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 5 of 10)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #117

Jun 012013

Frontier 6-cyl

  • 143,000 miles


I noticed as I was driving vehicle started to have shaking or vibrating/jerking ( at different speeds), it seems to hesitate when I increase speed. My technician thinks something is going on with transmission or torque converter. Concerned vehicle may break / stop running.

- La Grange, NC, USA

problem #116

Jan 232014


  • 91,250 miles
Transmission failure related to coolant leaking into the transmission from the radiator oil coolant assemble. Nissan will not cover the complete cost of this know defect.

- Taylors, SC, USA

problem #115

Dec 132010

Frontier 6-cyl

  • 95,000 miles
Transmission failure related to coolant from the radiator oil coolant assemble.

- Frazier Park, CA, USA

problem #114

Jan 172014

Frontier 6-cyl

  • 170,000 miles


The transmission started jerking very bad when it hit 1700 RPM range while driving, so I slowed down...scared. I went and had it checked only to find out it is very common with this truck - fluid in transmission caused from the trans fluid running through the radiator and the heat exchange leaks water into the trans fluid. This is a well documented problem I learned. The repair is not covered by Nissan and is a 5000 dollar repair at Nissan dealership, a total transmission and radiator replacement is needed.

- Jacksonville, FL, USA

problem #113

Jan 152014

Frontier 6-cyl

  • 112,191 miles
The radiator failed causing the the transmission fluid to get contaminated with coolant. This caused the transmission to fail resulting in a nearly $5,000 bill.

- Merriam , KS, USA

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problem #112

Jan 092012

Frontier 6-cyl

  • 90,000 miles
At 45mph the truck started jerking and I thought it was going to stall out. When I got it to my mechanic we found radiator coolant had contaminated the transmission fluid.

- Collinsville, AL, USA

problem #111

Dec 232013

Frontier 6-cyl

  • 118,500 miles


Exited side street onto frontage road, right turn, car shuddered and stopped moving. Transmission was erratic causing car to lurch forward at times and remain immovable at others. Fortunately oncoming traffic was able to stop and alleviate a possible T-bone scenario. Was able to limp car through light and into service station.

- Round Rock, TX, USA

problem #110

Oct 192013


  • 120,000 miles
2 months ago I had a leak in the radiator and I fixed it. Then after that I start having problem with the transmission. The speed does not change immediately and when it change you feel like some has pushed you from the back. And now the car does not drive anymore.

- Kennesaw, GA, USA

problem #109

Nov 092012

Frontier 6-cyl

  • 92,540 miles
The first week of November 2013 while driving at approximately 50-60 mph, I would intermittently experience shuddering vibrations like the ones you feel when you drive through those highway strips. I did not pay much attention to eat thinking it probably was a minor problem with the tires. 3rd week of November the truck started slipping. I went online to find out what causes the slip and there it was. Hundreds of not just 2005 Nissan Frontier owners but also xterra's and pathfinder owners from 2005-2010 having the same problem.internet searches came out that at a certain point in the life of the vehicle at average about 90-100T miles, radiator coolant mixes with the transmission fluid due a crack inside the radiator, and the transmission becomes contaminated and eventually fails. After finding out the symptoms of possible contamination I examined my truck's radiator and transmission and found out that indeed transmission oil and coolant had mixed. I immediately replaced the radiator and flushed the transmission thinking that this could still save the transmission. A week ago while at a stop, with the truck on drive and right foot on the brake pedal, I heard a big bang around the transmission area and felt a violent shake and then the truck jerked forward and I almost hit the car in front of me. I was able to bring the car home.I cannot use the truck now out of fear that the transmission will suddenly fail while I'm driving in the freeway and cause or be in an accident. Many owners have reported that when their transmissions failed, their vehicles suddenly lost power in the middle of the highway and almost got into an accident. I called Nissan customer service and I was told that this is a known problem with this vehicle and they have extended the radiator and transmission warranty to 100000 miles with a $3000 co-pay.

- Bordentown, NJ, USA

problem #108

Nov 302011

Frontier 6-cyl

  • 45,000 miles
Vehicle shifts up and down frequently and hard at 40 to 45 mph while in drive D.

- Haleiwa, HI, USA

problem #107

Nov 012013

Frontier 6-cyl

  • 99,453 miles


We where driving on the highway when the trucks engine started to make noises and losing speed. It didn't give any warning, and it completely stopped running. The mechanics diagnostic was " C/S transmission wont move and mil is on.vehicle needs a transmission and radiator due to an internal leak from the cooling system in to transmission" we took it to the Nissan Agency because of the warranty but they refused to respect the warranty even though I have I have two diagnostics from different mechanics explaining that I have that same problem, Nissan is not making its self responsible even though its trucks have a factory defect.

- Mckinney, TX, USA

problem #106

Nov 282013


  • 99,220 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Nissan Frontier. The contact stated that while driving approximately 55 mph, the vehicle came to a complete stop without warning. The vehicle was towed to an independent mechanic, who stated that he could not repair the issue. The mechanic diagnosed that there was transmission fluid mixing with the coolant. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was not made aware of the problem. The VIN was not available. The approximate failure mileage was 99,220.

- Selinsgrove, PA, USA

problem #105

Oct 112010

Frontier 6-cyl

  • 81,000 miles
Driving home from post office in August 2010 truck would not exceed 35 mph and started to shake intensely. I got it towed to the dealer who diagnosed $9500 to fix, I was over mileage by about 1500 miles so all out of pocket. I parked it immediately due to lack of funds, much due to a $565 payment for a $30K new truck for 5plus years. Nissan North America denied me any assistance, and was actually more rude than the have the least bit of empathy while I was told I did reach the top person who was the final say. Many months passed and I replaced the radiator and other things, so it appeared as I saved the trans from harm by parking it but now at 98000 miles the service engine light is on coding an at brake issue while the tranny is getting jumpy and sluggish again. Quick search returns a big expense and cross contamination most likely did occur and can end up costing me well over $40000 in the long run for a midsize truck that I have owned and took good care of since new and I cant even get rid of it now except for losing even more money...very unhappy as an owner of 4 Nissan in my time I really expected a quality product, now I worry about when it could go, as I was recently laid off I don't have the money for repairs or another car.

- Wampsville, NY, USA

problem #104

Nov 012013


  • 197,720 miles
Driving down the road at 50 and suddenly as im going up a hill the truck bucks like its running out of gas and then suddenly I lose all forward power no symptoms previously just up and stopped the engines still running but not power come to find out its a transmission failure from what my tech said its a very common problem with certain 2005 and newer Nissan models said the radiator transmission and transmission controller atm may need to be replaced. I would of never bought this truck if I new about this horrendous oversight in the manufacture of these vehicles and of Nissan continued lack of attention to this common and very painful problem.

- Prague, OK, USA

problem #103

Oct 282013

Frontier 6-cyl

  • 145,000 miles
The transmission failed caused by a ruptured seal in the radiator.

- Payson, UT, USA

problem #102

Dec 312012


  • 92,000 miles
I was going to yuma AZ, when all of the sudent the car started to loose speed whike the rmp was going crazy, we almost got hit by a hugh commercial truck, since then I have had a lots of problems with the trans, right now I have to buy the valve body!

- Calexico, CA, USA

problem #101

Aug 062013

Frontier 6-cyl

  • 120,000 miles
Radiator ruptured and coolant leaked into transmission causing transmission problems and had to be fixed. Transmission performance declined and then could not drive vehicle.

- Clermont, FL, USA

problem #100

Jul 062011

Frontier 6-cyl

  • 96,000 miles
When the car had about 60 thousand miles I went to the dealership because I felt like there was something wrong in the way car started to drive. I asked for paper work of the inspection but was not provided instead got the estimate of things that were not important at that time had noting to do with the issue I was having with the car. After a while I had to use that vehicle my only car, it start slipping on the gears. Car had about 98 thousand on it!! and little after that transmission went!! I have taken the car to norwich dealership for answers. When they have told me is not covered by my warranty because car had at that time over a 100,000 miles (103,000 miles). I bought the car from Nissan dealership car was display model and had 7 thousand miles on it when I got it. Dealership stated that's a new car and this 7 thousand miles wont count to the warranty major selling point price was lower!!! when I told them about it they said its over the warranty and they cant do anything unless I pay my self. I have received a letter from Nissan about class action unfortunately it doesn't help me because my car has more that 100 thousand miles. So I have a car which has been paid of and it just sits on the driveway because its broke and I don't have $3000 to just go and fix it and I don't think I should since they new what was the problem since the beginning!!!

- Norwich, CT, USA

problem #99

Sep 182013


  • 142,490 miles
After accelerating up to 50mph I let up off of the gas and then the transmission kicked in again and caused me to go lunge forward. I thought that I had been rear ended but there was no one behind me and obviously no damage to my vehicle. It felt as if I had a standard and had revved up the engine and popped the clutch. This is very unsafe especially if I had been an inexperienced driver. Nissan had a class action lawsuit out for this but it only covered up to 100,000 miles, although they knew about this being a manufacturer's defect. I took this to the Nissan dealer and had to pay them $119 to diagnose the problem and tell me that it would cost me $5600 plus tax. I don't have this to pay on a manufacturer's defect that causes a safety hazard. I hope no one is killed before Nissan is made to fix this problem.

- Fayetteville , NC, USA

problem #98

Jun 122013

Frontier 6-cyl

  • 102,000 miles
After buying the truck from a dealership, I was driving home. I got about 5 miles from the dealership when the vehicle started shaking. I took it to a Nissan dealership to who confirmed what I was afraid of. There was coolant in the transmission fluid. We submitted it to the warranty company that I had purchased a warranty from when I bought the truck only to find out that since the transmission failure was due to an uncovered part(oil cooler) they would not honor the warranty. After doing more research on the problem and seeing as many claims of this issue how has Nissan not recalled the transmission? it is obvious that this normally does not normally happen until after the extended warranty ends. Like everyone else I am looking at a $6000+ repair bill, and until I can come up with that money I have to look outside at my $12,000 lawn ornament...

- Franklin, WV, USA

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