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:
1 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
1 / 0
Average Mileage:
119,722 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 miscellaneous problems

miscellaneous problem

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2005 Nissan Frontier Owner Comments

problem #9

May 052016


  • 87,000 miles


Takata recall. A poor design led to the engine coolant slowly leaking into the transmission and ruining it causing it to need to be replaced. Nissan said it was not their problem and I had to pay for the whole thing.

- Van Nuys, CA, USA

problem #8

Mar 292016


  • 155,000 miles
Nissan transmission destroyed by engine coolant leak. Had no problem with transmission until one day, shifted into drive and transmission was stuck in higher gear. Thought it was electrical. Turned the car off then back on. Would not engage in reverse, but forward was back to normal. Took to aamco transmission repair and was told this was a common problem with Nissan in that the design flaw allows engine coolant to mix with transmission fluid and destroys the transmission. Cost to replace is estimated at $4100, can not obtain a used transmission because all the same transmissions have the same problem with engine coolant leakage. Vehicle has 155K miles, and did not have any warning signs of transmission problems. Nissan needs to be responsible for their design flaw. This truck which was running fine last week, will now be sold for scrap at a junkyard as I can not afford to repair for $4100. Aamco transmission said junk yards are full of same Nissan due to other owners with the same problem.

- Jacksonville, FL, USA

problem #7

Aug 242015


  • 108,000 miles
My radiator failed and contaminated the transmission with coolant causing the transmission to fail. The truck has 108,000 miles but the technician that replaced the transmission and radiator said that it had been mixing for a while so it is difficult to say how many miles the vehicle had at the time of the failure. It cost me $4750 to repair. This is a common problem with Nissan Frontiers.

- Portland, ME, USA

problem #6

Feb 202015


  • 180,000 miles


Check engine light came on, got scanned at auto zone, all codes referenced transmission & sensors (I.e. cam shaft)...took to geurlich's auto for an inspection and transmission was suggested to be replaced...took it to aamco for an inspection/2nd opinion and same diagnosis, replace/re-build transmission. Finally accumulated the funds to have a mechanic rebuild our transmission and upon return of our vehicle, and unbeknownst to us, he mentioned the know issues/investigation stemming back to 2012 with the radiator leaking into the transmission and causing it to fail, which is ultimately what he felt happened. Since we purchased the vehicle on 08/08/2012 with an odometer reading of 100,340. We would have been entitled to none of the repair options or concessions Nissan offered under the proposed class action, since all were offered only up to 100K miles. The date the investigation was opened according to was 6/11/2012, 2 months prior to our purchase. The dealer at the time should have been well aware of the open investigation and provided us information on it so that we may have made a more informed decision. I feel that this purchase, although 3 years post purchase, falls within the lemon law statutes and warrants reimbursements to us of the cost to re-build the transmission, replace radiator, etc.

- San Tan Valley, AZ, USA

problem #5

Jul 152015


  • 91,298 miles
Coolant contamination destroyed my transmission; clutches, valves, seals, causing corrosion to valve body. Starting with cracked radiator tank. This is an engineering/manufacturing defect. This is a well known trending issue. When I called Nissan usa, they only gave me a 'lecture', a 'case number' and a 'foot in the rear'; they're no help. They justified their convenient bureaucratic bs by telling me that in Oct 2012; a class action lawsuit resulted in the following: Up to 8 years/80,000 miles whatever comes first, extended warranty coverage applies with no customer co-pay. After 8 years/80,000 miles, up to 9 years/90,000 miles, extended warranty coverage applies with customer co-pay in the amount of $2,500. After 9 years/90,000 miles, to 10 years/100,000 miles, whichever comes first, extended warranty coverage applies with customer co-pay in the amount of $3,000. The 'so-called' settlement is really "nothing" because according to data average mileage at which this problem occurs is roughly 95,000 miles and the average repair bill is $3,800. In that instance, Nissan is offering to pay $800 for your trouble, and the vehicle owner gets stuck with the other $3,000. And those who are just hearing about the class-action lawsuit for the first time; the deadline to file a claim has passed. Let it be known once again that this is an engineering/manufacturing contamination toxic defect; irreversible and will eventually kill the transmission in the following vehicles: 2005-2006-2007 pathfinder;...2005-2006-2007 xterra;...2005, 2006, 2007, Frontier. I paid the Nissan dealer $30,000 thousand cash back in 2005 for a truck that already had 120 miles on it (stated on the pink slip). They did not hesitate to extend their 'hungry hand' on that sale.

- Nuevo, CA, USA

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problem #4

Jun 012012


  • 90,000 miles
Nissan's rear axle design for the Frontier is faulty, utilizing a bleeder valve that clogs causing seals to fail. Failed seals cause differential oil to leak leading to axle wear, among other issues. Oil leak also spreads all over breaks leading to possible break failure. My axles were replaced in 2012 (along with breaks due to oil damage), now I'm being told (2015) that axles need to be replaced again. I believe Nissan is aware of the problem but this part failure generates revenue, as the work is costly, and leads to the need for break replacement. There needs to be a recall.

- Quincy, MA, USA

problem #3

Jun 012013

Frontier 6-cyl

  • 143,000 miles


I noticed as I was driving vehicle started to have shaking or vibrating/jerking ( at different speeds), it seems to hesitate when I increase speed. My technician thinks something is going on with transmission or torque converter. Concerned vehicle may break / stop running.

- La Grange, NC, USA

problem #2

Nov 182010

Frontier 6-cyl

  • 128,000 miles
There is defect on all the transmissions of this type and Nissan should must do something about it!

- Springfield , OR, USA

problem #1

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

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