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 15 of 22)

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problem #143

Nov 092012

Pathfinder 6-cyl

  • 97,000 miles


My vehicle had given no signs of problems. I had my vehicle serviced, oil changed...etc on regular basis. Friday November 9th I left work and my vehicle wouldn't start. The Nissan dealer I took my vehicle to has informed me that a faulty radiator tank broke down, leaked coolant into my transmission, corrupting my transmission and all the electronic components that allow the vehicle to identify my transmission & give the vehicle/transmission ability to start. In addition they indicate it caused corrosion and has destroyed my transmission. I have been told that Nissan knew of this problem/exact issue but instead of recalling the radiators, they "offered" an extended warranty up to 8 years/80,000 miles (whichever comes first): No customer co-pay; after 8 years/80,000 miles (whichever comes first) up to 9 years/90,000 miles (whichever comes first): Customer co-pay is $2,500; after 9 years/90,000 miles (whichever comes first) up to 10 years/100,000 miles (whichever comes first): Customer co-pay is $3,000. I think its asinine that they can get away with not recalling all of these and taking care of a problem they know about without putting a huge burden on all of their customers.

- Tulsa, OK, USA

problem #142

Nov 102012

Pathfinder 6-cyl

  • 146,000 miles
My Nissan quit due to a failed transmission. I was driving and without warning when I accelerated it would not go forward. It occasionally would do a hard shift when going down hills or increasing speed. I began to smell a foul odor coming from the hood and alot of smoke billowing from the back of the car.

- Atlanta, GA, USA

problem #141

Sep 052012


  • 92,000 miles
The problem began some time in Sept 2012. When slightly accelerating at about 40 to 45 mph the transmission "shudders". recently it has been happening at higher speeds (60 to 65).

- Somerset, MA, USA

problem #140

Sep 192012


  • 110,000 miles


The contact owns a 2005 Nissan Pathfinder. The contact stated that while driving 30 mph, the transmission failed. The contact stated that she tried to accelerate but the speed dropped to zero. The contact pulled the vehicle over and allowed the vehicle sit for a day. The contact was able to drive the vehicle to the dealer for inspection where they stated that radiator and the transmission needed to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was not notified. The failure mileage was 110,000. The VIN was unavailable.

- Atwater, CA, USA

problem #139

Nov 082012

Pathfinder 6-cyl

  • 120,567 miles
Bought vehicle in April 2012 had transmission go out fixed that with warranty company. The transmission went out again in less than a month comes to find out the radiator was cracked sending antifreeze into transmission and transmission fluid into my radiator destroying my transmission computer. Got that fixed camshaft sensors then went bad cost me more money. After that the radiator was still messed up had it repaired and flushed system completely. The shop also had to replace the back flow reserve cap and thermostat for being bad. The vehicle worked for another two days and had a mechanic look at the vehicle for overheating and the diagnosis was fan clutch was working need to replace fan clutch completed that. Now Nov. 8th two days later after being fixed still overheating. Do know what to do anymore"?"

- San Antonio, TX, USA

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problem #138

Oct 152012

Pathfinder 6-cyl

  • 96,000 miles
This complaint is regarding a 2005 Nissan Pathfinder. It is common to this model and involves the intermingling of coolant and transmission fluid due to the faulty design involving these systems. The result is ruination of both the automatic transmission and the radiator, in addition to various associated components. Please, compel Nissan to issue a fully-covered recall on this defect. It is an obvious design flaw and the fact that the consumer is currently forced to bear the significant burden of the substantial related repairs is absolutely ridiculous.

- Georgetown, TX, USA

problem #137

Sep 082012

Pathfinder 6-cyl

  • 144,180 miles


I was leaving a restaurant parking lot with my wife and kids. I pulled to the parking lot exit and turned right onto the 4-lane boulevard. I tried to accelerate to traffic speed in the near lane but the motor simply raced and would not propel the vehicle. As traffic caught me I heard tires squealing and horns blowing from the vehicles behind me. The traffic worked around me while I shifted the transmission into park and then back into drive and began to move at idle speed. As traffic allowed I worked over into the left lane and then the turning lane while gradually accelerating to driving speed, merged back into traffic and proceeded home, careful to avoid any stop lights in busy traffic. We are fortunate that we were not involved in an accident. I'm no expert, but I do know that a vehicle that suddenly won't propel itself in traffic is as dangerous as one with no brakes. This was the one and only time that we experienced this problem. There was no previous indication that anything was wrong. I took the car to the Nissan dealer and they diagnosed the problem as a transmission coolant line failure which allowed transmission fluid and engine coolant to intermix in the radiator, engine block and transmission, which in turn caused the transmission to slip. I'm sure NHTSA has received many complaints about this problem. I'm hearing many of the same complaints just in my area and likely there are others that have not yet been reported. Hopefully no one will have to die or suffer serious injury because of this unsafe condition before a recall will be issued.

- Winchester, TN, USA

problem #136

Oct 272012

Pathfinder 6-cyl

  • 150,000 miles
The car was being driven on a busy street during morning rush hour, at approximately 40 mph. The car immediately stopped running and went to a crawling speed (around 1-2 mph). Cars behind needed to move quickly to avoid collision, and because there was no shoulder, the car blocked traffic. The car was taken to a Nissan dealership. Their first diagnosis was that it was a failure of the automatic transmission valve body, and they wanted to charge around $2400 for the repair. Three days later, after looking at it, the dealership diagnosed the problem as coolant leaking into the transmission, with a cost of repair of $7400.

- Fremont, CA, USA

problem #135

Oct 122012

Pathfinder 6-cyl

  • 137,200 miles
My vehicle quit driving in the middle of traffic. It would only idle when I pressed the accelerator. I was notified that my radiator had an internal leak and the coolant was mixing with my transmission fluid which caused my transmission to shut down. I was notified when searching for a radiator, that this has been a common problem with the vehicles and is documented with complaints all over the internet. I am currently a nursing student, and I do not think it is fair that I must pay for repairs that are not my fault when I am not able to afford them. This has been an extremely costly repair and I have been forced to take out a loan to get my vehicle repaired so I will have transportation to school.

- San Augustine, TX, USA

problem #134

Oct 232012

Pathfinder 6-cyl

  • 140,000 miles
Transmission failure due to radiator leaking into fluid my transmission which has been ruined. I have 140 K miles on my 2005 Pathfinder and was never notified by Nissan about the faulty radiator and therefore this damaged occurred. Estimate to fix is $5600.

- Burke, VA, USA

problem #133

Aug 182012

Pathfinder 6-cyl

  • miles


2005 Nissan Pathfinder. Consumer states problem with vehicle transmission the consumer stated while driving, the check engine light illuminated, as well as the 4-wheel drive light. The vehicle started hesitating. When the consumer called the dealer, they advised her to open the gas tank, to see if a puff of air came out. Once she told them no, she put the vehicle in drive and it would not move, she then put it in reverse, and it still did not move, . the dealer then advised her to disconnect the battery for a half hour. She reconnected the battery and drove around the block and it stalled. The consumer had the vehicle towed to the dealer. An inspection revealed a problem with the transmission. The dealer stated a gasket between the radiator broke and anti-freeze leaked into the transmission. The dealer informed the consumer, it would cost $6,000 for the repairs.

- Camden, NJ, USA

problem #132

Oct 212012


  • 96,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Nissan Pathfinder. The contact stated that while driving 45 mph, the vehicle suddenly decelerated without any warning. The contact mentioned that the digital panel that displayed which gear the vehicle was in also went blank. The vehicle was towed to the dealer who diagnosed that the radiator leaked coolant into the transmission, destroying the modulator. As a result, the transmission, radiator and modulator needed to be replaced. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure who offered to pay for part of the repairs. The vehicle was not repaired. The VIN was not available. The failure and current mileage was 96,000.

- Melbourne, FL, USA

problem #131

Aug 012011

Pathfinder 6-cyl

  • miles
Many instances of the car jerking, jerking forward when trying to slow down or stop. The RPM revving up to dangerous levels for no reason and trouble driving uphill. My car has become a major safety issue. First the fuel gauge stopped working, which caused me to run out of gas and stalling in the middle of an intersection. Next, my car stalled for no reason while driving, that was repaired, something to do with a relay switch, now the transmission issues, possible radiator failure and the need of a new catalytic converter in a car with 100K miles.... that's insane !!! someone is going to be seriously hurt or killed if they don't fix these vehicles and people don't have thousands of dollars laying around to fix it. So, no food, rent or bills being paid for over a month just to pay for repairs is even more of a hardship to families. Please help us before something happens. Thanks !!!

- Simi Valley, CA, USA

problem #130

Oct 032012

Pathfinder 6-cyl

  • 92,000 miles
Radiator leaked into the transmission case completely destroying the entire transmission. Per Nissan, the cost to fix is $5900 and requires a new radiator and transmission. First symptom was lack of acceleration.

- Highlands Ranch, CO, USA

problem #129

Nov 242010


  • 70,225 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Nissan Pathfinder. While driving approximately 60 mph, the transmission responded extremely slow with slight hesitation. The vehicle was taken to an authorized dealer who stated the defect was contributed to a crack in the radiator. The leaking coolant from the radiator caused severe damage to the transmission; however the radiator was replaced. In addition, the technician informed the contact that the transmission would need to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was not notified of the problem. The approximate failure mileage was 70,225. The VIN was unavailable.

- Washington, CT, USA

problem #128

Sep 212012


  • 146,316 miles
Was driving along and vehicle stopped pulling. Too it to dealership and was told by master mechanic at Nissan dealership that is was engine coolant leaking into the transmission in which there is a recall. And then was told by corporation that they were not going to help me.

- Belvidere, NC, USA

problem #127

Oct 012012


  • 78,000 miles
Coolant leaked into transmission causing transmission to fail.

- West Jordan, UT, USA

problem #126

Oct 012012


  • 78,000 miles
Coolant leaked into transmission causing transmission to fail.

- West Jordan, UT, USA

problem #125

Sep 262012

Pathfinder 6-cyl

  • 136,000 miles
Driving vehicle and suddenly lurched forward and wouldn't drive. Taken to shop and said defect in radiator allowed coolant into transmission ruining both components. This is a known complaint which Nissan fails to address. They uped their warranty when problem was seen but mostly happens outside of the warranty. I spoke with a customer service rep and she said there was nothing they could do even though they are aware of the problem.

- Xenia, OH, USA

problem #124

Sep 112012

Pathfinder 6-cyl

  • 112,973 miles
Radiator and transmission fluid mixed. Internal radiator failure caused damage to transmission. Causing loss of power when driving. Nissan is aware of this problem and refuses to step up to the plate. It is a defective radiator and it can become very dangerous if it happens on a very busy interstate. I have chosen to let my vehicle set. I don't want to cause a fatality to myself or my family. Please help not to let Nissan get by with this. Updated IVOQ 01/02/13

- Charleston, WV, USA

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