, 2015 my truck lost power and stopped working, in the middle of an intersection, almost creating an accident. I towed my truck to get it repaired, I paid $120 and $1800, they fixed half of the problem. Since my truck was still not working I did some research and found out about the extended warranty. I towed my truck to buena park Nissan where I had to pay $3000 to fix my truck. I contacted Nissan na to see if I could get a refund for cost I had already made, they told me to send them invoices of what I had paid. Later they said that they could not reimburse me since it was not repaired at a Nissan dealership. I have paid a total of $4920 for a problem Nissan created, knew about and concealed from customers.

- La Mirada, CA, USA

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problem #172

Feb 202015


  • 180,000 miles
Check engine light came on, got scanned at auto zone, all codes referenced transmission & sensors (I.e. cam shaft)...took to geurlich's auto for an inspection and transmission was suggested to be replaced...took it to aamco for an inspection/2nd opinion and same diagnosis, replace/re-build transmission. Finally accumulated the funds to have a mechanic rebuild our transmission and upon return of our vehicle, and unbeknownst to us, he mentioned the know issues/investigation stemming back to 2012 with the radiator leaking into the transmission and causing it to fail, which is ultimately what he felt happened. Since we purchased the vehicle on 08/08/2012 with an odometer reading of 100,340. We would have been entitled to none of the repair options or concessions Nissan offered under the proposed class action, since all were offered only up to 100K miles. The date the investigation was opened according to was 6/11/2012, 2 months prior to our purchase. The dealer at the time should have been well aware of the open investigation and provided us information on it so that we may have made a more informed decision. I feel that this purchase, although 3 years post purchase, falls within the lemon law statutes and warrants reimbursements to us of the cost to re-build the transmission, replace radiator, etc.

- San Tan Valley, AZ, USA

problem #171

Jul 212015


  • 104,000 miles


The contact owns a 2005 Nissan Frontier. While parked, the vehicle failed to start. The vehicle was towed to a dealer, who diagnosed that there was contamination by the engine coolant. As a result, the transmission and radiator needed to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The failure mileage was 104,000.

- Port Arthur, TX, USA

problem #170

Jul 152015

Frontier 6-cyl

  • 91,000 miles
Nissan has admitted to faulty radiators in their 05-10 midsize vehicles. Mine being a Frontier but also used in xterra, pathfinders and I believe titans.these radiators when they go, take the transmission with them. 4700 dollar bill later Nissan says I'm 2 months beyond my 10 years and will not honor any help, even though I'm 10K under the 100K mile limit. So because I kept my miles low and have taken care of my pickup I am still at fault for their faulty equipment. My family will ***never*** own another Nissan as long as we live. At anytime they could have said hey for $275 we won't recall these radiators but they are $275 to replace you should do it before it goes and takes the transmission too. [xxx] you Nissan.... poor business. Information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Center Point, IA, USA

problem #169

Jun 152015


  • 93,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Nissan Frontier. While attempting to drive, the vehicle would not accelerate. The vehicle was towed to the dealer who diagnosed that the transmission failed. While repairing the vehicle, it was discovered that the transmission could not be installed because sections of the subframe were rusted and corroded. No further information was available. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The failure mileage was 93,000.

- Rowe Mountain, TN, USA

problem #168

Jun 012012


  • 90,000 miles
Nissan's rear axle design for the Frontier is faulty, utilizing a bleeder valve that clogs causing seals to fail. Failed seals cause differential oil to leak leading to axle wear, among other issues. Oil leak also spreads all over breaks leading to possible break failure. My axles were replaced in 2012 (along with breaks due to oil damage), now I'm being told (2015) that axles need to be replaced again. I believe Nissan is aware of the problem but this part failure generates revenue, as the work is costly, and leads to the need for break replacement. There needs to be a recall.

- Quincy, MA, USA

problem #167

Jun 032015


  • 86,576 miles


Engine coolant is leaking into the transmission and vice versa

- Hampton, VA, USA

problem #166

Apr 302015

Frontier 6-cyl

  • 67,500 miles
My 2005 Nissan Frontier has cross contamination between the radiator and the transmission. Nissan new about this problem years ago. To fix the problem they extended the warranty out to 10 years. Now I need a new radiator and transmission. My cost 3000 dollars. I only had a month left before I was [xxx] out of luck. I have been driving for 35 years and have never had to replace a transmission that only had 67000 miles on it. Poor design and the consumer pays. They wanted to know if I was going to fix it. I told them I had 2 choices fix it or set it on fire. They gave me a strange look. I told them to repair it and I would but Toyota next time. Information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Bristol, CT, USA

problem #165

Apr 012015

Frontier 6-cyl

  • 85,000 miles
Due to a defect known by Nissan, the radiator coolant leaked into the transmission causing transmission failure. Nissan knew about the defect and did nothing to correct it. Instead they added an "extended warranty" that most people will not be able to take advantage of due to years/mileage limitations. I made it into the last bracket, where my co-pay for the repair is $3000 instead of the full $5800. The dealer did not research the warranty and tried to have me pay full price. I will never buy a Nissan again due to their decision not to take responsibility for a known defect.

- Vandergrift, PA, USA

problem #164

Mar 302015

Frontier 6-cyl

  • 130,000 miles
Radiator leaked into transmission and both need to be replaced. This is an ongoing problem (class action and many other complaints) for Nissan and they refuse to be accountable. Bought used from Nissan dealer and issue was never mentioned even thought they have serviced several cars with same problem.

- Pawleys Island, SC, USA

problem #163

Mar 182015


  • 132,715 miles
Vehicle wouldn't shift into a high gear. This after hesitation, stuttering, and other issues. Transmission cooler failure resulting in transmission failure and radiator failure. Common defect. Local Nissan dealers as well as Nissan Consumer Affairs department unwilling to fix or to "good will" a solution. 3700$ at a local licensed garage to fix.

- Tehachapi, CA, USA

problem #162

Mar 242015

Frontier 6-cyl

  • 84,326 miles
I own a 2005 Nissan Frontier. At about 84365 miles, the transmission started slipping badly. The mechanic said that my transmission cooler had ruptured inside the radiator and coolant had gotten inside the transmission. My transmission was basically destroyed and it cost over $5000 to fix it. After reading other articles about Nissan owners with similar experiences, I think this is outrageous and Nissan should be held accountable for these failures.

- Clarksville, TN, USA

problem #161

Jul 142014


  • 93,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Nissan Frontier. While driving approximately 50 mph, there was an abnormal noise coming from the vehicle. The vehicle failed to accelerate and the check engine warning light illuminated. The vehicle was taken to a dealer where it was diagnosed that the transmission, the torque converter, and the radiator needed to be replaced. The vehicle was repaired; however, the failure recurred. The vehicle was taken back to the dealer where it was diagnosed that the timing change needed to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The failure mileage was 93,000.

- Nacogdoches, TX, USA

problem #160

Mar 012014

Frontier 6-cyl

  • 100,000 miles
I only had a year since I purchased my used 2005 Nissan Frontier from a Nissan dealership and my transmission failed, with no warning whatsoever, one day I felt the gears where getting a little stiff every time I shifted and the next thing I know im at the shop, and im being told its going to be $4800 to fix my transmission, I am a single mother of two, still have a loan on this vehicle and had to scrap up money to buy an additional car because I cannot afford to fix it. Then I find out this is a know problem by Nissan and they refuse to help out the consumer and their lame warranty covers nothing because my car exceeds the 100K mile warranty... this blows, never buying Nissan again.

- Lafayette, CO, USA

problem #159

Feb 262015


  • 72,000 miles
Vehicle made a noise what sounded like driving over a rumble strip. It then failed to accelerate and I was forced into the breakdown lane on the highway. I had vehicle towed to shop and was informed of the radiator and transmission issue with these vehicles. Radiator fluid leaked into the transmission and now its junk. It will now cost me $3400 to replace the transmission and radiator. I can't believe there isn't a recall out for this issue. This is a complete disregard for consumer protection.

- Lowell, MA, USA

problem #158

Feb 272015


  • 103,000 miles
Transmission began to shudder at speeds 40-50 mph a few weeks ago, feels like going over shallow rumble strips. Did research online and found that the issue is coolant leaking into the transmission fluid.this has been a major issue with all 2005 Nissan Frontiers. My truck has 103, xxx miles. Outside the warranty now. Never new of this warranty and now I'm stuck paying thousands of dollars out of pocket for new transmission and radiator.

- Salem, OR, USA

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