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 3 of 5)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #45

Jul 092013

Frontier 6-cyl

  • 102,251 miles


Took my Frontier to the local Nissan dealer for transmission flush. I was told by the service manager that this service could not be completed due radiator coolant leaking into my transmission. Through research, I have found many owners of Frontiers have reported the same transmission issue and have share this issue with Nissan. There were no warning signs and no support to owners like myself with trucks over a 100,000 miles. It appears Nissan has been aware of this transmission/radiator issue with this vehicle and their SUVS for some time. This defect is a major safety concern and very costly for owners to correct. Thank you for your time and support.

- Bartlett, TN, USA

problem #44

Jun 252013

Frontier 6-cyl

  • 121,000 miles
The radiator developed a crack and cause fluid to leak into the transmission lines causing a failure to both pieces of equipment. This could have been avoided if Nissan would have warned me about issues concerning this failure that is occurring in lots of similar models.

- Saint Joseph , IL, USA

problem #43

Jun 182013

Frontier 6-cyl

  • 104,410 miles
The vehicle shut off on the hwy. This happened twice on different days. The vehicle was going at a 60-65 miles per hour speed and it shut off. I cost to the side of the hwy and turned the truck back on.

- Santa Ana, CA, USA

problem #42

May 302013

Frontier 6-cyl

  • 115,000 miles


Automatic transmission began stumbling and then I lost 5th gear. Took to durabuild transmission shop and was told that engine coolant had gotten into the transmission from the radiator transmission cooling lines. Transmission had to be cleaned & repaired. The valve body assembly had to be replaced along with the solenoid. Repair bill came to $4100.

- Litchfield , NH, USA

problem #41

May 212013

Frontier 6-cyl

  • 124,000 miles
Took my truck in for air-conditioning service. Nissan dealer found transmission fluid in my coolant. They stated I needed a new radiator due to transmission cooler in radiator failure. They changed out the radiator, the cost was over $1200. Once radiator was fixed they stated they found a small amount of coolant in my transmission. They flushed the transmission twice (additional 250.00) but could not tell me if there was any damage to the transmission. They also stated they have never had this failure at this dealership in fredericksburg, va before the new Nissan extended warranty expires (90000 miles or 9 years). Nissan has known about this issue for a long time.....

- Florence, SC, USA

problem #40

May 222013

Frontier 6-cyl

  • 125,000 miles
I was driving the Nissan Frontier about 50 mph when the RPM shot up then dropped and the transmission quit causing the vehicle to stop. I had to cross two lanes of traffic to avoid a major accident. I managed to get the truck to the dealer and was told it was a problem with the transmission leaking fluid into the radiator causing the transmission to fail with out any warning. I was told the fix would cost me around $5,500 dollars. Nissan is aware of this problem and really should correct it before some one is killed by this obvious major malfunction in the design of there product.

- Maineville, OH, USA

problem #39

May 172013


  • 116,000 miles


Engine warning light came on, shudders at 40mph, transmission shifting erratic. Took into Nissan service center who told us that coolant had leaked into transmission from a faulty radiator and it would cost $5500 to replace transmission as we were out of warranty. Nissan knows about this problem.

- Forest Grove, OR, USA

problem #38

Apr 082013

Frontier 6-cyl

  • 95,000 miles
Transmission failing sounds and feels like driving over rumble strips. Also noticed cabin heater does not work when at a stop. Signs indicative of radiator/transmission seal failure and radiator coolant in transmission.

- Baltimore, MD, USA

problem #37

Apr 012013

Frontier 6-cyl

  • 123,000 miles
While traveling at highway speeds my 2005 Frontier began shuddering and then lost power which could have resulted in a rear end collision. An independent service technician determined that the transmission fluid is contaminated. It appears Nissan has been long aware of this issue, with the numerous complaints across the board from the 2005 - 2010 Frontiers, pathfinders and xterras Nissan should be responsible for the replacement of the radiator and transmission. This is a catastrophic defect in design known to Nissan and should be made right by Nissan to protect the safety of the customer.

- Pennsburg, PA, USA

problem #36

Apr 122013

Frontier 6-cyl

  • miles
Transmission atf is contaminated with coolant cause transmission to deteriorate. Transmission rattles at speeds over 45 miles per hour when shifting into and out of overdrive. Becoming noticeably more jerky over time in lower gears. Heat does not work while engine is idling and takes a long time to warm up while moving. Cold air blowing across windshield on cold days has caused windshield to fog up from the inside making it difficult to see. Vehicle currently has under 113000 miles and Nissan dealership has given me an estimate of $5119.42 to replace the transmission/radiator assembly.

- Nottingham, NH, USA

problem #35

Apr 242013

Frontier 6-cyl

  • 138,880 miles


Found out today that my 2005 Nissan Frontier is affected by defective radiator that is causing coolant to mix in with the transmission fluid thus fatally damaging transmission. Understand that this a wide spread problem for this year and model Nissan. Radiator has to be replaced at a cost of $1400 that Nissan won't pay for because mileage is over 100,000 miles. I don't know yet if transmission is damaged. This is a defect that Nissan knows about and they should replace at no charge no matter what the mileage is. This is their problem, but unfortunately now its mine. Please help and issue a recall. Thank you.

- Warren, NJ, USA

problem #34

Mar 212013

Frontier 6-cyl

  • 102,235 miles
$6219.70 for a remanufactured transmission because I'm ~2000 miles out of their recently "extended" warranty. Transmission and radiator/cooling system were recommended to be replaced by Nissan today because of contamination of transmission fluid by a (known but not recalled) defective transmission cooler line. At approximately 98,000K the truck began to experience vibration with overdrive engaged. It felt like driving over rumble strips also, the truck had no heat when idling. I took it to a qualified local mechanic and had the radiator flushed. That corrected the heat issue. It was recommended to take the truck to a transmission shop to look at the issue. I drive the truck daily to/from work and travel with my 3 daughters to and from school. My next opportunity was about 6 weeks later and I took it to Nissan. There was a recent class action suit regarding this issue and "an extension was offered which would repair the issue for $3000. This covered cars up to 100K. Because Nissan did not diagnose this issue until I was at 102,200 miles, a low level call center denied the repair. Rather than drive the 10,000 miles per year that is apparently acceptable to Nissan, I drive roughly 12,750. That extra 35 miles per day makes it so that I have to pay an additional $3219.70 for something that I should be paying nothing for. The fix for the issue that destroyed my transmission is actually a roughly $500 repair or less than $100 for a diy'er. Nissan was aware of this issue and should have issued a recall before their "customers" transmissions started destroying themselves.

- Indianapolis, IN, USA

problem #33

Feb 082013


  • 74,494 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Nissan Frontier. The contact stated that while driving 35 mph, the vehicle stalled and the slip warning lamp illuminated. The contact mentioned that he was able to restart the vehicle immediately after the failure. The vehicle was taken to an independent mechanic. The technician diagnosed that the radiator coolant hose was leaking and the cam shaft position sensor was defective. As a result, both components were replaced however, the remedy failed to repair the problem. The vehicle was taken back to the independent mechanic, who stated that there was transmission fluid found in the radiator and due to the failure, the transmission and radiator needed to be replaced. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure and stated that they would cover a portion of the repair cost. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure and current mileage was 74,494.

- Columbus , IN, USA

problem #32

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 #31

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 #30

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 #29

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 #28

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 #27

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 #26

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

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