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 4 of 5)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #25

Dec 242012

Frontier 6-cyl

  • 121,000 miles


Coolant leaked into transmission fluid and destroyed transmission.

- Sacramento, CA, USA

problem #24

Dec 142012

Frontier 6-cyl

  • 94,200 miles
Suddenly my truck appeared to have no power; could not accelerate up to traffic speed or effectively get across an intersection. It was scary and dangerous as this could have easily caused an accident. The "service engine soon" light came on and I promptly took my 2005 Nissan Frontier nismo V6 to my local Nissan dealer for service. I had just had the full 90K mile service with radiator flush and no issues where reported to me. So I was shocked when they told me that it needed to have both the radiator and transmission replaced due to "fluids mixing". antifreeze and water from the radiator had leaked into the transmission and destroyed it. And I was further shocked and angry that it would cost me $3K even after Nissan's "extended warranty". (I don't have this kind of money lying around to dump into my 7+ year old truck, that I had bought new in '05.) this is a catastrophic defect in the design - known by the manufacturer and should be made right by the manufacturer. I've found that there are hundreds of complaints about this same issue across the internet for other 2005-2010 Frontiers, pathfinders and xterras. Nissan needs to do their consumers right, or risk loosing loyalty. Up until now, I've been really happy with my truck, my service dealer and Nissan, but now I'll be looking at other brands that back their products and consumers better.

- Simpsonville, SC, USA

problem #23

Dec 172012

Frontier 6-cyl

  • 11,600 miles
I purchased my 2005 Nissan Frontier at approx. 95K in February. The test drives were fine, the car sounded and drove perfectly fine for a few months. It recently began to start shifting roughly. The Nissan dealership I purchased the car from did something to cover up the issue which was obviously why they were trying to sell it before 100K and I got burned on it. I purchased the truck from marietta, ga at team Nissan. I didn't get it checked until now, but have since discovered the numerous complaints of a recall related to radiator antifreeze leaking into the transmission and causing failure of both. This is a safety issue and it really does baffle me that a whole generation of Nissan vehicles from 2005-2010 have this issue and that it could caused some accidents due to high speed transmission failure. I see this as being a safety issue on the same scale as the Toyota issues of a few years back. To have this be a limited warranty recall is disgraceful. You can believe Nissan knows exactly when these incidents are likely to occur so they extended their coverage up to that point and they fail thereafter. Not to mention that the current recall does not seem to include issues it causes to the transmission. My truck as you can see is out of the extended warranty for the radiator and was when I purchased it.

- Montgomery, AL, USA

problem #22

Dec 092012


  • 139,000 miles


My 2005 Nissan Frontier began shifting hard noticeably. I took it to a trusted mechanic to evaluate the cause and learned that there is contamination in the transmission fluid. Coolant from the radiator has leaked into the transmission body, resulting in contamination and corrosion. At this time the transmission still functions, but will not continue to do so for long. This issue requires the replacement of both the radiator and the transmission with an estimated cost of $3,800.

- Graniteville, SC, USA

problem #21

Nov 302010


  • 140,000 miles
My 2005 Nissan Frontier with a 140,000 on it's been a good truck up till know. So it just sits in the yard collecting dust.going to cost about $6000 to fix. This is something they should fix, for they knew they got problems with these radiator in these trucks and SUV.and the transmission too help please now I am laid off so I do not have work or money to fix this truck so Nissan has to fixed for free help all those who pass the 80,000 miles and I still need to make 7 more payments on it.

- Lake Forest, CA, USA

problem #20

Nov 012012

Frontier 6-cyl

  • 120,000 miles
My transmission is slipping. I have been told by a dealer I have radiator fluid in my transmission fluid. Apparently, this is a known problem with certain model year Nissan vehicles, due to a break in a transmission line that runs through the radiator. Please force Nissan to recall and repair this issue!!!

- Miami Beach, FL, USA

problem #19

Oct 202012

Frontier 6-cyl

  • 118,434 miles


I took my Frontier truck in for a 120000 mile schedule maintenance check and oil change. The deal told me that the radiator coolant and transmission fluid had mixed together due to a problem with the radiator. I was told that they would flush the radiator and transmission and try to clean out most of the mixed fluid. I was informed that I need to replace the radiator and transmission might have to be also replaced. The cost for the replacement would be around $8400. I began to do some research into the problem and found out that Nissan know that there was a problem with the radiator and that the fluid could leak into the transmission and damage the transmission. I saw that Nissan would extend the warrant to cover the cost if you had less that 8 years and 80000 miles. This warrant would now help me, due tot the fact I have almost 119000 miles on my truck. I think if Nissan knew about this problem they would have a recall on all Frontiers, pathfinders and xterras from 2005-2010 and pay for them to be fixed. It will cost me over $6000 to have a new transmission put into my Frontier truck. My truck is a 2005 Frontier le. I am having the radiator assy replaced ($991.84) oil cooler assy replaced ($498.49) transmission and cooling system flushed ($421.52). The 120000 mile service A/T will cost me $400. I am going to search around to see how much a new transmission for my truck would cost. The dealer said the cost for replacing my transmission would be $6155.14. They would sell me the transmission for their cost which would save me $925. I think that Nissan should a lease help pay for half or 2/3 of the cost for me to get my truck fixed.

- Severn, MD, USA

problem #18

Sep 052012

Frontier 6-cyl

  • 104,000 miles
While driving my Frontier, the transmission starting making noise. It started slipping when I was taking off, after having stopped for a red light. Then the service light and indicator lights came on. I could tell that 2nd gear was gone. The truck was towed to a certified Nissan dealer. They informed me that the truck was not covered under warranty and gave me a $5190 estimate. This does not include the $300 for the rental I have had to get for this first week, or the $101 for the towing and diagnostic testing. I have since discovered that the coolant was leaked into the transmission and has caused it to fail. I have also learned that hundreds, if not thousands, have registered complaints that this was due to a radiator failure that was known by Nissan. I did not receive a recall notice or any other notification concerning this problem. I called Nissan Consumer Affairs and received a case number. After 24 hrs. They called to tell me that they had extended the warranties on the radiators up to 8 yrs. And 80,000 miles, but that they would not be able to help me with my case. I have since found out online that Nissan did not issue recalls on this. My truck had been properly serviced at my Nissan dealership, and both the radiator and transmission was flushed at 30,000 and 60,000 miles. The power-steering was also flushed at 60,000 miles. I believe my dealership should have made me aware of the problem when my truck was in for servicing, and then I could have had the radiator taken care of under the warranty period before all the transmission damage was done. And Nissan should have issued a safety recall, as my truck stopped at 35 mph; and was almost rear ended. I would have normally been on the highway, except once the noise started, I decided to take an alternate route in order to get my vehicle to a safe area. Nissan should have to pay for this period!

- Sellersburg, IN, USA

problem #17

Jul 252012

Frontier 6-cyl

  • 65,000 miles
Brought vehicle in to mechanic because of rough sound happening occasionally. It turns out it was the transmission, and that radiator fluid leaked into transmission which has caused transmission issues. Cost to repair will be approximately $4,000. This should not happen to a vehicle with 66,000 miles.

- Cranston, RI, USA

problem #16

Aug 072012

Frontier 6-cyl

  • 95,994 miles
Was traveling at 55mph in my 2005 Nissan Frontier when it was as if the transmission was put in neutral. Had to stop in the highway, nowhere to pull off. As luck would have it was near my destination and managed to get there going about 10 to 15mph. It was at night so luckily not much traffic when it occurred. Towed to dealership next day and was told the radiator failed and coolant was allowed to enter transmission thus also causing transmission failure. Vehicle had exceeded the 80,000 mile warranty but also found out that warranty had been extended from the original 36,000 mile warranty because of problems. Only the radiator and transmission were issued the 80,000 extended warranty, but my vehicle had 95,994 miles thus no warranty coverage, and repair cost would run $6,900. Contacted Nissan Consumer Affairs but was denied reimbursement. Although dealership worked with me and got the price down to $4,800 this is a major expense to me on a vehicle that should have been taken care of by the Nissan Corp., due to the large number of complaints about this exact problem on vehicles with more than 80,000 miles. Have yet to find any consumer that has been compensated for this problem.

- Hillsville, VA, USA

problem #15

Feb 062012

Frontier 6-cyl

  • 100,865 miles


Transmission cooler failing and contaminating the transmission, repaired transmission cost was more that I can paid, fixed anyway but still not 100% good, haven't bought a new radiator, don't want the same problem again. I hope this will be a recall so I can have my transmission repair by Nissan and a radiator replace.

- Calexico, CA, USA

problem #14

Apr 022012

Frontier 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
2005 Nissan Frontier. Consumer writes in regards to malfunction in the radiator leaking, that resulted in completely damaging the vehicle's transmission

- Greenfield, NY, USA

problem #13

Nov 162010

Frontier 6-cyl

  • 154,000 miles
In November 2010 my transmission failed and had to be replaced. 3 months after having the transmission replaced I started having problems with the new transmission, I discovered I had to have the radiator replaced but it was too late. The new transmission has been ruin due to a faulty radiator install in the 2005 Frontiers by Nissan.

- Elgin, SC, USA

problem #12

Sep 012011

Frontier 6-cyl

  • 95,000 miles
Radiator failed/cracked and coolant leaked into the transmission and destroyed the transmission.

- Gainesville, GA, USA

problem #11

Feb 052012

Frontier 6-cyl

  • 82,800 miles
Was stopped at red light went to pull off transmission slipped and check engine light came on. Had engine checked and it had a code of P1754 for transmission solenoid. Check code on internet and saw where it was a problem Nissan had with a cracked radiator. Took to radiator shop and he said radiator was cracked and fluid from radiator and transmission was mixing together had radiator replaced and took truck to Nissan to have transmission check, they said transmission was damaged by antifreeze and it has to be replaced.

- Brunswick, GA, USA

problem #10

Jan 152012


  • 87,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Nissan Frontier. The contact stated that while driving 35 mph, the check engine warning lamp illuminated. The vehicle was taken to the dealer who diagnosed that transmission fluid entered the radiator and the radiator fluid mixed with the transmission. As a result, the transmission and the radiator would need to be replaced. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure who did not offer any assistance. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure and the current mileage was 87,000.

- New Bedford, MA, USA

problem #9

Nov 182010


  • 62,000 miles
I purchased a 2005 Nissan Frontier in 2006. In 2010 I noticed my service engine soon light came on. I took my truck to a mechanic who put it on the computer to see what is going on. The computer read that the sensors were bad. I replaced all the sensors myself and still have the same problem. I have been reading online that this is a big issue with Frontiers. It's definitely a safety hazard and causes problems when trying to get the truck to pass inspection. There needs to be a warning when an issue like this is happening for consumers.

- Sewell, NJ, USA

problem #8

Nov 012011

Frontier 6-cyl

  • 145,136 miles
On 1 Nov 2001 I was coming back from ajo AZ. When my engine overheated as I was trying to pass a vehicle. About even with the other vehicle transmission started slipping and I noticed that the engine was over heating. I let off the gas and stopped as soon as I could and was almost rear ended.after stopping I discovered no water in radiator.I filled it from a 5 gallon can of water and made it to a gas station.the mechanic on duty told me that the radiator failed internally and that I had water and antifreeze in the transmission.mechanic told me that he had several pathfinders and a few Frontiers with the same problem. I got on line and found hundreds of people with Nissan had the same complaint. I called the Nissan dealer and they said that that was not the case that they would replace the radiator and flush the transmission and it would be good to go. On line peoples complaints that I found said they were told the same and the transmissions still failed. Can I expect a recall to fix this problem?the waranty was up at 98,000 miles.

- Tucson, AZ, USA

problem #7

Aug 112011


  • 80,000 miles
Nissan has not stood behind their product once so ever. Radiator fluid leaked into the transmission causing it to go out. Nissan knew about the problem and did not send out a recall for the problem and never did till this day. Although they choose to on other problems. Its a saftey issue as well and Nissan does not seem to care at all. They went on selling cars like normal and choose to leave there past consumers in the dust. Not working with or caring about us. I work hard for this truck and Nissan does not want to help and wont help one bit. Even though its completely due to a manufacturer flaw by Nissan as a company and they know it! please help!

- Pinson, AL, USA

problem #6

Nov 152009


  • 90,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Nissan Frontier. The contact was driving 35 when the engine exhibited a decrease in rpms followed by the stalling of the engine. The vehicle restarted after the failure but the RPM were still abnormal. The vehicle was taken the dealer where the dealer confirmed that the wiring harness was corroded and needed to be replaced. The manufacturer was contacted and the vehicle was repaired. The failure mileage was 90,000 and the current mileage was 132,000.

- Chicago, IL, USA

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