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

Find something helpful? Spread the word.
Get notified about new defects, investigations, recalls & lawsuits for the 2005 Nissan Frontier:

Unsubscribe any time. We don't sell/share your email.

2005 Nissan Frontier Owner Comments (Page 1 of 10)

problem #197

Oct 252016

Frontier 6-cyl

  • 115,000 miles


Complaint re: Transmission failure with my 2005 Nissan Frontier. Is locked in 3rd gear in automatic transmission. Overdrive gear was gone due to coolant mixing with transmission fluid. Had replaced radiator & flushed transmission 3 months ago hoping to buy me some more miles before having to replace transmission. Didn't work. Told by Nissan that I was sol due to over 100,000 miles. ## VIN passed ## Nissan Frontier V6 4X4 2005 ##

- Roxboro, NC, USA

problem #196

Aug 142016


  • 50,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Nissan Frontier. The contact noticed smoke coming from the engine compartment. The contact pulled the vehicle into an empty parking lot and the smoke dissipated. The contact removed the key from the ignition and exited the vehicle. The vehicle was towed to an independent mechanic where it was diagnosed that the radiator fluid mixed with the transmission fluid. A remedy was not provided. The manufacturer was notified of the issue. The failure mileage was approximately 50,000. The VIN was not included.

- Meriden, CT, USA

problem #195

Aug 112016


  • 89,000 miles
While driving to work with out notice the transmission failed, and would not engage, leaving me with out controll of the pickup, while I was in motion, the engine raced but lost controll of the drive, which could have been serious. I found out after the fact, that Nissan had been in a class action law suite because of this problem, but only remedy the problem when you break down out of controll. I was told 3 months before I bought it, Nissan should have notified someone, and the dealer pushed it off till the 6 mon. Warranty ran out from haldeman Ford of allentown. The Nissan dealer at rothrock Nissan in allentown said it was a Nissan problem, but Nissan Corp refused to help because the pickup broke down a few months too late after a 10 year period of fixing this dangerous problem that could have been very serious..the transmission cooling lines at the radiator leek fluid back into the transmission and then width no warning fails to engage while you are driving.

- Lehighton, PA, USA

problem #194

Aug 012016


  • 81,000 miles


The contact owns a 2005 Nissan Frontier. The contact stated that the transmission slipped and the vehicle experienced abnormal vibration. Upon inspection, the contact noticed that the transmission fluid mixed with the radiator fluid. The vehicle was taken to the dealer where it was confirmed that the transmission fluid mixed with the radiator fluid and stated that the transmission needed to be replaced. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The failure occurred without warning. The failure mileage was 81,000.

- Sindey, KY, USA

problem #193

Aug 162016


  • 159,000 miles
Transmission failure due to radiator leaking coolant into transmission fluid.I replaced the radiator a year prior to prevent this problem from happening at the strong recommendation of the dealerships service department and still the problem occurred.

- Rices Landing, PA, USA

Search for these popular complaint phrases...

problem #192

Apr 232016


  • miles
Radiator of 2005 Nissan Frontier allowed transmission fluid and engine coolant to mix. 1st I had to purchase a new radiator and now I am having to have the transmission rebuilt. There should be a recall on this type of muliple failures which cause multible problems. Paid $$$$ for radiator repair now $4300 for transmisson at my expense. I would not be interested in purchasing another Nissan.

- Campobello, SC, USA

problem #191

Aug 012016


  • miles


2005 Nissan Frontier. Consumer writes in regards to engineering issues with cross contamination fluids between radiator and transmission.

- Melbourne, FL, USA

problem #190

Jun 012016


  • 120,000 miles
Transmission oil leaking into coolant system and coolant leaking into transmission.

- Kelseyville, CA, USA

problem #189

Jun 152016


  • 112,000 miles
Radiator leaking fluid into transmission. Notices slight shutter at high speed, approximately 65 mph, in the transmission. Vehicle was checked by dealer at 89,000 miles without any issue at that time. Dealer would not replace radiator due to no problem at that time. Vehicle is at 112000 and now radiator fails. Nissan would not cover due to out of extended warranty. Faulty designed system and potential safety hazard in my opinion. Vehicle at my independent mechanic for new radiator and transmission flush out to see if it will fix problem. Major expense for poor design passed onto customer. I will not spend any more money with Nissan.

- Lexington, NC, USA

problem #188

May 312016


  • miles
Design defect in radiator of 2005 Nissan Frontier allowed transmission fluid and engine coolant to mix. Resulted in catastrophic failure of transmission. Dealer stated since vehicle has more than 100,000 miles, the $4 - 5,000 expense is mine. Last Nissan we'll ever buy after 40 years of ownership.

- Mahomet, IL, USA

problem #187

May 202016


  • 75,000 miles


The contact owns a 2005 Nissan Frontier. While driving approximately 35 mph, the vehicle stalled when the contact attempted to slow down. The vehicle started normally after a few minutes. The failure recurred four times. The manufacturer was not notified of the failures. The vehicle was taken to an independent mechanic who diagnosed that there was an electrical short in the fuse box. The transmission and radiator needed to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The approximate failure mileage was 75,000.

- Chatsworth, CA, USA

problem #186

May 152016


  • 103,000 miles
Radiator leaked fluid into the transmission... broke down on highway at 103,000 miles.... well known and documented problem with this year and model

- Middletown, NY, USA

problem #185

Apr 022016


  • miles
Transmission started to shudder at around 45 miles an hour. Drove the vehicle home and parked it in the driveway. Went out to start vehicle next day and it would not crank. Had vehicle towed to dealership and had it diagnosed and found out that the radiator had an internal rupture which caused antifreeze to contaminate the transmission fluid causing the tcm module to fail along with damage to internal parts. The repair is estimated at about $5300. Since the problem was diagnosed, I learned that Nissan has known about the problem for years but no notification was sent to me warning me of the problem. Despite Nissan knowledge of the problem, the company has recently refused to cover the cost of the repair.

- Indianapolis, IN, USA

problem #184

Apr 122016


  • miles
Timing chain on 2005 Nissan Frontier. The engine makes a loud whining noise due to the chain contact. When the vehicle is stationary or motion it make the noise. When the vehicle in motion it changes gears at a higher RPM. I have sensors that were operable because of the timing chain issue.

- Gibsonton, FL, USA

problem #183

Feb 132016


  • 102,000 miles
In 2013 I received a notice of class action about a Nissan vehicles related to possible radiator fluid leak into the transmission due a defect that permits cross-contamination of engine coolant and transmission fluid. It did not include vehicles before it happens. In 2013, I went to a authorized Nissan dealer to check if my radiator can be affected but they told me that in that moment the radiator was working well without given me the option of replacing it to prevent damages. At the time I was under the warranty limits, less than 10 years and less than 100,000 miles. Now in February 13, 2016 my vehicle began to have problems to move, had a harsh shift, it slowed down and did not drive at times. I clearly saw a transmission problem. I called united Nissan service for a diagnose. They check my vehicle and told me that my radiator leaked fluid into the transmission due the radiator defect. I couldn't understand why this class action did not include vehicles that will face this damage in a future. It did not include prevention of damages. Nissan did not released a recall for the faulty radiator. I know I am now outside the warranty limits, but at the time when I visited Nissan service to prevent this no one provided my help or information that would help in prevent such damage. The price for a new transmission is 6,000 dlls. The total cost of repair all goes up 9,000 dlls. Also I received a rude customer service by the service agents of Nissan service. Now I have to cover these costs by myself. My son was driven the vehicle when this happen. The good thing is that the failure occurred while he was driven on the freeway making it so dangerous. What will happen with people like us? the legal case was closed in 2012 but Nissan still having vehicles suffering this this damage. This is a negligence that pass the financial burden to consumers.

- Las Vegas, NV, USA

problem #182

Mar 022016


  • 91,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Nissan Frontier. The contact stated that while a traffic light, the accelerator pedal was depressed but the vehicle failed to accelerate over 5 mph. The failure occurred intermittently. The vehicle was taken to an independent mechanic where it was diagnosed that the transmission was flooded with coolant and needed replacement. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The approximate failure mileage was 91,000.

- Richmond, VA, USA

problem #181

Jul 142014


  • 136,968 miles
Original manufactured radiator deffect caused automatic transmission cooling line to mix with coolant causing transmission failure with no warning signs. A catastrophic failure of the transmission almost resulted in a crash do to vehicle stalling at high speeds. Not covered by warranty. The warranty denies the radiator as part of the warranty resulting in the owner having to pay for fixing damages.

- Wenatchee, WA, USA

problem #180

Jan 192016


  • 89,125 miles
Last November 6th I hit a deer, front impact. Took truck to local garage to have it serviced. The only damage they said occurred was body damage. 3wks later got my truck back with body damage repaired. About 3wks after that I started to notice a slight vibration in my truck when I got to a certain speed. I really didn't think nothing of it and thought maybe I had a tire out of balance. Well the vibration started getting worse and I started to notice a strong vibration and decrease in power when it shifted. So I took the truck back to the garage to see if they could figure anything out. I thought maybe the deer caused more damage than expected but they couldn't find anything. The didn't charge me anything because they found nothing wrong. So I drove it for another 2 weeks and it got worse. I took it to a local Nissan dealership and within 30mins they determined a transmission cooler rupture and that it basically has ruined my transmission and would need to replace it, a service charge of $6,000!!! they told me I was just out of warranty on it. I've been reading on this issue and know Nissan has an extended warranty of 10yrs or 100,000 miles. I went to the dealer on the 19th of January. 19 days out or warranty!!! when I had originally had an issue in late December and nothing was found!!! the truck is barely 10yrs old and has less than 90,000 miles on it.

- Mcconnelsville, OH, USA

problem #179

Jan 062016


  • 145,000 miles
Transmission starts slipping at highway speed. RPM increases without increase in speed. Intermittent but getting worse. This is my son's truck and I am worried about his safety when merging into the interstate. He almost got hit by a semi last week when merging into I-20 as the slipping was happening.

- Anniston, AL, USA

problem #178

May 012014


  • 125,000 miles
Radiator leak into the transmission fluid, causes transmission to fail and requires a rebuild. Expensive $3000 repair. Current litigation and court case does no good to most of the customers experiencing this problem. No warning from Nissan that the radiator is flawed.

- East Peoria, IL, USA

Read the next 20 complaints »

Not what you are looking for?