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:
112,974 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 engine problems

engine problem

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2005 Nissan Frontier Owner Comments (Page 2 of 4)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #43

Mar 182015


  • 132,715 miles


Vehicle wouldn't shift into a high gear. This after hesitation, stuttering, and other issues. Transmission cooler failure resulting in transmission failure and radiator failure. Common defect. Local Nissan dealers as well as Nissan Consumer Affairs department unwilling to fix or to "good will" a solution. 3700$ at a local licensed garage to fix.

- Tehachapi, CA, USA

problem #42

Jul 142014


  • 93,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Nissan Frontier. While driving approximately 50 mph, there was an abnormal noise coming from the vehicle. The vehicle failed to accelerate and the check engine warning light illuminated. The vehicle was taken to a dealer where it was diagnosed that the transmission, the torque converter, and the radiator needed to be replaced. The vehicle was repaired; however, the failure recurred. The vehicle was taken back to the dealer where it was diagnosed that the timing change needed to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The failure mileage was 93,000.

- Nacogdoches, TX, USA

problem #41

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 #40

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 #39

Jan 012015

Frontier 6-cyl

  • 126,000 miles
The motor mount broke, it felt like the engine was going to fall out of my truck. $550 fix.

- Boise, ID, USA

problem #38

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 #37

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 #36

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

problem #35

Jun 062014

Frontier 6-cyl

  • 124,950 miles
I was at a stop light and when it turned green my truck felt like it was stuck in neutral and wouldn't get into gear. With hesitation, it finally jumped into gear but was very sluggish with hardly any power. It was quite dangerous with a line of vehicles behind me I thought I was going to get rear-ended. Thankfully I was only 2 minutes from my office where I was able to pull in the parking lot and unload my two children and call my wife to pick us up. I had to have my car sit there over the weekend because I didn't feel safe driving it. On the following Monday I had it towed to a transmission repair shop where they diagnosed it as a cracked radiator head with coolant leaking into the transmission causing this failure. I then had it towed again to the Nissan dealership where they diagnosed it and confirmed the first diagnosis. They said unfortunately I was over the mileage and to call the national Nissan dealership and petition for assistance. After looking up all the information I find it discerning that Nissan hasn't done the right thing and recalled this to make it right.

- Elbert, CO, USA

problem #34

May 292014

Frontier 6-cyl

  • 84,000 miles
A crack in the radiator has caused coolant to mix with the transmission fluid. This has resulted in catastrophic failure of the transmission requiring the replacement of the transmission and complete radiator replacement. I have been quoted a total cost of close to $5000.

- Corvallis, OR, USA

problem #33

Feb 202014


  • 134,000 miles


Engine dies without warning. While traveling on a busy road, my 2005 Nissan Frontier's engine just stopped running without warning. This is not a new complaint, numerous Nissan owners have complained about this. NHTSA campaign number: 10V517000 (recall) is/was supposed to address this issue but does not. Nissan and NHTSA have failed to adequately address the safety issue with the above referenced recall. It is an intermittent problem that occurs even after going to Nissan and having the ECM relay within the ipdm replaced per the recall. Nissan and NHTSA have failed to protect the general public by permitting a known safety issue to be masked by an ineffective fix. There is no data available to the public to support niissan's or NHTSA's assertion that a failed steering diode within the ECM relay (located within the ipdm) is the cause of the reported engine stop running incidents. The real fix, and the more costly fix for Nissan, is the replacement of the ECM and possibly the ipdm too. Nissan pooled the wool over the eyes of NHTSA and NHTSA went along with the manufacturer - both entities have failed to protect the consumer from this dangerous condition. I'm lucky in that my 2005 Nissan Frontier has a manual transmission so that when the failure occurs I can more easily maintain speed and control in order to roll the vehicle over to the side of the road. I am a competent vehicle mechanic and engineer by education and training and I have spent untold hours meticulously troubleshooting this problem with my vehicle, and after incorporating the recall fix and numerous other fixes directly related, my vehicle's engine continues to stop running without warning. NHTSA needs to step up it's watchdog efforts, re-open NHTSA campaign number: 10V517000 and force Nissan to adequately protect the consumer from this engine stops running without warning safety issue.

- Sammamish, WA, USA

problem #32

Nov 012013

Frontier 6-cyl

  • 119,000 miles
Vibration in motor like driving over grooved pavement - on and off again for months before realizing it was the radiator and transmission problem that occurs in these trucks and SUV's. I don't want to pay $6,000 to fix a defect. They should pay no matter when it happens.

- Wall, NJ, USA

problem #31

Nov 122013


  • 110,000 miles
Radiator leaked antifreeze into the transmission. Transmission has to be rebuilt/ replace and radiator has to be replaced.

- Florence, AL, USA

problem #30

Mar 142014

Frontier 6-cyl

  • 67,350 miles
I was driving along on a major interstate at 65 mph when my engine was revving up to about 3500 or 4000 RPM but my speed was dropping. I pulled over to the right hand side of the road, stopped and turned the vehicle off. Had I not been in the right lane of the major interstate when traffic was very light, I could have had a major accident. Everything seemed normal except the low coolant level in the reservoir bottle. There did not appear to be any problems with the engine so then I placed the truck into drive and moved the vehicle forward. As the vehicle picked up speed and at about the 35 to 40 mph the truck engine would rev up but the transmission was slipping and not allowing the truck to move any faster. When I took the screw off the transmission dipstick to see that fluid level was too high for the proper level in the automatic transmission. Also, I noticed that the fluid had a greyish milky appearance which is a clear indication of contamination with a water based material such as engine coolant.I find the fact Nissan clearly knew that was a problem and failed to notify me as the original owner of the vehicle annoying. They would rather pay to have vehicle repaired after the fact than take care of a potential safety problem before it occurs. This is extremely troublesome when a manufacturer places profits and the bottom line ahead of customer safety. Upon further research, I have learned that I could have replaced the faulty radiator with another product from koyorad for about $120 retail and prevented this problem. So for a couple hundred dollars, Nissan is willing to jeopardize my safety and all other Nissan owners safety. As the national safety Agency, I implore you act immediately and order a recall on these Nissan vehicles before people get hurt. It is your duty to protect the people of the nation from safety issues when manufacturers fail to do so.

- San Antonio, TX, USA

problem #29

Jan 152013

Frontier 6-cyl

  • miles
This issues is with a 2005 Nissan Frontier le. Shuddering at approximately 40-45 mph (seems to be while shifting) and sometimes between 80-85 mph. The sound and feel of this shuddering is very similar to driving over highway hazard speed bumps. I initially thought that road work had been done in certain areas and didn't realize the effect was emanating from my truck. Loss of horse power and miles per gallon are also a symptom of this issue. Some jerking movements in the lower ranges of shifting. During the shuddering it feels as though the tranny is trying to catch the next gear. If I accelerate or decelerate passed the above ranges the shuddering subsides till the next time I cross those ranges. This description is of the final symptoms at their very worst for my individual experience, leading up to this points has been gradual signs of the same issues beginning at the 50K-60K mileage ranges. Even though, to date, Nissan corporate has known of this defect their dealerships/service depts seemed to be completely unaware of the issue till I was well passed the extended warranty (class action lawsuit imposed). At that point they became very informative of the problem and its symptoms. On several occasions (months if not yrs ago) I had mentioned these symptoms and was told fluids were checked and ok'd by techs and service reps, but reading into the issue now I have learned it is very easy to spot if you truly do know what you are looking for or actually check the fluids as I suspect they never did.

- Escondido, CA, USA

problem #28

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 #27

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

problem #26

Dec 272013

Frontier 6-cyl

  • 107,900 miles
Passing other vehicle on I-45 towards downtown at approximately 70 mph the engine experienced intermittent stalling. I was in danger to crash others with problems to get our of the high speed lines. At that moment the engine totally stalled, . finally I was able to reach the extreme right line and pull out waiting for a complete stop. I tried to restart the engine but no help. I did not believe it but wanted be sure that no lack of fuel was the origin because I already had the problem with fuel sending unit problem which do not work properly to accurately show how much fuel is on the fuel tank. I got some extra fuel. We returned and poured the 1 gallon can, then I tried to star the engine. It cranked but no starting. I called my insurance requesting towing service. I tried two more times and after that the engine started roughly and hesitating. After 2 minutes and stabilized I decided to continue. I called my insurance company to cancel the towing service. Decided to continue on I-45 but on the extreme right hand side line. I arrived home with no other issues and after parking on my driveway, shut down the engine, then I tried to restart it but nothing. Only cranking good but no starting at all. Finally after some like 10 seconds of cranking, the engine hesitated but started. I took it to autozone, they scanned it and gave me the codes P043 for the failed fuel sendin unit ( fuel level sensor ) and the code P0335 which is problem with the circuit or signal or sensor crankshaft. I made search to find it and today, Sunday 29, after several hours, finally removed and replaced it. After this the truck starts very good as usually before the stalling experiences. Cost was some like 23 dollar but the risk in what I was and exposing others has no price. Is necessary to have a crash or fatal results for you to consider this a recall to protect others?

- Humble, TX, USA

problem #25

Nov 292010


  • 116,088 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Nissan Frontier. The contact stated that while driving various speeds, she attempted to make a turn and the engine stalled without warning. The vehicle restarted and resumed normally. The vehicle was previously repaired under a voluntary recall issued by the manufacturer pertaining to the ECM rely. The remedy repair failed to correct the problem because the failure recurred after the repair was performed. The manufacturer was notified of the problem. The approximate failure mileage was 116,088.

- Nine Mile Falls, WA, USA

problem #24

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

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