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 7 of 10)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #77

May 052013


  • 89,047 miles


The contact owns a 2005 Nissan Frontier. The contact observed an oil leave in the driveway. The vehicle was taken to the dealer for diagnostics, who stated that coolant fluid was leaking and the transmission fluid was mixing with the coolant fluid. The vehicle was repaired by replacing the radiator and the transmission assembly. The failure was not reported to the manufacturer. The failure and current mileage was 89,047.

- Waimanalo, HI, USA

problem #76

May 172013


  • 116,000 miles
Engine warning light came on, shudders at 40mph, transmission shifting erratic. Took into Nissan service center who told us that coolant had leaked into transmission from a faulty radiator and it would cost $5500 to replace transmission as we were out of warranty. Nissan knows about this problem.

- Forest Grove, OR, USA

problem #75

Jan 232013

Frontier 6-cyl

  • 147,000 miles
The 2005 Nissan Frontier nismo 4X4 that I was driving started slipping and missing causing my engine to shut down while driving. The engine became very jumpy and could not be controlled. Had there been other people on the road, there could have been a very serious accident.

- Somerset , KY, USA

problem #74

Jan 162013

Frontier 6-cyl

  • 92,861 miles


My 2005 Nissan Frontier has a problem with the radiator that allows coolant to enter the transmission which is causing major damage to the interior parts of the transmission causing it to not shift through the gears. Nissan is only willing to extend the warranty to 100,000 miles and $3000 for the repairs of their defective products.

- Riverview, FL, USA

problem #73

Apr 012013

Frontier 6-cyl

  • 105,000 miles
My truck began displaying symptoms of catastrophic transmission failure. For example, gear slippage and shuddering as if rolling over rumble strips. I took it to a mechanic and they found the coolant had transformed into a thick pink substance. It was determined that a seal had failed in the radiator causing coolant to mix with the transmission fluid. This then baked inside the transmission. We replaced the radiator and so far have delayed the inevitable replacement of the transmission. I called local Nissan dealerships and they know about the problem but declined to offer significant information. I contacted Nissan and because of language barriers, etc., they would not address my issue. I contacted the BBB and a Nissan representative eventually called me, but in the end disregarded my issues with mock concern. I contacted the mn attorney general and they said I might take them to small claims court. It seems that Nissan has concocted a warranty that only benefits people who experience the problem at a very premature stage.

- Minneapolis, MN, USA

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problem #72

Dec 012012


  • 110,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Nissan Frontier. The contact stated that while driving various speeds, the transmission slipped gears. The vehicle was taken to a private mechanic where it was determined that transmission fluid was leaking. The vehicle was repaired but the failure recurred. The manufacturer was not contacted about the failure. The failure mileage was 110,000.

- Tampa, FL, USA

problem #71

Apr 082013

Frontier 6-cyl

  • 95,000 miles


Transmission failing sounds and feels like driving over rumble strips. Also noticed cabin heater does not work when at a stop. Signs indicative of radiator/transmission seal failure and radiator coolant in transmission.

- Baltimore, MD, USA

problem #70

Aug 262011

Frontier 6-cyl

  • 97,400 miles
I noticed at driving speeds of around 45 mph the truck would shake very bad. Also my heater would only blow cold air. When I took the truck in they said the transmission fluid looked like a strawberry milkshake. $6000 later and looking online seeing all the other people that have had the same issues I am trying to figure out why Nissan is not being held responsible?

- Spokane Valley, WA, USA

problem #69

Apr 012013

Frontier 6-cyl

  • 123,000 miles
While traveling at highway speeds my 2005 Frontier began shuddering and then lost power which could have resulted in a rear end collision. An independent service technician determined that the transmission fluid is contaminated. It appears Nissan has been long aware of this issue, with the numerous complaints across the board from the 2005 - 2010 Frontiers, pathfinders and xterras Nissan should be responsible for the replacement of the radiator and transmission. This is a catastrophic defect in design known to Nissan and should be made right by Nissan to protect the safety of the customer.

- Pennsburg, PA, USA

problem #68

Jun 012010

Frontier 6-cyl

  • 75,000 miles
Loud clanking sounds coming from under vehicle; my mechanic says its the transmission, again; eight year old vehicle, going on its 3rd transmission... I paid $1,500 for the last one (2010)... why do these keep going bad? please help.

- Medford, NY, USA

problem #67

Apr 122013

Frontier 6-cyl

  • miles


Transmission atf is contaminated with coolant cause transmission to deteriorate. Transmission rattles at speeds over 45 miles per hour when shifting into and out of overdrive. Becoming noticeably more jerky over time in lower gears. Heat does not work while engine is idling and takes a long time to warm up while moving. Cold air blowing across windshield on cold days has caused windshield to fog up from the inside making it difficult to see. Vehicle currently has under 113000 miles and Nissan dealership has given me an estimate of $5119.42 to replace the transmission/radiator assembly.

- Nottingham, NH, USA

problem #66

Apr 242013

Frontier 6-cyl

  • 138,880 miles
Found out today that my 2005 Nissan Frontier is affected by defective radiator that is causing coolant to mix in with the transmission fluid thus fatally damaging transmission. Understand that this a wide spread problem for this year and model Nissan. Radiator has to be replaced at a cost of $1400 that Nissan won't pay for because mileage is over 100,000 miles. I don't know yet if transmission is damaged. This is a defect that Nissan knows about and they should replace at no charge no matter what the mileage is. This is their problem, but unfortunately now its mine. Please help and issue a recall. Thank you.

- Warren, NJ, USA

problem #65

Apr 202013

Frontier 6-cyl

  • 105,150 miles
Just bought an 05' Nissan Frontier and upon getting onto a highway I sped up to 55-60mph to feel a vibration like going over speed bumps and a loss of power. It turns out that the intercooler from the radiator broke inside the transmission causing a leak of antifreeze inside the transmission. Which caused something in the transmission to breakdown. I am not very proficient in car repair so I am not sure the exact part this causes to malfunction inside the transmission. All I know is that I need a brand new transmission and radiator which is going to cause $6000 at least. I also know that this is a widespread thing and a lot of people are having this happen to 05-10 Nissan Frontiers, xterras and pathfinders. This seems like a safety issues; if I'm on a highway with my family and try to pass someone and experience a loss of power to speed up to pass them I could get in a head on collision.

- Sedalia, MO, USA

problem #64

Apr 112013

Frontier 6-cyl

  • 145,000 miles
The transmission seems lack it trying to lockup while driving at a speed of 45 miles per hour. It has got so bad that I have park the truck at home because the transmission may lock up while I am driving. And may cause someone to get killed.

- Hornsby, TN, USA

problem #63

Apr 092013


  • 280,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Nissan Frontier. The contact stated that the vehicle would not start. The vehicle was taken to dealer where it was determined that the transmission failed and needed to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure however, no assistance was provided. The VIN was unavailable. The failure and current mileage was 280,000.

- Manitowoc, WI, USA

problem #62

Apr 012013

Frontier 6-cyl

  • 82,000 miles
Experienced sudden jerking when traveling at highway speeds. The problem was diagnosed as a failed transmission cooler which allowed coolant to mix with the transmission fluid, causing internal damage to the radiator and transmission. Prior to this, there was nothing amiss with the operation of the vehicle. Apparently this is common and even though several complaints have been filed to NHTSA, Nissan still claims that there is no defect. Based on the number of complaints regarding the exact same issue, please consider issuing a recall. I just bought my truck in Dec. 2012 with about 81,000 miles and 4 months and 2,000 miles later, I am on the hook for this defect.

- Arlington, VA, USA

problem #61

Mar 272013

Frontier 6-cyl

  • 105,000 miles
The coolant is mixing with the transmission fluid. It's a known and widespread defect yet Nissan ignores it. We paid $14,000 for the truck less than a year ago, but Nissan has squeezed us out of any rebate because the truck is over 100,000 miles. Now we have to pay another $7,000 to fix it. That's wrong. They should fix it no matter how old.

- Minneapolis, MN, USA

problem #60

Mar 202013

Frontier 6-cyl

  • 91,000 miles
Coming home from work the truck started to overheat and the transmission started to skip. I had to turn on the heater to keep the truck from overheating and then the transmission started to engage and disengage. The problem is that the antifreeze is leaking in to the transmission. This is a known problem with Nissan, but they are not fixing the problem. I have three children that are in the truck with me. If that transmission breaks and can cause major problems. Nissan needs to replace the parts.

- Lugoff, SC, USA

problem #59

Mar 212013

Frontier 6-cyl

  • 102,235 miles
$6219.70 for a remanufactured transmission because I'm ~2000 miles out of their recently "extended" warranty. Transmission and radiator/cooling system were recommended to be replaced by Nissan today because of contamination of transmission fluid by a (known but not recalled) defective transmission cooler line. At approximately 98,000K the truck began to experience vibration with overdrive engaged. It felt like driving over rumble strips also, the truck had no heat when idling. I took it to a qualified local mechanic and had the radiator flushed. That corrected the heat issue. It was recommended to take the truck to a transmission shop to look at the issue. I drive the truck daily to/from work and travel with my 3 daughters to and from school. My next opportunity was about 6 weeks later and I took it to Nissan. There was a recent class action suit regarding this issue and "an extension was offered which would repair the issue for $3000. This covered cars up to 100K. Because Nissan did not diagnose this issue until I was at 102,200 miles, a low level call center denied the repair. Rather than drive the 10,000 miles per year that is apparently acceptable to Nissan, I drive roughly 12,750. That extra 35 miles per day makes it so that I have to pay an additional $3219.70 for something that I should be paying nothing for. The fix for the issue that destroyed my transmission is actually a roughly $500 repair or less than $100 for a diy'er. Nissan was aware of this issue and should have issued a recall before their "customers" transmissions started destroying themselves.

- Indianapolis, IN, USA

problem #58

Feb 082013


  • 74,494 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Nissan Frontier. The contact stated that while driving 35 mph, the vehicle stalled and the slip warning lamp illuminated. The contact mentioned that he was able to restart the vehicle immediately after the failure. The vehicle was taken to an independent mechanic. The technician diagnosed that the radiator coolant hose was leaking and the cam shaft position sensor was defective. As a result, both components were replaced however, the remedy failed to repair the problem. The vehicle was taken back to the independent mechanic, who stated that there was transmission fluid found in the radiator and due to the failure, the transmission and radiator needed to be replaced. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure and stated that they would cover a portion of the repair cost. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure and current mileage was 74,494.

- Columbus , IN, USA

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