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 1 of 10)

problem #189

Jun 082019

Frontier SE 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 113,000 miles


This problem has been known for a long time and there was a relatively cheap fix for it but I was never informed that a $200 replacement radiator would have prevented a $4000 repair.

- Harvey J B., Palatka, FL, US

problem #188

Feb 282018

Frontier SE 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 147,000 miles

I bought this vehicle used, in excellent condition. One year later, transmission / radiator is going out due to an apparent known issue. Cost quotes are over $4,000, which shops are telling me to just trade it in.. How is Nissan getting away with this?

Update from Mar 19, 2018: I really notice the issue on the freeway with overdrive on. It shutters really badly around 60mph. If I disengage overdrive, it drives smoothly.

- hillya, Roseburg, US

problem #187

Feb 292016

Frontier SE

  • Automatic transmission
  • 125,590 miles

Basically, this is f*cked!! My truck, which I love, is 11 years old, 125,500 miles. Now, I'm barely hearing about this problem. Of course, my extended warranty is no longer. And it appears the class action, which I was never notified, has settled. Thank goodness I work for an attorney!! F*ck Nissan, because I will file my own lawsuit against them!

- Debrah S., Visalia, CA, US

problem #186

May 222017


  • Automatic transmission
  • 128,332 miles


Purchased used 2005 Nissan Frontier. No recalls found on the vehicle. Purchased and Extended Warranty on the Drive Train. Four days before I would have had it a year the transmission was not right. No WARNING. Just had the oil change done and had just had the u joints done and had just checked the fluids myself. Turns out the Radiator Fluid mixed with the Transmission Fluid and the extended warranty would not cover it. Cost to repair quote was $5195.00. With the service help they got it down to $4500.00. The vehicle was still not right and there was a lot of vibration and transmission clunk between Park and Drive and Drive and Park. Just put another 322.00 into having them change the drive line replaced. This Radiator and Transmission problem should have been taken care of with a recall or the class action suit should have been extended to all 2005 Nissan Frontier Trucks or some kind of notice with todays technologies.

- Nancy T., Coram, US

problem #185

Aug 072016


  • Automatic transmission
  • 113,450 miles

known problem, crappy settlement.

tranny completely shot. there were no warning signs.

- Jason G., Myrtle Point, OR, US

problem #184

May 162017

Frontier Nismo

  • Automatic transmission
  • 150,000 miles

I have taken excellent care of this vehicle in the hope that good maintenance would translate into good longevity. Apparently I was wrong. I can not maintain a vehicle that is engineered to self destroy itself! This is not the first incident with this vehicle, but it will definitely be the last!

- Mark M., Guerneville, US

problem #183

Oct 132015

Frontier SE 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 124,000 miles


radiator fluid mixed with the transmission fluid. replaced the radiator and in hopes i caught the problem early and i was wrong. the transmission failed and now the truck is not able to drive.

- jsaucier44, Sterling, US

problem #182

Jan 192017

Frontier Nismo V6 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 107,500 miles

Okay time to add my story to the pile! Thanks a lot Nissan! I still am loyal but seriously you are assholes for not extending that fix to about 110 k miles, you weasels. So I bought the truck which was a trade in. I was excited and in a hurry, I drove from CT to NJ to get the truck. My dad said check that coolant!! Of course I didn't and did not even test drive it. I signed like 7 "as is" papers so I knew I couldn't go back to the dealership or Nissan for help. On the way home the transmission was slipping on the highway. The dealer called to check on me and was like "Oh really its making a noise? well sorry it didn't do that for us" (Assholes). The next day it wouldn't even move sometimes coming off of a complete stop. So yup transmission and coolant fluid mixed due to a broken radiator and the transmission was basically ruined.

I tried 2 partial transmission fluid flushes that revealed the fluid being like purple yogurt, even worse than the strawberry milkshake stage. This helped the transmission issues slightly, but it still produced a grinding noise on the highway upon deceleration as well as hard shifting knocks. I also changed the radiator with my dad. The radiator was full of the purple sludge as well as the coolant reservoir. I managed to salvage and clean out the reservoir. The radiator I replaced with a Denso brand unit. It cost me $125 to do that with my dad. So basically my transmission wasn't being further damaged, but was it too far gone? Yes. The transmission guy said it sounded like my clutch plates lost their friction coating as well as fouled solenoids. I had the guy rebuild the transmission it was $1700 in parts for him and was $2500 with labor. Compared to other people's costs on here it wasn't terrible but still was not fun.

So the point is if you are buying one of these trucks, test drive it, check the fluids for the contamination, change the radiator anyways even if it is the stock one and not broken. If you don't change the radiator then loop the systems so the coolant and transmission fluid stay unable to combine even if there is a break. This may then require adding another small transmission radiator. The truck has other smaller issues, but if you solve or avoid this main one it isn't a bad truck. Every vehicle has issues just check this web site lol.

- Christopher F., Ellington, CT, US

problem #181

Jun 012016

Frontier V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 114,000 miles

I bought this 2005 Nissan Frontier with 109,000 miles in June 2015. Did check Carfax before buying but showed no problems. Drove some in for 6 months & realized problem with overdrive in transmission. Then learned of the problem with coolant mixing with transmission fluid. Called Nissan Customer Service & was told that had been a class action lawsuit but only applied if less than 100,000 miles (so was SOL) in regards to help from Nissan. Had radiator replaced & transmission flushed. Was only a temporary fix. Now it is locked in 3rd gear so will cost me approx. $4500 to get transmission replaced. This was my first Nissan and will be my last!!!!

- Jean M., Roxboro, NC, US

problem #180

Jun 292016


  • Automatic transmission
  • 107,790 miles

Frustrating because it started off intermittent and I had to repeatedly leave the truck with my mechanic and when they opened up the transmission it was rusted so it made them suspicious. They then researched and realized the flawed design and so I had to have the radiator, thermostat and transmission control module and the valve body assembly replaced.

- carolla, San Francisco, CA, US

problem #179

Oct 102016

Frontier Nismo V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 95,698 miles


"Low Down" would be an understatement in describing Mtn. View Nissan of Chattanooga, TN.

My wake up call came yesterday (10-10-16) when I took my 2005 Frontier to be serviced, for what I would describe as the transmission appearing to be slipping.

I bought my truck brand new from them and we had an 11 year relationship in doing business. I've always thought of this dealership as fair and honest until yesterday when it was revealed that they had been deceiving me for the past 11 years.

After a 4 hour wait, what heart break I felt when Service Advisor, Brandon Cobb, informed me that the technician found an innermix between transmission and radiator fluid and the repairs would be $4,877.68, because the transmission needed to be replaced. He also stated that rust was found in my radiator. This is was so puzzling to me since I have maintained the service on my truck since I purchased it. I came so often that I knew a few of them by name.

As I was still waiting, I Googled this problem only to find that Nissan was involved in a class action law suit in 2013 for deceiving customers regarding this same issue. As I read on, it showed that 2005 Frontier's and other Nissan vehicles were involved. There are also many complaints on line against Nissan about the faulty build of the radiator and transmission, which causes the contamination. This leads to transmission failure, as it has in my case.

I mentioned what I found on line to Brandon Cobb and his response to me was that it wasn't his responsibility to tell me that there was an issue with the radiators and transmissions of the make and model of my very truck. He also stated that I should have received information about an extended warranty shortly after I purchased the truck. Once again, that tells me that Nissan and employees knew and deliberately withheld this information once again.

It's also amazing how Brandon and others who have helped me in the past would often come with a check list of things that needed to be serviced in the future. The transmission/radiator issue was never mentioned in 11 years! It wasn't even mentioned when I paid money for routine transmission work in July 2015. Not to mention that my truck only has 95,000 miles and I thought was in good condition. I also felt deceived with the warranty thing. Brandon mentioned that my truck was past the time limit of the warranty. That shows me that I wasn't told expecting my truck to fail after their "so called" warranty had already expired.

In speaking with service manager, he only added fuel to the fire with his arrogant tone. I no longer have trust in a company that treats a loyal customer or anyone in this manner. What a stab in the heart, not even the back!

Nissan, I will never purchase another vehicle from you nor give you my business. I have placed a call to your cooperate office but will go even further because they are one of you. The complaints prove that as well. One day, God will expose your deceitfulness for the world to see. He will break the very back bone of your arrogance and bring to your remembrance of how you built your company on taking advantage of women such as myself!

- Darlene P., Chattan, TN, US

problem #178

Aug 222014

Frontier SE 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 122,000 miles

Was driving home from work going 70 when the truck stopped shifting ..surrounded by a lot of traffic and the truck stalled the transmission got radiator fluid....can't afford the fix was told by Nissan it would be almost 7k to fix...

- Lilia T., San Antonio, TX, US

problem #177

Jul 172016

Frontier SE V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 138,000 miles

I just found out about this issue. My 2005 Nissan Frontier had coolant leak into the transmission and is now costing me $4,200 to get fixed. After reading other comments on this site, not sure that this will even entirely fix the problem in the long run. Now I am out a pile of cash and have to rent a vehicle to get back in forth to work. And of course I am beyond the mileage and timeframe for any benefit of the recall.

We bought my wife a Rogue earlier this year before I knew about this issue. If I could go back knowing what I know right now, I would have never purchased that vehicle for her. I am absolutely disgusted with Nissan and needless to say, we will NEVER purchase another Nissan vehicle after this debacle. I used to think that Nissan was a reputable company that produced reliable, affordable products. Man, was I fooled. Beware to those folks who've not had this issue with their 2005-2010 Nissan vehicles. If it hasn't happened to you yet, it's almost assuredly coming. Get out, now.

- bcaldwellfl, Orange Park, FL, US

problem #176

May 022016

Frontier SE 4L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 118,657 miles

when the problem was discovered nissan could have recalled the trucks affected and added an external transmission cooler

- Dennis W., Orange Park, FL, US

problem #175

May 112015

Frontier LX V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 150,000 miles

My only vehicle. I have two grandbabies that I have responsibility for and my vehicle was the only way I had to frontier started slipping in gear not wanting to would just quit and the transmission would just spin.. I had it checked and was told the transmission way shot.. Was told the radiator had leaked into the cost me $4200.00 to get's a 2005 model and was out of has been fixed a just over a year and since this happened the "check engine" light stays on none of the gages work..and when you are traveling down the highway the transmission will kick in and out of gear then ..the vehicles engine just shuts down ..I have almost gotten hit because of the engine shut down..still being told it was all because of the transmission..can't afford another transmission or a new truck.. Nissian needs to put a recall on this problem.. I have seen dozens of reports on here concerning the same problem...they need to fix this mistake..

Update from May 24, 2016: After having to have the radiator and transmission replace..all the gates quit working..also the engine stalls...just shuts down going down the interstate..the transmission still kicks in and out of gear going 70 mph..wish I could afford a new vehicle...but I can't..the way it is now when I do but a new vehicle it will not be a nessian..and this truck is my 449th Hessian I have bought..never again..

- Kathy C., Hattiesburg, MS, US

problem #174

Apr 102013

Frontier SE 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 85,458 miles

Nissan has lost a lifelong customer with this truck and problem they knew this was a problem with these vehicles and all they did was send a letter telling you that this MIGHT happen to your vehicle, hey Nissan how much is customer loyalty worth ? $200-$300 to replace a radiator before it destroyed the transmission? After all you'll give a $500-$1000 customer loyalty cash off a new vehicle !!! I just have one question Nissan!!!! What moron do you have running that company because you should fire him/her or better yet have them commit harakiri for the dishonor they have brought on this once outstanding car company that created the Hard body and the 620 as well as the 510 and several others WAKE UP NISSAN before it's to late and the only place to see a Datsun/Nissan is in a museum

- Eugene R., Cedarpines Park, CA, US

problem #173

May 162016

Frontier SE 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 62,000 miles

This is my fathers truck. He is 85 and went to the dealer for an inspection. On the way there he incurred a bad vibration and eventually the dealer told him of the problem. He was presented with a 8100.00 estimate for the failed transmission, radiator, timing chain, etc. my father always keeps his truck serviced by the dealer, always garage kept, and is always getting compliments on how good it looks.

How Nissan didn't provide a recall for this problem is beyond me. I spoke with Nissan N America and waiting for a return phone call. His truck only has 62,000 miles on it and the repair cost is more than the book value of the truck. Not good. I'm not expecting much help from Nissan

Update from May 20, 2016: Found a transmission shop in Stroudsburg PA who will do the job. 1,000.00 cheaper than Nissan and comes with a 3 year 36,000 mile full parts and labor warranty

Rebuild trans, add another external trans cooler, new radiator, flush radiator expansion tank.

At the least Nissan should have done this at cost

- Thomas P M., Centereach, NY, US

problem #172

Jun 032014

Frontier Se 4x4 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 105,846 miles

I took it to Aamco to have them check it out, it was a free diagnostic. They told me the problem. So then I took it to Nissan and they wouldn't check it unless I paid $120.00 for them to diagnose the problem. I showed Nissan my paperwork from Aamco and paperwork I found on the internet stating what the problem is, but Nissan still wanted my $$$ for them to tell me what I already knew. I then called Nissan headquarters and they told me I have to go back to have Nissan diagnose the problem. They were NO help. NISSAN as a whole SUCKS!!!

- Rich F., Calimesa, CA, US

problem #171

Apr 042016

Frontier SE 4L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 116,587 miles

I have driven Nissan cars and trucks since 1985. a 1985 Nissan was the best car I ever had this 2005 is the worst vehicle I have ever owned. numerous problems oil pressure, fuel tank, timing chain, radiator, transmission. Repair cost so far this year $4,700.00

- Dennis W., Orange Park, FL, US

problem #170

Jan 082015

Frontier SE

  • Automatic transmission
  • 90,099 miles

I think it's shameful for Nissan to sidestep this problem. There is no way any car or light truck manufacturer should be able to dismiss this problem the way Nissan has. I consider my truck as still having low mileage (especially when your talking transmissions) and that based on how many of these trucks have the same problems Nissan should step up to the plate.

- Doug K., Courtenay, BC, Canada

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