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 3 of 4)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #23

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 #22

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 #21

Aug 062013

Frontier 6-cyl

  • miles
Sudden loss of power/stalling. Check engine light came on as well as anti-slip light. Took vehicle same day to Nissan dealership. Truck actually stalled on the way to the dealership however I was able to get it started again. Diagnosed the problem as a bad cam shaft sensor. Sensor was replaced. They also mentioned that transmission fluid was contaminated with engine coolant. Suggested repair was to replace the radiator and the transmission-$4800. I chose to just replace the cam sensor. Three days later, 8/9, lost power at highway speed. Radiator and hoses leaked and had to be towed to dealership. Again dealership suggested replacing the radiator as well as the transmission. Replaced radiator and hoses, flushed transmission twice. I plan to dispose the truck. There were no warning signs prior to these two incidents. My opinion is that this is definitely a manufacturing/engineering defect.

- Acworth, GA, USA

problem #20

Jul 122013

Frontier 6-cyl

  • 110,000 miles


I started noticing my automatic Nissan Frontier having problems shifting gears around November of 2012. I eventually took the truck into a dealership to take a look at it after receiving paperwork in regards to a lawsuit Nissan is encountering due to radiator leaks. When I took the truck into the dealer they told me this did not have anything to do with radiator leak. They quoted me 5,000 in repairs. I did not have the money to fix the problem so I continued to drive it until July 12th it finally gave out. I was getting off of the freeway and as I was stopping at the red light to get off of the freeway the truck started to feel like it was going to give and it started shaking, it jerked suddenly and almost caused the car behind me to crash into my bumper, I put a little more gas into the truck and made it into the parking lot of the nearest place around. As I was going to park it finally gave out for good. I called a local towing company and they took the car back my house, I called up a mechanic to come to the house and examine the truck and he advised me of the radiator leak, the one the Nissan dealership denied having. I am very upset that they lied to me as well as Nissan only extending the warranty to 80,000 miles when most people are experiencing this problem after that. I have aprox 118,000 miles, I will look for a lawyer to file a class action lawsuit against Nissan.

- Lancaster , CA, USA

problem #19

Jun 232013


  • miles
My 2005 Frontier has never given me any problems until 2 days ago. The transmission started messing up. I came upon a 4 way stop & when I went to cross the road it was like I had it in neutral. I pulled over & stopped then tried to start again & it did the same thing. I've since heard & read about all the problems involving the coolant & transmission. The quotes I have received to fix this are outrageous. Nissan should recall these vehicles because they know they have a problem with them. Not a happy customer anymore.

- Ripley, MS, USA

problem #18

Jan 072013

Frontier 6-cyl

  • 129,000 miles
As supplement information to the following claim form, I original had wallace Nissan in stuart estimate repair costs, and subsequently took my vehicle to local mechanic montery transmission for follow up quote on 1/29/13. Monterrey ordered a replacement part from Nissan, which proved to be faulty on installation. Appears there were no other parts available nationwide, so wallace back ordered on Nissan, which had to include in a parts shipment from Japan. Part was finally delivered via wallace early March 2013. Job completed and picked up 3/13/13. An unusual delay, happy my motorcycle was serviceable. Nissan Frontier, 2005, submitted claim #[xxx], major parts replaced, valve body #31705ea50B, radiator #3196, master kit #N173004af, total cost $3665.48. Information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Stuart, FL, USA

problem #17

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 #16

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 #15

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

problem #14

May 072013

Frontier 6-cyl

  • 107,000 miles
Driving at about 40mph my 2005 Nissan Frontier 4.0L V6 starts to rumble for approximately 4 seconds as if I were driving over a rumble strip. Once the rumble begins there is a loss of power. This is happening at least twice a day.

- Newark, DE, USA

problem #13

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 #12

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 #11

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 #10

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 #9

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 #8

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 #7

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 #6

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 #5

Jan 312012

Frontier 6-cyl

  • 166,405 miles
Nissan has a known problem with the radiator and transmission. The date listed is merely the date we discovered the issue. Before Jan 31, 2012 we knew nothing about this problem. It is a safety issue. You don't know if this has happened to your truck until it overheats and you find out the fluids have mixed. Replace the radiator. Flush the fluids (3 or more times, since the fluid is now like purple soft serve ice cream). Then the real troubles begin.. it slips out of gear while driving at 70 mph and the only option is to pull over, turn the truck off, remove the key, then restart the truck and hope it works. This is really dangerous on the highway at the higher speeds but also unsafe on the side roads or in stop and go traffic. I take my kids to school 3.6 miles each way. I have to stop and restart the truck at least 3 times during the round trip. Speed doesn't matter. You stop at a red light and have know idea if it is going to go when you push the gas or not. Pulling out into traffic can be very dangerous since you have to go and you find out you can't. there have been several "warranty extentions" issued by Nissan on our truck that we were not aware of until after making the repairs on our own dime. There is a "warrany extention" for this issue due to a class action lawsuit but it does nothing for a lot of the owners since many are over the "extention mileage". I try to never drive the truck on busy roads without shoulders or turn lanes, I fear red lights and traffic but stop signs are the worst... I never know if the transmission is going to work or not. All because a known faulty radiator cracked and leaked fluid into the transmission. But, I'm over the extended mileage so I'm expected to pay over $5K to fix a known issue.

- Fort Worth, TX, USA

problem #4

Oct 292012

Frontier 6-cyl

  • 74,303 miles
Fuel sensor will show 1/4 tank of gasoline and low fuel light will come on and gauge will show empty shortly after.

- Oklahoma City , TX, USA

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