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.


pretty bad
Typical Repair Cost:
Average Mileage:
104,000 miles
Total Complaints:
189 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. replace radiator and transmission (122 reports)
  2. not sure (22 reports)
  3. replace radiator and transmission due to oil contaminati (14 reports)
  4. replace transmission (7 reports)
  5. fix it and compensate owners for full expense (5 reports)
  6. extended warranty announced by Nissan on 10/15/10 (4 reports)
2005 Nissan Frontier transmission problems

transmission problem

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2005 Nissan Frontier Owner Comments (Page 9 of 10)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #29

Jun 012011

Frontier LE V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 70,000 miles


We bought our 2005 Frontier brand new from the dealership. It ran great until this past summer, when it began bucking at highway speeds. Took it to Norris Nissan West in Ellicott City MD who said it needed a trans flush, which we had done. It ran great for another month or 2, then on our way to vacation in the mountains, it started bucking again. Called Nissan back, but due to monetary issues was unable to take truck in for service. I recently checked the transmission fluid and noticed it was purple. Right away I knew the radiator had cracked and was leaking coolant into transmission. I have an appointment with Norris Nissan tomorrow. We'll see what they say.

- Kristie B., baltimore, MD, US

problem #28

Jun 082011

Frontier SE

  • Automatic transmission
  • 140,000 miles

Obviously a design flaw. Nissan should have recalled these transmissions as soon as they new it would be a problem

- Craig A., Columbia, SC, US

problem #27

Mar 012011


  • Automatic transmission
  • 100,000 miles

I purchased a 2005 Nissan Frontier in September of 2005, i really enjoyed my new truck. It was working great until this last year of 2010 it started giving me problems when i first drove it to Lake Tahoe. Just a few months ago i began to notice that it would vibrate when i would press on the gas, which worried me. I thought it must be a small problem, so then after a while it did it even more. The light showed up to check engine. I took it to a mechanic and was told that there was a problem with the radiator and transmission line. Coolant was going into the transmission. He supposedly fixed the problem, it was ok for two weeks then it began to vibrate and at this point it would only run to 45 miles on the freeway. I found another mechanic that guaranteed his work, he said he found the problem with the transmission and i paid him. He said this problem would still occur but only for two days then it would be fine. I guess he had programed the transmission. Two days passed and the problem didn't go away, on my way back from the Oakland hills i was stranded on the side of the freeway. Therefore had a tow truck come get me and the vehicle, was taken back to the mechanic. Soon after the mechanic took it to Nissan Dealership and they are working on it. I have not yet got my truck back and this problem has been stressing me out, i've been having to depend on other people to borrow their vehicles. I need a lawyer this is a rip off

- Ana M., Bay Point, CA, US

problem #26

Jul 152011

Frontier SE 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 80,500 miles


Nissan needs to put a recall out for this problem. My 05 Nissan Frontier with 80,500 miles on it should not be having these types of problems. Because Nissan is making faulty vehicles I have paying on a truck for almost five months now that I can't even drive. This is more than unacceptable. Nissan needs to suck up and bite the bullet. If they would fix things like this when it happens and take care of customers they wouldn't all be going to the nearest Toyota dealership because that is where I am headed.

- stevenn, Tulsa, OK, US

problem #25

Apr 012011

Frontier SE 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 82,000 miles

Love/ Hate relationship had the truck for 2 months, One day woke up went to my truck started it and put it in drive pressed on the gas BLAAAAAA f'in truck goes to limp mode, max 15mph made it to the dealership, get there truck gets in the shop sits there for a day or so then they tell me needs a tranny because of crap tranny cooler. Now I got stuck with a $7000 DOLLAR BILL. I complained and made them take a grand off it. If I wanted Tranny issues I would have bought a Dodge. ):0 PLEASE NISSAN RECALL THIS PROBLEM!!!!!!!!! AND THEN TO MAKE IT WORSE THEY GAVE ME A CUBE

Update from Apr 28, 2012: Well still have the truck and am currently replacing the timing chain. It sucks that I love this truck so much but after all the time and effort I am gonna keep it till it dies.

- bromano1, Coquitlam, BC, canada

problem #24

Aug 202011

Frontier Nismo V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 89,000 miles

Nissan as a Company...huh, where do I even begin. I bought a 2005 Nissan frontier Nismo 4x4 and it was good for about 3 years then started to come apart on me. First it was the rear end, then radiator, then transmission, then check engine light always on. Always something wrong with it. Nissan stuck it to me like everyone else. and just like everyone put on all these forums. Everyone's story is the same. Same song and dance. Nissan wont stand behind their products and I'm sick of it. They made all these model's and then sold them them. (Which is me.) Then moved on to other models along the way and left the past buyers with NISSAN' burden. Which is not doing anything to help past consumers. Thanks Nissan you really helped a lot. SYK.... you did nothing and you won't do anything to help. Well what comes around goes around and you'll be out of business soon enough.

- Nicholas W., Pinson, AL, US

problem #23

Jul 272011

Frontier Nismo 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 110,000 miles


I had been having problems with the transmission for months. After replacing fluids it seemed to work fine. Then one morning I go out to crank it up & it would not start. The radiator had ruptured & the fluids had gotten into the transmission. This caused the electrical to short out. After replacing the radiator the nissan dealership states that the cost would be $7,830.32. This was to replace the transmission, the electronic control panel & the wiring harness (that it burnt up). Nissan states it will not fix. The only results I received was when I filed it on my insurance & they totaled the Nissan.

- channing, Lumberton, NC, US

problem #22

Dec 292010

Frontier Nismo 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 105,000 miles

I'm a hardworking American who bought a 2005 Nissan frontier nismo 4x4 in 2006 as an investment in a solid work/play vehicle for the future...I was hoping. Instead I bought a lemon. First off, the fuel economy was nowhere what they claimed it would be. The check eng. light went off and i had a mechanic tell me it was the 02 sensors and he replaced them for $435.00. My light went off again later that day and the same mechanic said it was the fuel system. My fuel gauge had been malfunctioning for quite a while and he said that was the problem Then the fuel sending unit failure which the dealer said would cost 1,000 to fix because I would have to replace the fuel pump as it was all one unit. I decided to wait to fix the problem as it was past the warranty. I still had about a year until It would need to be smogged . Then I started having a shuddering in the transmission and took it in for a service. They said it was ok and the shuddering continued on and off. Then for the first time the truck started heating up and when I checked the radiator fluid I noticed oil from the transmission.Oh ya transmission oil in the radiator fluid and radiator fluid in the transmission.

I parked the piece of crap and went to my classic 82 Subaru Brat for a while. When I got enough money I replaced the radiator myself and also fixed the fuel sending unit myself for 90 bucks. By the can just replace the fuel sending unit on it own. It needed to be smogged so I took it and they said both cats were bad. This cost me $1,970 to replace both sides and smogg this lemon mostly because I live in Ca.

Then I got my sticker from the DMV and drove straight down to have the transmission flushed and they said they would flush it out but it was bad and needed to be rebuilt. So far they are up to $3,300 for that job. This sucks. Of course the dealership won't do anything for me and Nissan USA won't either. I'm gona spend the rest of my days badmouthing Nissan and Coast BMW Nissan in SLO.

- skippy, Morro Bay, CA, US

problem #21

Dec 172010

Frontier V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 105,000 miles

In December 2010 my 05 Frontier began sporadically vibrating around 40-45 MPH when shifting in and out of overdrive. The problem eventually became worse and after taking it to a Nissan dealership I was informed that a defect in the radiator caused it to leak. Consequently, the radiator failed to cool the transmission causing it to then fail. The radiator leaked fluid into the transmission and the transmission leaked fluid into the radiator. This is NOT good!! I was told the only remedy is to replace both the transmission and the radiator.... $5250!! Since, I have placed a call to 1-800-NISSAN1 and have had no luck. They refuse to accept responsibilty and their only reasoning behind it is that I have exceeded the warranty on the radiator. A warranty that they extended to 80,000 miles after they noticed the issue but yet failed to inform me (and as far as I know millions of other Nissan owners) of the problem. The warranty was extended in 2010. Again my truck is a 2005, therefore, it was 5 years old and over the 80,000 miles. Still, Nissan refused to provide any help.

This is absurd to me. How an auto maker that prides itself on making quality vehicles that last a very long time and exceptional customer service can so easily refuse to provide any resolution. How an auto maker of their caliber and reputation can be so morally inept. They have offered me NOTHING! Not an apology, not a value on a trade-in, not a compromise on the price to fix. NOTHING! I refuse to accept this and will fight this as long and as hard as I can. I guarantee that if I have the problem fixed it will NOT be done by Nissan and I will NEVER purchase another Nissan vehicle in my lifetime. What is so dispicable is that I feel Nissan could care less if I'm one less customer of their's or not.

- Jason W., Charleston, SC, US

problem #20

Sep 232011

Frontier SE V6 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 101,471 miles

I started feeling the transmission vibrate at about 45mph. I did a little investigating on the internet and found this forum,, and every person that had a comment had the exact same problems i was having with mine. So i took the suggestion to bypass the trans cooler til i could afford to look farther into the problem. I then went to the Nissan dealership near my house and asked about this problem. They told me they could not do anything because i was out of the 80,000 mile warranty. The dealership told me to contact Nissan North America. They told me that i needed to get the truck diagnosed. I did, and on the report its says, "C/S feels a vibration in the transmission at about 45 mph. Test drove for customers concern. Duplicated vibration when driving. Also felt shift shock when changing gears - hard shifting. checked radiator for possible contamination with transmission fluid. Found pink sludge in radiator indicative of trans cooler leaking into radiator. Recommend replacing transmission and radiator to resolve."

That is was the dealership found. I then called Nissan North America back and told them i got the diagnostic done and they told me they would contact me in a few days about my complaint. Then 2 hours later i get a call about my complaint and the lady says she needs the dealership to fax the diagnostic the dealership made to Nissan North America. She then stopped me and asked about my truck and asked if i bought it at about 86,000 miles, i said yes. Then asked if i got the truck checked at 101,471 miles, i said yes. Then she asked if i do all my own maintenance/take the truck to an independent shop, i said yes. She then goes, "well i can tell you that Nissan is going to nothing to help you with this problem because you bought the out of the 80,000 mile warranty, it now has 101,000 miles on it and its never been maintained at the dealership." I argued with her for a bit but it was useless so i just hung up.

So this weekend i changed the transmission fluid and filter, MYSELF, and it has delayed the problem for now, but i know it is going to fail sooner or later. I cannot afford to drop 5 grand on a new radiator and transmission right now to fix the problem so i am just trying to delay it because i dont own another car, nor can i afford to buy another one. i plan on replacing the radiator in a few weeks when i get the money so at least i can remove the bypass on the trans cooler. hopefully that will help it last longer.

- James A., Burlington, NC, US

problem #19

Oct 122011

Frontier LE V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 86,000 miles


This is unbelievable. Prior to owning this truck I have always purchased Toyota's, and have NEVER had a problem. I have had more recalls and inconveniences with this truck than any other vehicle I have ever owned.

As of right now, I am joining the ranks of those who are desperate for Nissan to "man-up" and back their product. At this point, I have no idea what this is going to cost, but I am being told that my radiator has leaked into the transmission. Therefore, I need a new radiator and am still waiting to hear about the damage to the transmission. After reading some of the other stories on this site, my optimism is gone. I feel like I need to get this fixed as cheap as possible and get rid of the truck. I feel completely and totally duped by Nissan.

- pennga, Austell, GA, US

problem #18

Dec 152010

Frontier LE 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 59,000 miles

I seem to have the same problem as many others. Transmission cooler ruptured in radiator and contaminated my transmission. I took it in to my Nissan dealer and they replaced the radiator, under warranty, and made me pay labor and parts. They assured me that we caught it in time and the transmission would be okay. This needs to addressed by Nissan because they're deffinately aware of the situation. A recall of all affected vehicles should be the least they could do.

- jmallams, Newcastle, WY, US

problem #17

Feb 162011

Frontier SE V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 107,371 miles

Took my truck to Peltier in Tyler for a ECM Relay Recall. Mechanic looked at truck and found that the radiator transmission cooler was leaking anti freeze into my transmission. Was told to replace radiator immediately and flush transmission. Did this however transmission went into limp mode and progressively got worse. A mechanic replaced the valve body and checked the clutch packs in the transmission. Drove okay until now. Now the torque converter seems to be going out and the vehicle will go into the limp mode. I have to disconnect the battery to reset the code and it will drive okay for about 10 miles and the Service Engine Light goes on. When this happens the vehicle goes into the limp mode. My mechanic told me that he thinks the torque converter is shot and will have to be replaced.

Update from Jul 15, 2011: My mechanic pulled the transmission yesterday (07/13/2011) to R & R the torque converter. While the transmission was on the bench, he opened the tranmission pan and discovered metalic parts in the pan and on the valve body and throughout the transmission. He said that the will require a complete overhaul.
Six months ago, he replaced the radiator, drained the transmission fluid, and had to replace the valve body which was shot due to cross contamination of the coolant mixing with the tranmission fluid. The torque converter was not changed since I decided to take a gamble. Well I lost the gamble and so because of a defective radiator, I am now having the torque convertor replaced and the transmission overhauled. I strongly urge Nissan to step up to the plate and make this right by reimbursing the parts and labor costs because of their negligence of not informing Nissan owners of the major defective radiator problem. Had they let me know about this when it was discovered, I would have promplty taken care of the vehicle and had the radiator replaced immediately. Now because of their negligence they now have a very disatisfied truck owner who will never ever purchase another Nissan again unless they offer a workable solution! IN SHORT, THEIR NEGLIGENCE IN DEALING WITH THIS PROBLEM IS UNACCEPTABLE!

Update from Jul 24, 2011: Took my truck to Peltier in Tyler for an ECM Relay Recall. Mechanic looked at truck and found that the radiator transmission cooler was leaking anti-freeze into my transmission. Was told to replace radiator immediately and flush transmission. Did this however transmission went into limp mode and progressively got worse. A mechanic replaced the valve body which cost over $1000 for the part alone and checked the clutch packs in the transmission. Clutch packs checked okay however the mechanic could not guarantee that the torque converter was okay. Vehicle seemed to drive okay after the repair. Now the torque converter seems to be going out and the vehicle will go into the limp mode. I have to disconnect the battery to reset the code and it will drive okay for about 10 miles and the Service Engine Light goes on. When this happens the vehicle goes into the limp mode. My mechanic told me that he thinks the torque converter is shot and will have to be replaced.

Update as of 07/192011 - Mechanic replaced my torque converter and rebuilt transmission. The old torque converter came apart and after pulling the transmission, he saw a lot of metallic shavings on the screen on the valve body. While driving to work on 07/22/2011, I was driving around 70 MPH with the cruise control on. All of a sudden my RPM gauge redlined and my transmission went into neutral. I immediately released the cruise control by tapping the brake pedal. With no shoulder on the road at my location, an 18 wheeler was quickly coming up on my rear. I put my flashers on and was able to coast to an exit. The 18 wheeler came within inches of my rear end. Now my Frontier is in Dunn's transmission shop in Tyler, TX to be repaired. As of this writing, the problem has not been diagnosed but I am sure the problem will be in the valve body since something caused the transmission to go into neutral. Probably some metallic material got inside something in the valve body which was replaced in March 2011.

Update from Oct 4, 2011: On February 16th, 2011, I took my Nissan Frontier to a Nissan dealer in Tyler, Texas for an ECM Module recall. A mechanic at the dealership informed did an unscheduled inspection of my truck and informed me that my radiator transmission cooler was cracked. He told me that I needed to fix this immediately, however when told about the costs to do this job I decided to have my mechanic work on this problem immediately. On February 17th 2011, I went to a local United Auto Parts in Tyler and purchased a radiator, coolant, transmission fluid, and a transmission gasket. My personal mechanic agreed to do the job which is about 1/3 of the cost that the Nissan Dealer would charge. Tony (my mechanic) is a Master Certified ASE mechanic and I have known him since 1998. Okay, so on February 18th 2011, he did a R & R on the radiator, drained the transmission fluid, and flushed the transmission. Yes, there was indeed a pretty good amount of ethylene gycol in the transmission and in the radiator overflow bottle. So after the job was complete the truck seemed to drive okay for about a month. In early March, the truck developed a problem. The transmission "Service Engine Soon" light went on. Then the transmission went into a "limp" mode (according to Tony). What happened was that for some reason or another, when I tried to drive my truck, it took off in 3rd or 4th (not sure) gear. I would not downshift. To fast forward things, Tony troubleshot the truck and determined that the transmission valve body was shot. So on March 11th 2011, I purchase a new valve body which cost $1052.14. Plus I purchase new transmission fluid and Lube Guard. The total cost with labor came to over $1500.

The truck has been driving great until last week. On July 5th, my transmission "Service Engine Soon" light went on. Tony now has instructed me to purchase a new torque converter and a transmission rebuild kit and new transmission fluid along with another bottle of lube guard. Cha Ching! I estimate that this is going to run around another $1500 plus after all labor cost are incurred. In conclusion, I purchase my 2005 Frontier in December 2007 when it had only 66,000 miles. If Nissan would have sent me a recall on the radiator when this was discovered, I would have promptly replaced it. Now I am a victim of circumstance paying the price for their negligence of not notifying me of this.

Update from May 17, 2016: As of this date, I still have the 2005 Nissan Frontier and Nissan has not offered 1 single penny for the time and money I spent in doing the repair. Just want everyone to know that Nissan is the worst when it comes to customer service and satisfaction. They have had several years to make things right and they have chosen to ignore the problem. It will be my last Nissan ever.

- jimmaub, Lindale, TX, US

problem #16

Mar 102008

Frontier V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 59,994 miles

Transmission is shot because of the radiator transmission line ruptured mixing engine coolant and transmission fluid.Took to Fred Martin Nissan to report the slipping and clunking only to be turned away and told that there was no problem, twice in a 6 week period. Took to local mechanic and he drained trans. fluid and uncovered the problem. Nissan dealership still denied any problem or wrongdoing. Received letter from nissan admitting to this problem in 2010 and when I made efforts to resolve, they rejected all solutions. Truck now sits with blown transmission and possible engine damage. Letter with instructions on warranty extension is useless. Nissan consumer Affairs rejected my requests as well.

Will never buy another Nissan and am telling everyone I know and don't know about this crime. Spread the word and save consumers a lot of grief.

- Chris M., Alliance, OH, US

problem #15

Apr 112011

Frontier LE

  • Automatic transmission
  • 87,000 miles

Frontier started vibration when shifting. Took immediately to grapevine Nissan to have it serviced. Received estimate for repair $6500.00 which included replacement of both radiator and transmission. Submitted complaint via internet to Nissan Corp. Received response several days later that it was out of warranty and they could not help. They did refer to Regional Specialist "Hope" who would check into any further actions. One week later made many phone calls and finally received response... Nothing they can do... I have having it repaired by dealership with used parts for $3600.00.

With exception of the Service Manager I found the people who represent Nissan slow or non responsive. I find it reprehensible that Nissan would not stand in any way behind the vehicle. I find it very surprising the number of complaints about this issue and Nissan not have a recall. This is not only costly but a safety hazard!

- B A., Argyle, TX, US

problem #14

Jun 012010

Frontier LE 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 75,000 miles

Nissan has known about this problem for some time. I have serviced my vehicle regularly and first reported a vibration in the transmission which later became a shuddering. When reported to the mechanic, I was told nothing was wrong. In December 2010, after researching the issue on my own, I took it back to the dealership and again I was told it was probably nothing. I told them that I believed that transmission fluid was being mixed with coolant. Finally the dealership confirmed my suspicions. I contacted Nissan Consumer Complaints and they denied any help. When they extended the warranty in Oct. 2010 my vehicle had over 80,000 but the initial complaint occurred back around 57,000 miles.

- toddc34jd, Red Springs, NC, US

problem #13

Apr 012011

Frontier Nismo 4x4 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 105,000 miles

Basically the transmission cooler went out and took the radiator and transmission with it. Dealer said it would be over 7000.00 to repair. Nissan offered no help with the repair. Even charged me for the towing and diagnosing the problem. Last Nissan I will ever buy. What a piece of junk!! Had the extended warranty but was 5000 miles outside of warranty. Had transmission work done on the truck in the past. Never again!!!!

- jdb1170, Snellville, GA, US

problem #12

Feb 022010


  • Automatic transmission
  • 82,704 miles

The radiator leaked and the fluids from the transmission merged. Major problems. Radiator has been replaced. Now the transmission will have to be rebuilt or replaced.

Nissan not helpful.

- Sandy K., Vero Beach, FL, US

problem #11

Sep 062010

Frontier SE V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 70,000 miles

I have a 2005 Nissan Frontier pick-up. I was informed today that my transmission was shot and that the repair bill would be $4,200.00 for a "re-manufactured" transmission. Everything I've read today suggests that this is an ongoing problem with Nissans, Nissan is very well aware of it, and that they are unwilling to address it. Currently looking at the class action options that may be available.

Update from Feb 11, 2011: To be fair, once I found out about Nissan extending the radiator warranty to 80k miles, I contacted South Charlotte (NC) Nissan. They confirmed what my mechanic found and replaced my radiator and transmission at no charge. I was very pleased about how Nissan and my local dealership handled this situation. The service department personnel couldn't have been nicer or more professional.

- Chris M., Charlotte, NC, US

problem #10

Jun 012010


  • Automatic transmission
  • 70,000 miles

Dealer service department was not helpful at all Never going or recommending Middletown Nissan 2 Frontiers and one pathfinder Nissan Sucks.

Does anyone know if there's a way that i can get my money back even if i no longer own the Nissan????

- ricardof, Middletown, NY, US

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