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:
94,787 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 5)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #65

Mar 072013


  • 154,000 miles


Transmission coolin in the radiator ruptured causing complete failure of the transmission.

- Walnut Cove, Nc 27052, NC, USA

problem #64

Mar 052014


  • miles
I currently own a 2005 Nissan Frontier. 3 months ago, the vehicle had been stalling on me every several days, it would immediately turn back on. Last month it began shutting down on me every 2 days, a few times on the highway, almost getting rear ended a couple of times. It would turn back on, but after several tries and after 15-20 min wait. After checking recalls on my vehicle I noticed I had not been contacted about a recall for the replacement of a ECM relay, which was causing vehicles to shutdown. This relay was replaced and vehicle had been running fine for 3 weeks, but my vehicle has now started to sputter every few days. It has shutdown on me twice in the last couple of weeks.

- San Antonio, TX, USA

problem #63

Mar 132013

Frontier 6-cyl

  • 142,855 miles
Sitting at a stop light with right foot on brake, waiting for light to change. As light changed applied pressure to gas pedal but the vehicle would not move the engine would just rev up. Put the vehicle in park and turn off the engine waited a moment then turned the vehicle back on and put the transmission in drive, vehicle began to move but the transmission acted like it was slipping. Drove vehicle to dealer and they said that the transmission had failed on vehicle and it would need a new one. Paid $5,321.74 to have transmission replaced. Dealer said transmission failure was due to a radiator issue on vehicle.

- Lake Lotawana, MO, USA

problem #62

Feb 182014

Frontier 6-cyl

  • 137,000 miles


While driving on the interstate my truck began a small intermittent shudder, as if driving over rumble strips. This occurred 2 or 3 times. The next week the shuddering recurred. Scheduled and appointment with my local Nissan dealership. They very quickly diagnosed the problem. They indicated it was a common problem with this vehicle where the transmission cooler fails and intakes radiator coolant into the transmission. The indicate the transmission will in all likely hood need to be rebuilt.

- Deer Lodge, TN, USA

problem #61

Jan 232014


  • 91,250 miles
Transmission failure related to coolant leaking into the transmission from the radiator oil coolant assemble. Nissan will not cover the complete cost of this know defect.

- Taylors, SC, USA

problem #60

Dec 132010

Frontier 6-cyl

  • 95,000 miles
Transmission failure related to coolant from the radiator oil coolant assemble.

- Frazier Park, CA, USA

problem #59

Jan 172014

Frontier 6-cyl

  • 170,000 miles


The transmission started jerking very bad when it hit 1700 RPM range while driving, so I slowed down...scared. I went and had it checked only to find out it is very common with this truck - fluid in transmission caused from the trans fluid running through the radiator and the heat exchange leaks water into the trans fluid. This is a well documented problem I learned. The repair is not covered by Nissan and is a 5000 dollar repair at Nissan dealership, a total transmission and radiator replacement is needed.

- Jacksonville, FL, USA

problem #58

Jan 092012

Frontier 6-cyl

  • 90,000 miles
At 45mph the truck started jerking and I thought it was going to stall out. When I got it to my mechanic we found radiator coolant had contaminated the transmission fluid.

- Collinsville, AL, USA

problem #57

Oct 192013


  • 120,000 miles
2 months ago I had a leak in the radiator and I fixed it. Then after that I start having problem with the transmission. The speed does not change immediately and when it change you feel like some has pushed you from the back. And now the car does not drive anymore.

- Kennesaw, GA, USA

problem #56

Nov 092012

Frontier 6-cyl

  • 92,540 miles
The first week of November 2013 while driving at approximately 50-60 mph, I would intermittently experience shuddering vibrations like the ones you feel when you drive through those highway strips. I did not pay much attention to eat thinking it probably was a minor problem with the tires. 3rd week of November the truck started slipping. I went online to find out what causes the slip and there it was. Hundreds of not just 2005 Nissan Frontier owners but also xterra's and pathfinder owners from 2005-2010 having the same problem.internet searches came out that at a certain point in the life of the vehicle at average about 90-100T miles, radiator coolant mixes with the transmission fluid due a crack inside the radiator, and the transmission becomes contaminated and eventually fails. After finding out the symptoms of possible contamination I examined my truck's radiator and transmission and found out that indeed transmission oil and coolant had mixed. I immediately replaced the radiator and flushed the transmission thinking that this could still save the transmission. A week ago while at a stop, with the truck on drive and right foot on the brake pedal, I heard a big bang around the transmission area and felt a violent shake and then the truck jerked forward and I almost hit the car in front of me. I was able to bring the car home.I cannot use the truck now out of fear that the transmission will suddenly fail while I'm driving in the freeway and cause or be in an accident. Many owners have reported that when their transmissions failed, their vehicles suddenly lost power in the middle of the highway and almost got into an accident. I called Nissan customer service and I was told that this is a known problem with this vehicle and they have extended the radiator and transmission warranty to 100000 miles with a $3000 co-pay.

- Bordentown, NJ, USA

problem #55

Oct 282013

Frontier 6-cyl

  • 145,000 miles


The transmission failed caused by a ruptured seal in the radiator.

- Payson, UT, USA

problem #54

Jun 122013

Frontier 6-cyl

  • 102,000 miles
After buying the truck from a dealership, I was driving home. I got about 5 miles from the dealership when the vehicle started shaking. I took it to a Nissan dealership to who confirmed what I was afraid of. There was coolant in the transmission fluid. We submitted it to the warranty company that I had purchased a warranty from when I bought the truck only to find out that since the transmission failure was due to an uncovered part(oil cooler) they would not honor the warranty. After doing more research on the problem and seeing as many claims of this issue how has Nissan not recalled the transmission? it is obvious that this normally does not normally happen until after the extended warranty ends. Like everyone else I am looking at a $6000+ repair bill, and until I can come up with that money I have to look outside at my $12,000 lawn ornament...

- Franklin, WV, USA

problem #53

Aug 312007

Frontier 6-cyl

  • 107,400 miles
At the time of the transmission failure I had no prior signs of a problem. As I was merging on to the 4 lane at a speed of about 45-50 mph the truck began shaking violently. I thought I had gotten some bad fuel because I had just filled the fuel. The shaking somewhat smoothed out at about 60 mph, though the truck was lacking normal power, and would shudder when pulling a grade. I drove the truck about 10 miles and stopped to get some fuel treatment because I still thought I was having fuel problems. At this point the truck began to act as if the transmission was in neutral, then the transmission would grab and jar the truck violently. At this time I was in heavy traffic and nearly hit. I barely got the truck to my mechanic. Further inspection by my mechanic showed antifreeze in the transmission. I had to have the transmission totally rebuilt and replaced the radiator, at a cost of about $4,000. About a year prior I had the transmission flushed, replaced filter and fluid as preventative maintenance. The truck has been maintained properly because I planned to keep the truck for long term. My truck is past the warranty so total cost is incurred by me.

- Webster, NC, USA

problem #52

Aug 222013

Frontier 6-cyl

  • 130,000 miles
While driving the vehicle loss power and almost stalled. This happened a couple of times while driving on the highway, approx. 50mph. The second time it happened, the ses light and slip light came on. This vehicle was covered by a recall for the ECM that caused a similar issue. The ECM was replaced by a certified Nissan service center. The replacement was done 12/29/10. Now, it is happening again. A bit of research shows that Nissan has issued a voluntary recall for camshaft sensors that cause a very similar problem. However, because my VIN is not currently under that recall, I can't have Nissan replace them. This is a safety issue. The vehicle looses power then stalls while traveling in heavy traffic at 50-60 mph. That can cause a major accident and affect not only myself but others. I feel Nissan should expand their recall to include Nissan Frontiers, not just Altima, etc. Nissan has been contacted and they have opened a case file #[xxx]. no resolution has been offered by them. Information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Justin , TX, USA

problem #51

Aug 202013

Frontier 6-cyl

  • 90,780 miles
Started it up... hardly moved. Squeaking sound under the hood. Looks like the infamous radiator leak into the transmission....

- North Wales, PA, USA

problem #50

Aug 182013

Frontier 6-cyl

  • 130,000 miles
The truck lurched ahead while at a stop light, just missing a pedestrian. Took the car to the Nissan dealership today. Was told that coolant from a cracked radiator had ruined the transmission and repair would be $5700. Car was in perfect condition and always dealer maintained. Dealership said they could do nothing as far as warranty. They gave me Nissan North America's number. They refused to do anything. This is a defect. Not a worn out part. This vehicle should be recalled. Not safe.

- Cape Elizabeth, ME, USA

problem #49

Feb 122013

Frontier 6-cyl

  • miles
I was driven @ 45 mph I fell the roughness of the truck, I took the truck to the dealer the technician said that the transmission got mixed up w/ the coolant and they told me that it need to replace the transmission and radiator. Anyway I purchased outside extended warranty for my truck last year and I cannot used it because their policy that it doesn't cover cooling system. I call North Nissan they said they give us extended warranty for me is not the warranty it is manufacture defect pls. Help me that Nissan will fix the problem.

- Waianae, HI, USA

problem #48

Feb 162011

Frontier 6-cyl

  • 86,496 miles
Three days after receiving the letter from Nissan regarding the "possible" problem with the radiator failing I was on my way to work and my truck started to shudder at about 45mph. I pulled off the road but could not see anything wrong. I then had it checked out and found out about the radiator failing and damaged the transmission resulting in a total rebuild! called Nissan and after 3 weeks of back and forth talks of "seeing what we can do for you" the end result was sorry theirs nothing we can do for you! if this problem would of happen on an interstate highway with my family along I hate to think what could have happened!

- Lake City, PA, USA

problem #47

Jun 032011


  • 147,230 miles
My slip started to go on and it would down shift and sometimes stall. I needed brakes so I went to tony Nissan to have my brakes done and the slip checked out and they called me and said that a transmission line inside my radiator cracked and was leaking into my transmission and I needed to replaced both ( $9000 dollars that I don't have.) Nissan has extended it's warrant to 10 years and 100000 miles, but my truck has over 147000 miles. This is not my fault as it is due to a faulty radiator that they knew about. It's just not right, I drive a lot do to my work. I don't know what to do. Please help.. I do not know the VIN number it is at the Nissan dealer having my brakes done.

- Waianae, HI, USA

problem #46

Jul 162013

Frontier 6-cyl

  • 129,000 miles
I was on my way home from work, when my service engine soon light came on. The next day, I was on my way home from town when my truck died. It took me a few minutes to get it to start. I had the oil changed Thursday. On my way home, I ran by the local autozone, to have my service engine light checked out. It showed up that the crankshaft position sensor is out. While looking through the web, I see im not the only one that has had this problem. Please help.

- Ripley, TN, USA

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