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 3 of 10)

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problem #157

Feb 162015


  • 155,000 miles


Driving along at 65 miles per hour seemed like transmission went into neutral and engine revved up. Rolled to side of road. Truck would no longer move. Had truck towed to garage where they informed me that the transmission had coolant in it and had wiped it out. To replace trans and radiator was 5300 dollars.

- Springfield, OH, USA

problem #156

Jan 152015

Frontier 6-cyl

  • 113,500 miles
Transmission began to shudder when in overdrive and at speeds 40-50 mph. Shuddering gradually grew worse and worse. Occasional clank sound when shifting from reverse to forward. Diagnosed at dealer as ruptured heat exchanger in radiator which allowed coolant to enter and contaminate the transmission.

- Alexandria, LA, USA

problem #155

Dec 172014


  • 120,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Nissan Frontier. While driving approximately 40 mph, there was water leaking into the transmission. The vehicle was towed to an independent mechanic where it was diagnosed that the transmission and the radiator needed to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was not made aware of the failure. The failure mileage was 120,000.

- Fort St Lucie, FL, USA

problem #154

Feb 072015

Frontier 6-cyl

  • 144,000 miles


I was driving my truck notice the service engine light had came on and while driving the accelrationwas very weak.I had the code check and it came back as tcm and valve body problem and came home and researched to be a common problem with this truck type.

- Albemarle, NC, USA

problem #153

Jan 052015

Frontier 6-cyl

  • 134,000 miles
I was driving on the highway and my truck shutters like going over shallow rumble strips for about 3 weeks. I realized it was my transmission and searched on transmission issues with my truck and found the big one (coolant leaking into the transmission fluid). I immediately flushed the coolant and the transmission fluid, performed the at cooler bypass operation and refilled. I'm now saying my prayers, taking my vitamins, and exercising hoping for the best.

- Sand Springs, OK, USA

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problem #152

Jan 202015

Frontier 6-cyl

  • 96,000 miles
Vehicle shudders bad in 5th gear clunking in and out of gear, and unable to maintain speed on highway. Hard up shifts from gears 1 to 2 and 2 to 3. hard down shift clunk from gear 2 to 1. coolant leaked into transmission fluid causing catastrophic failure of transmission and new radiator needed as well.

- Meridian, ID, USA

problem #151

Nov 142014

Frontier 6-cyl

  • 89,570 miles


While driving at speeds of approximately 40 mph the truck made a sound as though it was driving over rumble strips and it feels as though the transmission is slipping or about to fail. This will last 5 to 10 seconds and then it will seem normal, and then after a short while the sound and slippage will again occur. I am concerned that the transmission is experiencing the problem which has plagued other 2005-2010 Nissan models where transmission fluid becomes contaminated with antifreeze from cracks which develop in the transmission cooling line where it passes thru the radiator. I have called Nissan to report this. It was assigned case #[xxx]. information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Caldwell, WV, USA

problem #150

Jun 062014

Frontier 6-cyl

  • 121,000 miles
2nd time a solenoid went out resulting in all loss of power and power staring was unmanageable, unable to restart vehicle. Another $1500 fix.

- Boise, ID, USA

problem #149

Oct 012010

Frontier 6-cyl

  • 78,000 miles
Clutch break band solenoid failed. Lost all power to my vehicle and would not start again. $1000 for the part $400 for the labor $100 for transmission fluid.

- Boise, ID, USA

problem #148

Mar 012013

Frontier 6-cyl

  • 117,000 miles
Transmission cooler line failure, causing cross contamination from the radiator to the transmission. Contacted Nissan, through phone and certified letters to the president of Nissan. Nissan would not except any responsibility. My vehicle was non drivable for 6 months due to the cost of repairs.

- Boise, ID, USA

problem #147

Dec 202013

Frontier 6-cyl

  • 102,000 miles


Apparently a known issue with the radiator leaking into the transmission - causing an $3000 repair to a vehicle that was well-maintained. The transmission started slipping and after diagnostics was told by the mechanic this was an issue that Nissan knew about and never did anything about. Spent $3000 of my money to fix something that should have been prevented and fixed by the manufacturer. I liked Nissan, but after this; I may not buy anymore. Have documentation to prove the issue.

- Clemmons, NC, USA

problem #146

Aug 272013

Frontier 6-cyl

  • 72,469 miles
Trans fluid leaked into radiator.

- Zionsville, PA, USA

problem #145

Sep 012014

Frontier 6-cyl

  • 150,000 miles
At oil cooler internal component of the radiator failed causing transmission fluid to go in to the radiator and coolant to go in to the transmission. Destroying.

- Bellevue , KY, USA

problem #144

Mar 012014

Frontier 6-cyl

  • 116,000 miles
The transmission cooler line leaks coolant into the transmission causing a failure. Nissan has known of this problem for many years and has not notified owners of the need to replace the radiator.

- Knoxville, TN, USA

problem #143

May 082014

Frontier 6-cyl

  • 76,183 miles
Transmission demora en aplicar, esta vaga, no desarrolla velocidad SE encontro que la guagua mezcla aceite de transmission Y coolant en la barilla de aceite Y en el radiador. SE llevo al dealer Y SE nos notifico que era un desperfecto de la guagua Y tuvimos que pagar $3,287.88 ya que la guagua tiene 9 anos Y la garantia era 80,000 millas O 8 anos lo que surgiera primero. Entiendo que no ES justo ya que no ES nuestra culpa del desperfecto que tiene la guagua.

- Bayamon, PR, USA

problem #142

Aug 142014

Frontier 6-cyl

  • 999,978 miles
I purchased a used 2005 Nissan Frontier SE crew cab with 86,000 miles for $13,300 November 29th 2013. No warning or indication that this vehicle was part of a class action lawsuit over the radiator cooled transmission problems. There was no indication that this vehicle may exhibit symptoms that seem unrelated. On August 6th 2014 at 99,978 miles I took my truck into a ase certified mechanic to check out the transmission because of shuddering while shifting. They ran a diagnostic, checked the fluids, and sensors. At that time they assessed it was a dirty sensor and sent me on my way, and followed up after a few days. The vehicle was still having the same issues and I brought it back in. Upon further inspection of the transmission oil there was a significant amount of radiator fluid in there and the problem was identified. The current mileage is now 100,600 miles. I then made a claim to Nissan Consumer Affairs department regarding the issue. At this time I now found about the class action lawsuit settlement and the extended warranty. Free up to 70K or 80K and a co-pay after. I was never informed of this until now. Tuesday August 19th I was informed that Nissan was not responsible for divulging any of this information to me and that they would not cover even the co-pay. It is August 20th and my truck is currently at the ase certified mechanic awaiting the parts to come in to replace my transmission and radiator for $5,100 which is much less than the Nissan quote of $6,700. I now have a truck purchased 9 months ago with a $5,100 mechanic bill. I have 28 $400 payments to make for the truck in addition to replacing the poorly manufactured transmission and radiator.

- Rochester, MN, USA

problem #141

Jul 312014

Frontier 6-cyl

  • 102,000 miles
On my truck I experienced a sudden loss in power and throttle response while driving without warning, as the transmission failed to shift gears properly. After spending $100 for a diagnostic from a mechanic it was found that my transmission cooler reservoir is leaking in my radiator and caused cross contamination between my antifreeze and atf. The antifreeze is getting into my transmission and boiling once the transmission reaches operating temperatures. The antifreeze vapor is then causing the transmission clutches and bands to not be able to engage correctly, and therefore not being able to shift up and down through the gears properly. I just about got hit trying to turn left out onto the road in front of cross traffic. I avoided an accident, but this happened with no warning. This fix is going to cost me anywhere from $500 to $5,000 to fix depending on the extent of the damage the antifreeze in my transmission caused. I just read that a few years ago Nissan extended the warranty due to this, and I am past that point, but this is still unacceptable at only 102,000 miles. Nissan should have recalled this and fixed it when it was just a couple hundred dollars for a new radiator years ago. Lastly, my truck without issues was worth nearly $8K in its condition, now Iżżll have trouble getting a dealer to pay anything in trade-in value if I choose to not fix the truck.

- Toledo, OH, USA

problem #140

Jul 212014

Frontier 6-cyl

  • 120,000 miles
My transmission on my 2005 Nissan Frontier completely failed and left me stranded on the interstate highway. After towing it and a little research I found out that this was a problem that Nissan was well aware of and neglected to notify me or do anything about. The transmission cooler had cracked leaking engine coolant into the transmission. I learned that they extended the warranty to 90,000 miles with a $3000 dollar deductible which is laughable, considering that this was a problem that is going to cost about that to fix on my own. Nissan states on their website that they extended the warranty for customer satisfaction, in reality they got sued and that was the settlement. Nissan should have recalled these trucks years ago like a morally responsible company would have and I would not have to be running up credit card debt to fix it now.

- Arlington, TN, USA

problem #139

Jul 202014

Frontier 6-cyl

  • 177 miles
If transmission in these trucks are not fixed then someone is going to have an accident due to it. I am lucky I didn't have one thank god for that we are safe. Radiator leak cause failure in transmission radiator was fixed a year ago and was still have some issues with it but was told they think it is normal to feel it slip gears when driving. I trusted them and lost my torque converter while driving on the highway going 100km an hour and had no pickup speed from it. Nissan told me as long as light is not on don't worry about it. While light didn't come on until I had no gears at all. I am not happy about risking my life my husbands life and the life of 2 small kids. One day if Nissan don't take fault for this someone is not going to be so lucky and get hit by another car before they can drifted to safety.

- Caledon, Ontario L7c2k5, MI, USA

problem #138

Jun 292014

Frontier 6-cyl

  • 103,677 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Nissan Frontier. The contact stated that while the vehicle being serviced, the independent mechanic advised that the radiator fluid had leaked into the transmission. The mechanic replaced the radiator and flushed the transmission however, the engine warning light remained illuminated after the repairs. The vehicle was taken back to an independent mechanic for a diagnostic testing, who stated that the transmission needed to be replaced. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 103,677. Updated 9/8/14 the consumer requested to be reimbursed for the transmission. Updated 1/13/2015

- Waterbury, CT, USA

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