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.


really awful
Crashes / Fires:
5 / 4
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
106,689 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 drivetrain problems

drivetrain problem

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2005 Nissan Pathfinder Owner Comments (Page 14 of 22)

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problem #163

Apr 042011

Pathfinder 6-cyl

  • 70,450 miles


Automatic transmission is failing. Failure first appeared at speeds between 40 and 50 mph and now experiencing transmission failure from 30 mph to 60 mph. Pathfinder now has 71560 miles.

- Bartlett, IL, USA

problem #162

Jul 112012

Pathfinder 6-cyl

  • 111,849 miles
On 11/15/11 Nissan flushed the radiator. On 7/11/12 the transmission went out due to the coolant leaking into the transmission. Nissan should have 100% responsibility of this issue. Nissan has know about this issue for years and they extend the warranties to the max of 100,000 miles. Most of these issues occur after 100,000 miles. Nissan needs to reimburse and or recall all 2005-2010 Pathfinder's, xterra's and frontier's as this can be a safety issue when you are driving at high speeds and the transmission fails. My wife almost got rearended because this issue. I want to be reimbursed of the repairs that were done on my vehicle.

- Laporte, IN, USA

problem #161

Aug 082012


  • 110,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Nissan Pathfinder. The contact stated that while driving 60 mph, the vehicle began to loose power and would not accelerate over 30 mph. The vehicle was taken to a mechanic for inspection where they stated that the transmission needed to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was not notified. The failure mileage was 110,000.

- Manassas Park, VA, USA

problem #160

Jun 262012


  • 102,916 miles


The contact owns a 2005 Nissan Pathfinder. The contact stated that while accelerating after decelerating, the transmission slipped and acceleration power decreased. The vehicle was taken to a private mechanic where the contact was informed that the transmission fluid that is lead through the radiator to be cooled, allowed water into the transmission and caused the transmission to fail. The manufacturer was contacted and informed the contact that the transmission needed to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure mileage was 102,916 and the current mileage was 108,000.

- Panama City Beach, FL, USA

problem #159

Jan 042013

Pathfinder 6-cyl

  • 141,648 miles
Transmission cooler leaked coolant in transmission an trans started slipping now I need a transmission.

- Red Bay, AL, USA

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problem #158

Dec 222011


  • 120,000 miles
I own a 2005 Nissan Pathfinder. The engine coolant contaminated the transmission fluid because an internal piece broke. The only reason I noticed any issue is the reverse gear began to have trouble engaging. After visiting two mechanics, I had to replace the entire radiator/coolant system and put in a new transmission. Although Nissan has acknowledged this is a common issue, they refused to do anything to help with the situation. Ultimately, this repair cost me upwards of $6000 to repair.

- Lakeland, FL, USA

problem #157

Apr 012012

Pathfinder 6-cyl

  • 104,000 miles


The transmission started slipping when accelerating at all speeds. Coolant was found in the trans fluid. The radiator and water pump had to be replaced. We had to also add a oil cooler as a precaution. Now 8K miles later the transmission has failed and will not shift into 5th gear. Best case scenario is a new trans valve assembly for $1500 or worst case new trans for $6500.

- Miamisburg, OH, USA

problem #156

Nov 062012

Pathfinder 6-cyl

  • 98,000 miles
My 2005 Nissan Pathfinder suffered a radiator leak which leaked fluid into the transmission. While driving the car the engine started running at a high RPM while the vehicle suddenly lost the ability to drive despite the car running and the gas pedal being depressed. Then the transmission "kicked in" and the car lurched forward until the issue happened again and the car completely broke down on the road.

- Brielle , NJ, USA

problem #155

Dec 142012


  • 139,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Nissan Pathfinder. While driving approximately 45 mph, the contact depressed the accelerator pedal and noticed the vehicle would not accelerate. After continually applying pressure to the accelerator pedal the vehicle responded. The vehicle was taken to the dealer for diagnostic testing. The technician stated that fluid from the radiator was leaking into the transmission and caused corrosion. The technician stated the transmission and radiator would have to be replaced. There was an investigation under NHTSA action number: DP12004 (power train:automatic transmission: Cooling unit and lines) that could have been related to the failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The approximate failure mileage was 139,000.

- Denver, NC, USA

problem #154

Sep 012012


  • 80,000 miles
Water in transmission. Transmission/ radiator issues now. $2500 co-pay to have repaired.

- Piggott, AR, USA

problem #153

Jul 102012

Pathfinder 6-cyl

  • 116,000 miles


Transmission failed. Sent to Nissan dealership and put me to another transmission place. The transmission was redone again. After that transmission failed again and the mech. Noticed the mixing of radiator fluid in the transmission fluid. Then I contacted Nissan and Nissan Corp. They both pushed me aside saying that they could do anything do to the mileage. I increased the urgency to Nissan Corp. I am in the military with no car for my wife. I have expended over 5 K already and now needing to do more.

- Panama City Beach, FL, USA

problem #152

Nov 212012

Pathfinder 6-cyl

  • 100,280 miles
We own a 2005 Nissan Pathfinder that my wife drives daily until a couple of weeks ago that the transmission gave up on us at exactly 100298 miles. She said that she was driving around 50 miles an our and that all of a sudden the SUV just quit and it would not go no further. Luckily there was no cars behind her because our daughters were with her at the time. So now I have a Pathfinder that does not run because I cant afford the six grand they are trying to charge me because I went over 298 miles.

- Laredo, TX, USA

problem #151

Nov 222012


  • 100,720 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Nissan Pathfinder. The contact stated that while driving approximately 55 mph, an unusual noise could be heard coming from the engine compartment. The vehicle was taken to an authorized dealer where the transmission was flushed and the radiator was replaced. The technician stated that the transmission exhibited internal damage as a result of coolant leaking from the radiator. The vehicle was not included in NHTSA campaign id number 10V517000 (engine and engine cooling) due to the fact that it had exceeded the 100,000 mile limit. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 100,720.

- Virginia Beach , VA, USA

problem #150

Nov 182012

Pathfinder 6-cyl

  • 10,000 miles
I was going to work a usual so I have to take the highway. Everything was pretty normal then as I was driving for about 10 minutes I felt like hesitation from the SUV. I was in first lame so as I pressed the gas pedal a little further in I noticed that the car was decelerating. It was like it was losing power. It returned to normal then 5 minutes later the same thing happened only the car started jerking as well. I turned to the emergency lane to see what was wrong. I turned the engine off and popped the hood it smelled like coolant leaking and the SUV didn't say that it was overheated.I tried to turn it on it didn't let me and the dashboard wasn't displaying the N, D, R...etc. Took it to the mechanic and said the SUV had internal leakage of the radiator and it messed with the transmission. He told me that this type and year of SUV had faulty radiator that came like that. The only problem is that I had bought the car 8 months ago and that it came with a warranty for these type of car for less than 80,000 miles. Well I bought the car from the dealer with more than 100,000 at this point to fix the car ranges from 3,000-6,000 dollars. Shame on Nissan dealers for selling these type of cars that are potentially dangerous on the road.

- Oxnard, CA, USA

problem #149

Oct 172011

Pathfinder 6-cyl

  • 98,140 miles
My wife picked up our two young kids (4, 6 at the time) from school and while on the way back home our 2005 Nissan Pathfinder totally shutdown as she was passing through a busy intersection. Thankfully, she made it through the intersection before being hit but was broken down in the street. Unfortunately, I was out of town for work that week so she called our neighbor and he helped get the truck back to our house. After discussing the situation with me on the phone, she called several transmission specialists and had one of them (a+ transmission) pick up the SUV the next day. After a running a diagnostic test and determining the severity of the transmission problem, they had to pull the transmission to do a complete inspection. They determined that the radiator had leaked into the transmission and transfer case and that the whole transmission including the radiator needed to be replaced. We opted for a rebuild since transmissions from Nissan were on 6 month backorder due to other Nissan's having the same issue. We spent almost $4,000 to fix this problem with no help from Nissan. After some research online, we found many complaints regarding this issue and the lack of a recall by Nissan. This is a significant safety issue that Nissan has failed to adequately address. I hope that someone will make Nissan do the right thing.

- Houston, TX, USA

problem #148

Oct 172012

Pathfinder 6-cyl

  • miles
2005 Nissan Pathfinder. Consumer writes in regards to vehicle fire that was caused by a defect. The consumer stated the vehicle caught on fire while his wife was driving. His wife felt a jerking motion when she pushed down on the accelerator. His wife pulled over, when suddenly another motorist informed her the vehicle was on fire. Once she exited the vehicle, there was a loud boom noise, which was believed to be the battery exploding. Within in seconds, the uncontrollable flames literally engulfed the entire vehicle. An investigator believed the cause of the fire was a failure in the transmission.

- Woodstock, GA, USA

problem #147

May 112011

Pathfinder 6-cyl

  • 950,000 miles
Around 95000 miles the transmission began very abrupt jerking when accelerating. Around May 2011 transmission began slipping, I googled the problem and discovered many people had the same problem due to radiator cracked. I looked into my radiator and discovered strawberry looking fluid. Replaced my radiator, an flushed it a few times and then flushed my transmission which had the same color fluids, I believe Nissan was aware of these faulty radiators and transmission and drag it out through court so people would loose their opportunity to use their warranty. I am currently trying to get Nissan to replace my faulty transmission and I am willing to pay a $3000 fee but so far they are reluctant. Any suggestions you may have would be appreciated.

- Vacaville, CA, USA

problem #146

Nov 092012

Pathfinder 6-cyl

  • 116,000 miles
The transmission failed while driving 60mph up a hill. The car most ability to climb hill and speed dropped dramatically. I was concerned of being hit from behind as traffic was going faster and had to go around me. There was not a place to pull over. I made it (barely) over the hill and pulled over. The issue is a failure of the internal radiator coolant hose leaking into the transmission and destroying the transmission. This has been admitted and previously noted and diagnosed by Nissan, but they have offered no assistance if your vehicle is out of warranty. It should be a recall for all affected vehicles. Pretty scary when the car fails at speed and you are in the middle of traffic.

- Ponte Vedra Beach, FL, USA

problem #145

Mar 142012

Pathfinder 6-cyl

  • 99,000 miles
Well my Pathfinder was working great and I never had any problem with it then one day I'm driving it to work and it just stop I kept accelerating and it wouldn't move. A friend of mine came and looked at it and told me on the spot you radiator busted and filled your transmission with coolant and that destroyed your transmission and destroy it did. My friend to told me funny thing is that could have been prevented by installing an external cooling which he would have done for 100 bucks if only had Nissan let me know that the 2005 Pathfinders had this issue. Oh well I feel cheated and I swore in my life I will have a Nissan car again or Acura for that matter nor anyone in my family. This one I'm stuck with but once guaranteed that the mechanic gave it's about to expire I'm selling it and I'm definitely not buying Nissan again! ever!

- Miami, FL, USA

problem #144

Mar 202009

Pathfinder 6-cyl

  • 68,707 miles
Driving down 4 lane highway and stopped at a red light in a small town. When light turned green, I tried to proceed but vehicle would not move. When I would press the accelerator, the rpms would go up but vehicle would not move. There were many vehicles coming up behind me at a high rate of speed and there I was with my wife and three children stuck in the middle of a four lane highway, unable to move. I had to risk getting out of the vehicle and run to the rear of the vehicle and try to flag down vehicles coming at me at over 60 mph and try to flag them around my stranded vehicle with my family inside. Finally able to get some assistance and get vehicle pushed to shoulder of the road. My vehicle has been to the same Nissan dealership five times for this same problem!!!!! each time the repair lasts approximately 12 to 18 thousand miles and then I start having the same problem. In Jan.of 2012, I paid the same dealership five thousand dollars for a new transmission and in August ; I once again have the same problem. I decided to file a complaint after becoming aware that this is a very common issue with these vehicles.

- Poplarville, MS, USA

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