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 1 of 5)

problem #85

Aug 012016


  • miles


2005 Nissan Frontier. Consumer writes in regards to engineering issues with cross contamination fluids between radiator and transmission.

- Melbourne, FL, USA

problem #84

Nov 022015

Frontier 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
2005 Nissan Frontier. Consumer writes in regards to coolant leaks from radiator into transmission.

- Heflin, AL, USA

problem #83

Jul 212015


  • 104,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Nissan Frontier. While parked, the vehicle failed to start. The vehicle was towed to a dealer, who diagnosed that there was contamination by the engine coolant. As a result, the transmission and radiator needed to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The failure mileage was 104,000.

- Port Arthur, TX, USA

problem #82

Jul 152015

Frontier 6-cyl

  • 91,000 miles


Nissan has admitted to faulty radiators in their 05-10 midsize vehicles. Mine being a Frontier but also used in xterra, pathfinders and I believe titans.these radiators when they go, take the transmission with them. 4700 dollar bill later Nissan says I'm 2 months beyond my 10 years and will not honor any help, even though I'm 10K under the 100K mile limit. So because I kept my miles low and have taken care of my pickup I am still at fault for their faulty equipment. My family will ***never*** own another Nissan as long as we live. At anytime they could have said hey for $275 we won't recall these radiators but they are $275 to replace you should do it before it goes and takes the transmission too. [xxx] you Nissan.... poor business. Information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Center Point, IA, USA

problem #81

Apr 302015

Frontier 6-cyl

  • 67,500 miles
My 2005 Nissan Frontier has cross contamination between the radiator and the transmission. Nissan new about this problem years ago. To fix the problem they extended the warranty out to 10 years. Now I need a new radiator and transmission. My cost 3000 dollars. I only had a month left before I was [xxx] out of luck. I have been driving for 35 years and have never had to replace a transmission that only had 67000 miles on it. Poor design and the consumer pays. They wanted to know if I was going to fix it. I told them I had 2 choices fix it or set it on fire. They gave me a strange look. I told them to repair it and I would but Toyota next time. Information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Bristol, CT, USA

problem #80

Apr 012015

Frontier 6-cyl

  • 85,000 miles
Due to a defect known by Nissan, the radiator coolant leaked into the transmission causing transmission failure. Nissan knew about the defect and did nothing to correct it. Instead they added an "extended warranty" that most people will not be able to take advantage of due to years/mileage limitations. I made it into the last bracket, where my co-pay for the repair is $3000 instead of the full $5800. The dealer did not research the warranty and tried to have me pay full price. I will never buy a Nissan again due to their decision not to take responsibility for a known defect.

- Vandergrift, PA, USA

problem #79

Mar 242015

Frontier 6-cyl

  • 84,326 miles


I own a 2005 Nissan Frontier. At about 84365 miles, the transmission started slipping badly. The mechanic said that my transmission cooler had ruptured inside the radiator and coolant had gotten inside the transmission. My transmission was basically destroyed and it cost over $5000 to fix it. After reading other articles about Nissan owners with similar experiences, I think this is outrageous and Nissan should be held accountable for these failures.

- Clarksville, TN, USA

problem #78

Feb 262015


  • 72,000 miles
Vehicle made a noise what sounded like driving over a rumble strip. It then failed to accelerate and I was forced into the breakdown lane on the highway. I had vehicle towed to shop and was informed of the radiator and transmission issue with these vehicles. Radiator fluid leaked into the transmission and now its junk. It will now cost me $3400 to replace the transmission and radiator. I can't believe there isn't a recall out for this issue. This is a complete disregard for consumer protection.

- Lowell, MA, USA

problem #77

Feb 272015


  • 103,000 miles
Transmission began to shudder at speeds 40-50 mph a few weeks ago, feels like going over shallow rumble strips. Did research online and found that the issue is coolant leaking into the transmission fluid.this has been a major issue with all 2005 Nissan Frontiers. My truck has 103, xxx miles. Outside the warranty now. Never new of this warranty and now I'm stuck paying thousands of dollars out of pocket for new transmission and radiator.

- Salem, OR, USA

problem #76

Jan 152015

Frontier 6-cyl

  • 113,500 miles
Transmission began to shudder when in overdrive and at speeds 40-50 mph. Shuddering gradually grew worse and worse. Occasional clank sound when shifting from reverse to forward. Diagnosed at dealer as ruptured heat exchanger in radiator which allowed coolant to enter and contaminate the transmission.

- Alexandria, LA, USA

problem #75

Jan 052015

Frontier 6-cyl

  • 134,000 miles


I was driving on the highway and my truck shutters like going over shallow rumble strips for about 3 weeks. I realized it was my transmission and searched on transmission issues with my truck and found the big one (coolant leaking into the transmission fluid). I immediately flushed the coolant and the transmission fluid, performed the at cooler bypass operation and refilled. I'm now saying my prayers, taking my vitamins, and exercising hoping for the best.

- Sand Springs, OK, USA

problem #74

Jan 202015

Frontier 6-cyl

  • 96,000 miles
Vehicle shudders bad in 5th gear clunking in and out of gear, and unable to maintain speed on highway. Hard up shifts from gears 1 to 2 and 2 to 3. hard down shift clunk from gear 2 to 1. coolant leaked into transmission fluid causing catastrophic failure of transmission and new radiator needed as well.

- Meridian, ID, USA

problem #73

Aug 272013

Frontier 6-cyl

  • 72,469 miles
Trans fluid leaked into radiator.

- Zionsville, PA, USA

problem #72

Sep 012014

Frontier 6-cyl

  • 150,000 miles
At oil cooler internal component of the radiator failed causing transmission fluid to go in to the radiator and coolant to go in to the transmission. Destroying.

- Bellevue , KY, USA

problem #71

Mar 012014

Frontier 6-cyl

  • 116,000 miles
The transmission cooler line leaks coolant into the transmission causing a failure. Nissan has known of this problem for many years and has not notified owners of the need to replace the radiator.

- Knoxville, TN, USA

problem #70

May 082014

Frontier 6-cyl

  • 76,183 miles
Transmission demora en aplicar, esta vaga, no desarrolla velocidad SE encontro que la guagua mezcla aceite de transmission Y coolant en la barilla de aceite Y en el radiador. SE llevo al dealer Y SE nos notifico que era un desperfecto de la guagua Y tuvimos que pagar $3,287.88 ya que la guagua tiene 9 anos Y la garantia era 80,000 millas O 8 anos lo que surgiera primero. Entiendo que no ES justo ya que no ES nuestra culpa del desperfecto que tiene la guagua.

- Bayamon, PR, USA

problem #69

Jul 202014

Frontier 6-cyl

  • 177 miles
If transmission in these trucks are not fixed then someone is going to have an accident due to it. I am lucky I didn't have one thank god for that we are safe. Radiator leak cause failure in transmission radiator was fixed a year ago and was still have some issues with it but was told they think it is normal to feel it slip gears when driving. I trusted them and lost my torque converter while driving on the highway going 100km an hour and had no pickup speed from it. Nissan told me as long as light is not on don't worry about it. While light didn't come on until I had no gears at all. I am not happy about risking my life my husbands life and the life of 2 small kids. One day if Nissan don't take fault for this someone is not going to be so lucky and get hit by another car before they can drifted to safety.

- Caledon, Ontario L7c2k5, MI, USA

problem #68

Jun 272014


  • 80,518 miles
While getting on the freeway, I accelerated to merge with traffic but was unable to gain speed so I got off on the first exit ramp. Had plenty of engine power but lost torque. First thought, must be the transmission slipping. Got home and checked the transmission oil level and it was fine, the oil did not look like transmission oil, it was discolored and had a different feel to it. Was able to get the truck to dealer and was told it needed a radiator and transmission. Coolant had leaked into the transmission. Did my research and found there have been many complaints about this problem. As for the warranty, by which I still have to pay over $2500, I believe Nissan should have had a recall on the 05 Frontier, pathfinder, and paid for the whole repair for their use of what I call defective parts. ( radiator & transmission cooler ).

- Mcallen, TX, USA

problem #67

Jun 302014

Frontier 6-cyl

  • 119,950 miles
Noticed transmission "rumble." Took vehicle to local dealership where I was told there was cross-contamination between the radiator and transmission. Apparently a known issue with this make and model. Informed it would be over $6000 to repair. I have owned the vehicle since 2005 and was never informed of the defect or the pending class-action suit.

- Greeley, CO, USA

problem #66

Jun 202014

Frontier 6-cyl

  • 87,501 miles
I found out a faulty engineered control valve assembly caused radiator and transmission failure in my vehicle. It happened less then a month outside & 7000 mi over the extended warranty. Extension for the warranty to 80,000 was put in place for a class action law suit for this item back in 2010. In 2010 my vehicle did not even have 50,000 so none of this applied to me! nor did Nissan do the right thing and recall my truck prior knowing this part fails after 80000! all the people this happens to after this law suit went down are out of luck because too much time has passed. So, I as a consumer who takes care of their vehicle and keeps low miles, has to pay big money to fix this problem! I called Nissan headquarters to do the right thing. They said because of the judgment of the class action law suit, they can not honor my request to do the right thing. I have to pay $2500 to fix my truck! I asked if I had to sue independently and take to twitter to help my cause? the gal on the other end of the phone (highest person up the chain I could reach) said; "yes mam, I'm sorry mam, but I guess that's what you have to do. My hands are tied by this judgment I can do nothing for you"! I feel completely ripped off and deceived by Nissan!!! is there a possibility you can come to my aid and direct me how I may get this covered? this has become a major hardship!

- Aptos, CA, USA

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