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 8 of 10)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #57

Feb 272013

Frontier 6-cyl

  • 111,488 miles


Radiator leaked into the transmission. We had to replace transmission. Nissan would not stand behind anything since it happened at 111K miles rather than under 100K.

- Alpharetta , GA, USA

problem #56

Mar 102013

Frontier 6-cyl

  • 106,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Nissan Frontier. The contact stated that while driving 20 mph, he attempted to accelerate but the vehicle failed to respond. The contact mentioned that there was an increase in engine rpms and the maintenance required warning message illuminated. The vehicle was taken to an independent mechanic, who diagnosed that the transmission needed to be replaced. The manufacturer was not made aware of the failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure and current mileage was 106,000.

- Lawrenceville, GA, USA

problem #55

Aug 102012


  • 123,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Nissan Frontier. The contact stated that while driving 60 mph, the vehicle stalled without warning. The vehicle was towed to a dealer for diagnosis and the contact was informed that radiator fluid had leaked into the transmission. She was also informed that the radiator and the transmission would both need to be replaced. The manufacturer was contacted and offered no assistance. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure and current mileage was 123,000.

- Albuquerque, NM, USA

problem #54

Jan 092013

Frontier 6-cyl

  • 150,000 miles


My vehicle has developed a vibration while I am driving which has been very uncomfortable, however, nothing major in the performance of the vehicle, however, now my vehicle has decided to randomly turn off while driving. This is extremely dangerous and could cause an accident. I took it to the Nissan dealership and they said that they found trans fluid mixing with coolant due to leaking trans cooler in radiator and the total cost would come out to $5,000. I am unable to afford this bill so I have not been able to repair my vehicle.

- Orlando, FL, USA

problem #53

Feb 052013


  • 130,000 miles
I was in the turning lane, needing to cross the intersection, light turned got a flashing yellow light, pressed gas and heard a big bang, then the truck was just stopped in the middle of the lanes with cars approaching. Luckily the approaching drivers were aware of my presence and no vehicles hit us. When it was ok to move the truck, myself and 2 other drivers helped push it clear. After examining the vehicle I noticed mustard yellow substance in the radiator overfill and one of the guys that help push looked at the transmission fluid to find a strawberry milkshake color fluid in there. After being examined by a mechanic it was determined the radiator was leaking fluid into the transmission. The Nissan dealer said the truck doesn't fall into any warranty, so it will cost me 7000 to needless to say this situation could have been extremely dangerous to me, my family and to the other drivers if they hadn't been paying attention. It's sad to say that Nissan is letting this happen to its drivers, over a 100 dollar radiator costing us thousands of dollars to fix and how long before someone is killed.

- Lexington, NC, USA

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problem #52

Sep 152012


  • 110,000 miles
My vehicle began jolting at highway speeds due to the transmission slipping gears. I had fears that my trucks gear would lock up on the hwy so I took it to the shop. This occurs nearly every time I take the vehicle on the highway. Just found out from my mechanic that it is common in these trucks to have coolant leak into the transmission and destroy it. Appears to be the issue with my truck.

- Manistee, MI, USA

problem #51

Aug 302010

Frontier 6-cyl

  • 85,302 miles


At about 85,000 miles on the truck, while cruising at around 40 mph the gears dropped and stuttered. I brought it to the dealership and they documented my concern and the incident. They did a diagnostic and only came up with a fuel gauge malfunction and replace it for $475. At 90,000 miles I described the same concern, which they documented, at a lower mph and they flushed/replaced trans and radiator fluid and replaced the radiator itself for $1600. I am now being told that the entire transmission needs to be replaced for approximately $6000. Nissan has to do something about this, it stands to reason that the cause of the transmission malfunction is due to coolant getting into a lubricant.

- Litchfield , CT, USA

problem #50

Nov 092011

Frontier 6-cyl

  • 60,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Nissan Frontier. The contact was driving approximately 30 mph when the transmission began to slip gears with hesitation. The failure recurred whenever the vehicle was in operation. The vehicle was taken to an authorized dealer and an independent mechanic for diagnosis, in which both advised the contact that the transmission would need to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the defect. Updated 04/24/13 the consumer was informed the radiator was the cause of the problems with the transmission. Updated 06/13/13

- Norwich, CT, USA

problem #49

Feb 092013

Frontier 6-cyl

  • 110,000 miles
While traveling on the #1 lane at approximately 70mph on the 60 East freeway close to the intersection of the 57 North freeway connector, I lost full power and was forced to make an emergency exit narrowly missing several trucks and cars in the process. After limping home and letting the vehicle sit for a few days, I took the truck to puente hills Nissan complaining that I lose power once the transmission comes to temperature and that I needed them to asses the damage at a cost to me of $130. Their evaluation eventually concluded that the radiator had ruptured causing coolant to leak into the transmission thereby damaging it beyond repair. They quoted me approximately $4,500 for the repair which mainly included labor, tax, a replacement transmission, a new radiator, and all necessary hoses and parts. I was able to drive the vehicle but approximately 1.5 miles from my home, I lost power once again and was forced to have the vehicle towed the rest of the way. The vehicle is no longer safe to drive at all at this point.

- Diamond Bar, CA, USA

problem #48

Jan 202013


  • 101,500 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Nissan Frontier. The contact stated that while driving, the vehicle suddenly lost acceleration power. The contact had the vehicle towed to a mechanic and was informed that radiator coolant leaked into the transmission and caused the failure. The failure and current mileages were 101,500. Mah

- Flowery Branch, GA, USA

problem #47

Jan 212013


  • 112,001 miles


While traveling in rush hour traffic my 2005 Nissan Frontier started to loss power and I was almost hit by 3 other vehicles when the truck stopped moving in the traffic. I had it towed to reliable mechanic and was notified by him that there was radiator fluid in the transmission and that this has become a growing issues with Nissan between 2005-2010 model pathfinders, xterras, and Frontiers. This is the third Nissan Frontier I have owned and I sing the praises of Nissan to everyone I know, I am shocked to see how many complaints have been filed and still Nissan acts irresponsible and refuses to recall this issue it is a $3800 repair and Nissan knows it is rampant in these models. I am very disappointed in Nissan this is no way to treat their loyal following makes more sense putting the $3800 towards a new Toyota pickup.

- St Petersburg, FL, USA

problem #46

Jul 212012


  • miles
My 2005 Nissan Frontier has had the transmission/radiator problems that are numerously evident from doing my research. It is in the shop at the present time. The minimum repair cost at this time is $3000. If certain other parts are needed to be replaced it could be quite a bit higher.

- Arab, AL, USA

problem #45

Jan 182013

Frontier 6-cyl

  • 88,000 miles
While just merging onto the brooklyn queens expressway in brooklyn at aprox 50 mph with no previous warning signs to any vehicle problem the transmission went out of gear almost causing a rear end collision. Had to put hazards on and coast across 3 lanes since it was a left lane merge. Vehicle slowed to aprox 20 mph when transmission began to catch again and was able to exit bqe to a safe location. Brought to dealership and was diagnosed with anti freeze mixing with transmission fluid which is a well known problem now with Nissan. It could of all been avoided if radiator was recalled by Nissan prior.

- Staten Island, NY, USA

problem #44

Jan 192013

Frontier 6-cyl

  • 101,570 miles
When I was driving down the road and at about 45 to 50 mph, my transmission went out leaving the truck powerless and not being able to make it to a safe place to pull over! I was stranded in the middle of the road, which was a death trap not only for myself but for my wife or daughter as well. I began checking the fluids and I discovered the transmission fluid was a burnt brown strawberry milk shake color. I was very confused about the color of my transmission fluid so I hopped on google to research problems with Frontiers transmission. I found list of complaints of the same issue I had just experienced. I immediately called the dealership in gainesville ga. I asked the tech if the truck had any recalls. The tech stated that there where 2 recalls. I asked him if there was any known problems with the radiator and transmission, and of course no was the response. I inquired about the issues I discovered. The tech then replied "well Nissan did extend there warranty on that problem". he told me to call Nissan N. America. The Nissan representative asked all the questions the dealership did and asked about the miles. I replied 101570. The rep. Stated he was sorry I was out of all extended warranty plans. I asked him just because I am 1500 miles over you guys cant help me" the representative replied that it was out of their extended warranty window, so he was sorry they can not assist me. Then he gave me a number to the radiator and transmission hot line. I replied to him by stating, wow this is that big of a problem that Nissan specifically has a hotline for the situation? the representative just hang up. I then called the 1877-208-9275 radiator and coolant assist line. They where closed because of martin luther king day. My argument is why has Nissan not made a recall about this safety issue"

- Flowery Branch, GA, USA

problem #43

Jan 072013

Frontier 6-cyl

  • 99,150 miles
Transmission and radiator/cooling system to be replaced due to contamination of transmission by radiator fluid. Routine maintenance performed regularly. At 98,000 miles began to experience sporadic vibration when driving, was diagnosed with above state issue. I use the truck to commute with my children everyday on the interstate, while I am thankful that the transmission has not stopped functioning, it has put us at greater risk than usual with a compromised transmission. To have both systems replaced, I have been given "an opportunity" to provide a "co-pay" of $3000. I paid Nissan once for a functional and reliable transmission and cooling system, I resent having to pay an additional $3000 for a design flaw made by Nissan. As a consumer, $3000 is the type of money used as a down payment for a new car, not what I expect to pay as "routine maintenance" on a vehicle with less than 100,000 miles on it. My payment would have been lower if mileage were lower. It is my understanding that the corrosion happens over time, I'm not sure how much time it takes, but I feel certain it was thousands of miles ago. If I had been made aware of the issue earlier, I could have addressed it, possibly with less damage to my vehicle, less safety/risk to my family, and certainly at less cost regarding the "copay" for me as the copay is based on mileage on the vehicle. The heater has never blown warm air when idling, which is one of the few early signs of this issue from what I understand. This indicates to me that problem has existed for most of the life of the truck.

- Nashville, TN, USA

problem #42

Jan 092013

Frontier 6-cyl

  • 98,000 miles
Discovery of an apparently known issue of failed radiator in this vehicle that contaminates the coolant and transmission fluid resulting in failed transmission requiring replacement of it as well as the radiators. Surprised and extremely disappointed to find this issue happening to my vehicle which I purchased new from this dealer and loyally had the vehicle serviced and maintained at the same place of purchase. This apparently is a known issue and yet my vehicle was never checked for this problem at any of my maintenance intervals by the service department. The initial revealing of the problem was presented to me at full price of the repair. After expressing my disappointment in the findings and the quality of the vehicle to the service department I received a call back stating that I could call the customer care and have the repair performed with a co-pay of $3000 of the $6400 quoted repair. Still unhappy about what I was facing for a vehicle that had not yet reached 100K miles, I was left with no option but to call and go with the offer of partial payment. This is the second major repair I have had to have, first being replacement of timing chain at approximately 80K miles at a cost of $1500.

- Greer, SC, USA

problem #41

Dec 242012

Frontier 6-cyl

  • 121,000 miles
Coolant leaked into transmission fluid and destroyed transmission.

- Sacramento, CA, USA

problem #40

Dec 142012

Frontier 6-cyl

  • 94,200 miles
Suddenly my truck appeared to have no power; could not accelerate up to traffic speed or effectively get across an intersection. It was scary and dangerous as this could have easily caused an accident. The "service engine soon" light came on and I promptly took my 2005 Nissan Frontier nismo V6 to my local Nissan dealer for service. I had just had the full 90K mile service with radiator flush and no issues where reported to me. So I was shocked when they told me that it needed to have both the radiator and transmission replaced due to "fluids mixing". antifreeze and water from the radiator had leaked into the transmission and destroyed it. And I was further shocked and angry that it would cost me $3K even after Nissan's "extended warranty". (I don't have this kind of money lying around to dump into my 7+ year old truck, that I had bought new in '05.) this is a catastrophic defect in the design - known by the manufacturer and should be made right by the manufacturer. I've found that there are hundreds of complaints about this same issue across the internet for other 2005-2010 Frontiers, pathfinders and xterras. Nissan needs to do their consumers right, or risk loosing loyalty. Up until now, I've been really happy with my truck, my service dealer and Nissan, but now I'll be looking at other brands that back their products and consumers better.

- Simpsonville, SC, USA

problem #39

Dec 172012

Frontier 6-cyl

  • 11,600 miles
I purchased my 2005 Nissan Frontier at approx. 95K in February. The test drives were fine, the car sounded and drove perfectly fine for a few months. It recently began to start shifting roughly. The Nissan dealership I purchased the car from did something to cover up the issue which was obviously why they were trying to sell it before 100K and I got burned on it. I purchased the truck from marietta, ga at team Nissan. I didn't get it checked until now, but have since discovered the numerous complaints of a recall related to radiator antifreeze leaking into the transmission and causing failure of both. This is a safety issue and it really does baffle me that a whole generation of Nissan vehicles from 2005-2010 have this issue and that it could caused some accidents due to high speed transmission failure. I see this as being a safety issue on the same scale as the Toyota issues of a few years back. To have this be a limited warranty recall is disgraceful. You can believe Nissan knows exactly when these incidents are likely to occur so they extended their coverage up to that point and they fail thereafter. Not to mention that the current recall does not seem to include issues it causes to the transmission. My truck as you can see is out of the extended warranty for the radiator and was when I purchased it.

- Montgomery, AL, USA

problem #38

Dec 092012


  • 139,000 miles
My 2005 Nissan Frontier began shifting hard noticeably. I took it to a trusted mechanic to evaluate the cause and learned that there is contamination in the transmission fluid. Coolant from the radiator has leaked into the transmission body, resulting in contamination and corrosion. At this time the transmission still functions, but will not continue to do so for long. This issue requires the replacement of both the radiator and the transmission with an estimated cost of $3,800.

- Graniteville, SC, USA

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