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.


really awful
Crashes / Fires:
3 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
3 / 0
Average Mileage:
92,312 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

problem #14

Apr 122016


  • miles


Timing chain on 2005 Nissan Frontier. The engine makes a loud whining noise due to the chain contact. When the vehicle is stationary or motion it make the noise. When the vehicle in motion it changes gears at a higher RPM. I have sensors that were operable because of the timing chain issue.

- Gibsonton, FL, USA

problem #13

Jan 022016


  • 97,668 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Nissan Frontier. While driving, the vehicle was not able to shift gears and the gears were stuck occasionally. In addition, the vehicle accelerated independently. The vehicle was taken to a dealer where the failure was undetermined. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was not notified of the failures. The approximate failure mileage was 97,668.

- Orlando, FL, USA

problem #12

Feb 232015

Frontier 4-cyl

  • 122,000 miles
My car starts and idle but do not accelerate the ipdm is not working perfectly.

- Las Vegas, NV, USA

problem #11

Jul 312014

Frontier 6-cyl

  • 102,000 miles


On my truck I experienced a sudden loss in power and throttle response while driving without warning, as the transmission failed to shift gears properly. After spending $100 for a diagnostic from a mechanic it was found that my transmission cooler reservoir is leaking in my radiator and caused cross contamination between my antifreeze and atf. The antifreeze is getting into my transmission and boiling once the transmission reaches operating temperatures. The antifreeze vapor is then causing the transmission clutches and bands to not be able to engage correctly, and therefore not being able to shift up and down through the gears properly. I just about got hit trying to turn left out onto the road in front of cross traffic. I avoided an accident, but this happened with no warning. This fix is going to cost me anywhere from $500 to $5,000 to fix depending on the extent of the damage the antifreeze in my transmission caused. I just read that a few years ago Nissan extended the warranty due to this, and I am past that point, but this is still unacceptable at only 102,000 miles. Nissan should have recalled this and fixed it when it was just a couple hundred dollars for a new radiator years ago. Lastly, my truck without issues was worth nearly $8K in its condition, now Iżżll have trouble getting a dealer to pay anything in trade-in value if I choose to not fix the truck.

- Toledo, OH, USA

problem #10

Jul 152013

Frontier 6-cyl

  • 100,000 miles
I was driving on kingery highway in villa park when I stopped for traffic. When I tried to accelerate after the traffic was moving, the lights on the dashboard turned on and the truck would only accelerate to less than 1 mph. This could have caused a serious accident.

- Elmhurst, IL, USA

problem #9

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 #8

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 #7

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 #6

Feb 092013

Frontier 6-cyl

  • 110,000 miles
While traveling on the #1 lane at approximately 70mph on the 60 East freeway close to the intersection of the 57 North freeway connector, I lost full power and was forced to make an emergency exit narrowly missing several trucks and cars in the process. After limping home and letting the vehicle sit for a few days, I took the truck to puente hills Nissan complaining that I lose power once the transmission comes to temperature and that I needed them to asses the damage at a cost to me of $130. Their evaluation eventually concluded that the radiator had ruptured causing coolant to leak into the transmission thereby damaging it beyond repair. They quoted me approximately $4,500 for the repair which mainly included labor, tax, a replacement transmission, a new radiator, and all necessary hoses and parts. I was able to drive the vehicle but approximately 1.5 miles from my home, I lost power once again and was forced to have the vehicle towed the rest of the way. The vehicle is no longer safe to drive at all at this point.

- Diamond Bar, CA, USA

problem #5

Apr 222012

Frontier 6-cyl

  • 95,634 miles
Nissan has a know radiator problem. Internal leakage into the transmission cooler. Causes catastrophic transmission failure. Pulling away from stop sign. Transmission shifted hard twice. Then had no forward motion, engine would rev up, but not move the vehical. Truck has 100,000 mile Nissan extended powertrain warranty. Was first told by the dealer. 100% covered. Less than an hour later, was told not covered. Cost $5000 plus. Contacted Nissan customer service. Gabby at Nissan siad they would look into it. Took a week for them to finally call back. They asked me to cover $2000. They would not cover the whole bill, even though it is a known defect. And the truck has the extended warranty. I paid $2192.43 to have the transmission and defective radiator replaced. Asked if the radiator was an updated part. Waiting on a call to find out if it is a better radiator or just a new one with the same defect. Right now. Its a ticking time bomb, if the failure occured in traffic on an interstate, a major crash could have happened.

- Cedar Rapids, IA, USA

problem #4

Feb 012011


  • 82,000 miles


The contact owns a 2005 Nissan Frontier. While driving approximately 55 mph, the check engine warning light illuminated. The vehicle was taken for refueling and when the vehicle was restarted, the fuel level gauge displayed an inaccuratly low reading of fuel. The failure recurred sporadically and in addition, the contact stated that the when depressing the accelerator pedal, the pedal would intermittently become stuck in a partially open throttle position. The vehicle was not taken to have the failures diagnosed nor was the vehicle repaired. The failure mileage was 82,000 and the current mileage was 83,000.

- Talcott, WV, USA

problem #3

Mar 072011


  • 71,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Nissan Frontier. The contact stated that the driver of the vehicle was driving 10 mph and attempting to enter a parking space when the vehicle abnormally accelerated. She was unable to maintain control of the vehicle as the vehicle independently jumped the sidewalk and crashed into the cement wall of the school building. The front driver side airbag deployed yet the contact sustained injuries to the face, legs and back. The vehicle was towed to the dealer but was not diagnosed for the failure nor repaired. The failure and the current mileage was 71,000.

- Lakeville, IN, USA

problem #2

Jan 232011


  • 95,200 miles
Cruise control set at 50 mph, and as car started incline, accelerator engaged abruptly and RPM increased to maximum. Multiple attempts to brake and regain control of vehicle. Truck went off road on curve and head on collision with tree occurred. Driver had both feet on brake, yet was unsuccessful in slowing vehicle.

- Royal, AR, USA

problem #1

May 132009


  • 57,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Nissan Frontier. While driving 25 mph, the vehicle accelerated on its own. The failure occurs when stopping or slowing down. The dealer inspected the vehicle, but could not remedy the failure. While at a restaurant drive-thru, the vehicle lunged forward on its own and crashed into a pillar. A police report was filed. The contact sustained injuries to his right knee and back. He took the vehicle back to the dealer and is waiting for the manufacturer to decide if they will repair the vehicle. The current mileage was 62,200 and failure mileage was 57,000.

- Hauula, HI, USA

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