Notes: The 2005-2007 Pathfinder appears to have a widespread defect where coolant leaks into the transmission, causing transmission failure around 90,000 miles. Repair costs are typically upwards of $3,500.

According to the New York Times & a class action lawsuit, the defect actually extends through 2010 model year. More info here.


hardly worth mentioning
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
83,921 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 Pathfinder cooling system problems

cooling system problem

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2005 Nissan Pathfinder Owner Comments (Page 1 of 4)

problem #64

Jul 282011


  • 85,850 miles


My 2005 Nissan Pathfinder was losing speed especially when passing vehicles on the highway, the 2005 Nissan Pathfinder would not go into reverse. I noticed that the car was not running properly for over 3 weeks. I took the Pathfinder to a transmission expert and they did diagnostic tests and the expert said that the radiator had a hole in it and radiator fluid went into the transmission and the transmission was gone. He showed me the transmission stick that showed me that radiator fluid mixed in with the transmission fluid. The transmission expert said that they have seen a number of Nissan Pathfinders with the same problem. A week later, I took my 2005 Nissan Pathfinder to another transmission expert for a second opinion, this expert did the diagnostics and confirmed that the radiator had a hole in it that allowed for radiator fluid to go into the transmission. He also stated that they have seen a number of 2005 Nissan Pathfinders with the same problem and he recommended that I go to a Nissan dealership to see what they say. I went sheehy Nissan in glen burnie, md in which they did a diagnostic test and found that coolant mixing with the trans fluid causing improper shifting. The recommendations were to replace the trans assembly, radiator, and trans cooler. The service manager told me that Nissan had an extended warranty on the radiator for 80, 000 miles or up to 2013. I had 85,000 miles on my 2005 Nissan Pathfinder. I called Nissan usa and told them the problem and faxed the diagnostic invoice to them. Two weeks later they told me that they would pay for the parts and I would have to pay for the labor. Luckily, my insurance company paid for the radiator, trans, and trans cooler. Nissan has known about this problem for and refuses to do a recall on the radiator and this is unacceptable! this affects 2005-2007 Nissan Pathfinders and this is a safety hazard if the vehicle trans stalls or shuts off while driving on highways and roads. A recall is needed!

- Glen Burnie, MD, USA

problem #63

Aug 122011

Pathfinder 6-cyl

  • 121,206 miles
2005 Nissan Pathfinder radiator assembly & transmission defect my 2005 Pathfinder was diagnosed with the Nissan noted radiator assembly defect. Radiator coolant and transmission fluid are mixing.

- Littleton , MA, USA

problem #62

Jun 032011

Pathfinder 4WD 6-cyl

  • 99,000 miles
Radiator leaks into transmission causing transmission to mess up. Nissan is aware of the issue and told me it happens on higher mileage Pathfinder but they only extended the warranty to 80,000 miles. I researched the 2005 Nissan Pathfinder and found that this is an ongoing problem that occurs with this year and model. I feel there should be a recall on this problem and Nissan should be held accountable.

- Tyler, TX, USA

problem #61

Jun 112011

Pathfinder 6-cyl

  • 100,000 miles


I am filing this complaint since Nissan does not do anything with the problem to be fixed, I have a 2005 Nissan Pathfinder, when were on the road our car is having trouble shifting starts jerking, and were so scared that will not make it home because the way its acting we finally made it home and the ca would not reverse we look online and search what' causing the problem and read a bunch of complaint with the consumer at stating that the reason for the problem is the radiator fluid leaked into the transmission that causing the transmission to burn, called around with a bunch of auto mechanic and when I mention that I need my transmission replace the mechanic immediately said you know you need your radiator replace because that is causing your transmission problem I filed a complaint with Nissan and denied the complaint this should be in the recall because this is dangerous if you weren't aware of the problem if your on the road hope you can help us with this problem.

- Bealeton, VA, USA

problem #60

Apr 012010


  • 150,000 miles
The contact owns 2005 Nissan Pathfinder. The contact stated that the vehicle transmission and radiator failed. The vehicle was taken to the dealer who diagnosed that the transmission coolant had leaked into the radiator and the radiator fluid leaked into the transmission. As a result, both the radiator and transmission needed to be replaced. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure who did not offer any assistance since the vehicle was out of warranty. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure and current mileage was 150,000. The VIN was not available.

- Mandeville , LA, USA

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problem #59

Dec 012010


  • 99,000 miles
2005 Nissan Pathfinder radiator coolant leaked into transmission, ruining it. They need to recall this. The way they designed the radiator ends up ruining the transmission, which is not the owners fault.

- Midvale, UT, USA

problem #58

May 012011

Pathfinder 6-cyl

  • 92,000 miles


2005 Nissan Pathfinder internal radiator leak causing the transmission to fail started with strong vibration between 40-45 mph. Dealer inspection states internal rupture of the oil cooler contaminating the oil in the transmission.

- Homestead , FL, USA

problem #57

Apr 152011


  • 61,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Nissan Pathfinder. The contact stated that while driving, the vehicle started shaking violently. The vehicle was taken to the dealer who diagnosed that the radiator was leaking coolant in the transmission, which caused it to be defective and needed to be replaced. The manufacturer was not made aware of the failure. The VIN was not available and the vehicle was not repaired. The failure and current mileage was 61,000.

- Deerfield , IL, USA

problem #56

May 162011

Pathfinder 6-cyl

  • 115,000 miles
Radiator coolant and transmission fluid mixing, causing major problems with vehicle. Hesitant shifting, or worse, no shifting or movement at all. Especially dangerous on highway (interstate).

- Baton Rouge, LA, USA

problem #55

May 072011


  • 91,622 miles
I own a 2005 Nissan Pathfinder. Nissan extended their warranties on the 2005 Pathfinders to 80,000. The reason they did this is because they know their defective radiators have been causing transmissions to go out due to contamination from the radiator fluid. Since I was deployed, I was unaware of the extension or the problem until my transmission started giving me problems in may of 2011. The other day, I tried to pull out of a gas station and I lost all acceleration due to the transmission slipping almost causing a serious accident. I have a Nissan complaint ticket but unless it is forced into recall, I will have to pay for my new transmission on a car I just recently paid off. As a consumer, I should not have to pay for someone else's design defect that causes major mechanical cost and safety issues. After doing some research, most customers are being told to come and have the transmission flushed for approx. 500$ to be told the transmission needs replacement. This defect needs to be addressed immediately before someone dies as a result of Nissan negligence in standing behind their product.

- Leavenworth, KS, USA

problem #54

Apr 092011


  • 102,000 miles


The contact owns a 2005 Nissan Pathfinder. The contact stated the radiator and transmission fluids were mixing together abnormally and causing the vehicle to stall. In addition, the vehicle would not change gears as a result of the failure. The vehicle was taken to the dealer who advised the contact to replace the transmission and radiator. There were no recalls for the failure. The manufacturer was contacted who advised that they will give her a return call within a few days. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure mileage was 102,000.

- Laurinburg, NC, USA

problem #53

Apr 092011

Pathfinder 6-cyl

  • 104,000 miles
Nissan manufactured the 2005 Nissan Pathfinder with a faulty radiator that leaks radiator fluid into the transmission causing the irreparable damage to the transmission. The car experiences vibration (which has loosened bolts & other parts on the undercarriage) along with shifting problems & hesitation when accelerating. Nissan extended the warranty to 8 years, 80,000 miles but the problem usual occurs at high mileage. My car has 104,000 miles & they will not cover the cost of replacing the radiator (or transmission). I only received a letter from Nissan a few months ago stating there may be a radiator leakage problem but did not advise of the problem with leaking into the transmission nor did it state symptoms to watch for. I have been experiencing symptoms but did not know it was related to this issue until I went online and found several complaints by other Pathfinder owners. I bought my car to the dealer and they advised that it was a different issue and then an hour later they advised it was the radiator issue. Since I am over the 80,000 miles, they will not pay for replacement. I have contacted the corporate office and was told I would hear from them in approximately 24-36 hours but that was 5 days ago.

- Boca Raton, FL, USA

problem #52

Apr 052011

Pathfinder 6-cyl

  • 85,600 miles
2005 Nissan Pathfinder SE with 86,000 miles starting having operational issues when running at 2000 RPM's. was taken to the dealer for numerous services and was mentioned to service department. Service department said they could not find anything and that it wasn't anything to worry about. After several thousand miles the rough engine running at 2000 RPM's was becoming more evident. Service manager test drove the vehicle and immediately knew what the problem was as they had many other Pathfinders in for the same problem. We were told that the radiator seal was leaking fluid in the transmission and that the radiator needed to be replaced as well as a transmission flush to the tune of $850. Nissan representative appeared at dealership and was notified of the problem however refused to cover the problem saying that it was our problem because it exceeded the 80000 mile extension on the radiator. Nissan never notified us about and extension on the radiator in the first place. The service manager also indicated that he could not put a warranty on the transmission that received the radiator fluid in the transmission. Nissan has known about this problem but refuses to own it. They have lost a very good customer who was about to purchase another Nissan vehicle.

- Vancouver, WA, USA

problem #51

Jan 012011


  • 90,586 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Nissan Pathfinder. The vehicle was taken to the dealer for repairs when they informed the contact that the radiator was leaking and needed to be replaced. The dealer replaced the radiator. The manufacturer filed a complaint and the contact was awaiting a response. The current mileage was 91,692 and the failure mileage was 90,586.

- Copley, OH, USA

problem #50

Feb 172011


  • 88,000 miles
Radiator cracked and leaked into transmission which lead to transmision failure

- Beaver Falls , PA, USA

problem #49

Jan 122008


  • 81,569 miles
I own a 2005 Nissan Pathfinder and at 81,500 miles began experiencing transmission vibration while traveling between 40-45 mph. During this vibration, my acceleration abilities were limited. The transmission vibration was the result of defective radiator which caused radiator fluid and transmission fluid to mix. I received a letter from Nissan informing me that the warranty on the radiator assembly of my 2005 Pathfinder is being extended because a crack in the radiator assembly might occur at higher mileages leading to internal leakage of engine coolant. the radiator and transmission have since been repaired and Nissan is unwilling to reimburse the cost of the repairs. As the radiator failure and affected transmission is a well know issue by Nissan and the Nissan consumer community, Nissan should be responsible for all costs to repair the radiator and affected components. Nissan being responsible is ever more evident by the fact that the transmission is affected, which causes intermittent acceleration issues.

- Snoqualmie, WA, USA

problem #48

Dec 012010

Pathfinder 6-cyl

  • 100,000 miles
2005 Nissan Pathfinder has reportedly had multiple complaints regarding the cooling system leaking into the transmission, causing rust and subsequently, a failure in the transmission. It is reported that the radiator and transmission can be replaced to the tune of $5000-$8000 but does not fix the problem - will have to be done again in the future. Transmission slips between 40-60 miles per hour and loses acceleration. Dangerous behavior that can cause serious accidents and injury. Nissan is ignoring the problem and won't respond to complaints. Have extended warranty to 80,000 miles but of course the majority of owners experience this issue at 100,000 miles or 5-6 years.

- Draper, UT, USA

problem #47

Jan 112011

Pathfinder 6-cyl

  • 115,000 miles
I have a 2005 Nissan Pathfinder 4X4 SE off road with 115,000 miles. Beautiful vehicle but beginning to have problems the fuel gauge will go to empty when full, also having hesitation about 40 miles an hour.I read about the horror story with radiator problem causing transmission problem. I have an appointment at a Nissan dealer this weekend for the recall on the ECM so I will have further info on the hesitation, Nissan recalled the fuel gauge problem but limited to 72,000 miles vehicle only, I think they should up hold the Nissan rep and take care of these problems also the transmission problems due to faulty parts. These problems are not normal wear and tear.

- Corryton, TN, USA

problem #46

Jan 072010

Pathfinder 6-cyl

  • miles
I don't understand that 3 Nissan 2005 Pathfinder recalls have recently been announced within the past 6 months but I don't qualify for 2 of them because of the year/mileage cap. So people who actually use their vehicles are at a disadvantage even though a design flaw has been acknowledged. My wife and I have owned 6 different Nissan (Pathfinder, Sentra, ultima, murano) since 1998 and disappointed with the handling of the year/mileage cap on the Pathfinder recalls. This makes us seriously think about looking elsewhere for our next vehicles.

- Bradford, MA, USA

problem #45

Aug 232010

Pathfinder 6-cyl

  • 118,000 miles
The initial problem was that the vehicle overheated. Further investigation revealed that the transmission cooler inside the radiator had broken. This flooded the coolant system with transmission fluid, which then circulated through the engine. The coolant/water mix also leaked into the transmission and caused the transmission to fail. Corrective action taken - replace radiator, all hoses, and transmission.

- Hallsville, TX, USA

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