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 16 of 22)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #123

Sep 292012

Pathfinder 6-cyl

  • 95,000 miles


After starting our Pathfinder in a parking lot and placing it into drive, the vehicle had lost almost all acceleration in first gear. After slowly climbing into second gear, the vehicle began to jerk and lurch almost causing our SUV to strike several parked cars. We immediately took it to a mechanic and were told after careful investigation that the transmission needed to be completely replaced due to damage caused by the leaking of coolant and water into the transmission from the factory installed transmission cooler. Extensive rusting and damage to the transmission had caused the failure. This is a very expensive repair ($4000) that could have caused us to get into a serious accident had we been traveling at a higher rate of speed in heavy traffic.

- Saint Charles, IL, USA

problem #122

Feb 082011

Pathfinder 6-cyl

  • 110,000 miles
Was driving through an intersection and the car immediately slowed down and would not drive forward, cars had to slam on there brakes and we were almost hit from behind and the left side. We had it towed 20 miles to a transmission shop to have them tell us radiator fluid has leaked into the transmission and would be $3500 to fix, Nissan offered no help or compensation, called both the dealer and Nissan Consumer Affairs with no success, neither wanted or insisted any help was treated like I didnt exist, caused extreme pain for my family.

- Lakewood, CA, USA

problem #121

Oct 012012


  • 121,500 miles
I had experienced some slight jerking around 60-70 mph and dismissed it as the transmission just trying to decided between gears. Last night, while pulling away from a stop sign, the vehicle began to move forward then I heard a slipping noise and it felt like the transmission was slipping and wouldn't move. This occurred while I was in the midst of crossing an intersection with my pregnant girlfriend and a 5 year old in the vehicle. I immediately parked the vehicle to avoid any damage. The transmission fluid level was good, but seemed rather clear compared to fluid I had seen in the past. I had expected it to at the least, look dirty. After reading reports of issues online, my guess is the issue many others have reported of coolant mixing with the transmission fluid. I'm having a mechanic look into the issue as soon as possible.

- Midlothian, TX, USA

problem #120

Oct 012012

Pathfinder 6-cyl

  • 102,000 miles


Radiator fluid and water were found in the transmission box. Mechanic said this is very common with this year make and model and can lead to transmission failure and loss of driving ability at any time. Google searches indicate as such, and that Nissan knows about this issue but isn't doing anything about it.

- Anaheim, CA, USA

problem #119

Mar 082012

Pathfinder 6-cyl

  • 157,675 miles
The transmission felt kind of jerky one day, and then the very next day it felt like it was slipping or not wanting to shift before it would slam into gear. It was at this point that the transmission finally let go.

- Anaheim, CA, USA

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problem #118

Jun 212012

Pathfinder 6-cyl

  • 130,283 miles
The vehicle began to shudder badly and lose power. Thought smoke was coming from the undercarriage of my vehicle, but it was spraying transmission fluid. Pulled off of the interstate and called a towtruck. Had my five year old daughter in the back seat. Scared us both. No one injured but could have been in heavier traffic. Found out today that it's a common problem with these cars.

- Biloxi, MS, USA

problem #117

Sep 272012


  • 99,900 miles


I bought my 2005 Pathfinder in November of 2010 with 76K miles. Ever since I bought it ive been having issues with the transmisson that have slowly gotten worse. I went and got my transmission fluid changed at 98K miles and now it has left me sit. Still owing over 19K on the vehicle and paying over 400 dollars a month on a payment and now Nissan wants me to pay for the problem that they have known they had on a vehicle. Not cheap eaither, apple Nissan of york pa estimated over 6K to fix the problem. Complete bs. This needs to stop now and these problems need to be free of charge and recalled asap!! I will go as far as going to the district attorney generals office if need be.

- York, PA, USA

problem #116

Sep 232012

Pathfinder 6-cyl

  • 106,000 miles
I was driving with my 15 year old daughter from my home in sanford, fl to clermont, fl to visit my mom at the nursing home. While I was on the expressway 408 the vehicle began to stall and bog down causing the vehicles behind me to slowed down abruptly almost causing a chain reaction accident. I was terrified. I slowly made my way off the expressway onto state road 50 then the vehicle would not go at all. I called my husband and he told me to put my hazard lights on turn the vehicle off and then try again. This worked but I was only able to go 20 mph, however the speed limit was 50 mph. At one point I was on a hill and the vehicle began rolling backwards almost crashing into the vehicle behind me. I was able to make it to the nursing home where I parked the vehicle then my husband came and towed it back home where it now sits, we have to hold Nissan responsible for their flaws. It's not fair that my life, my child's life and the life of other drivers were in danger because of Nissan's irresponsibility. I want the transmission on my 2005 Nissan Pathfinder replaced with a new transmission.

- Sanford, FL, USA

problem #115

Sep 142012

Pathfinder 6-cyl

  • 122,000 miles
I was coming home from work on main road at rush hour when I heard a loud clunk followed by hesitation and lights on my instrument panel going on. I was having trouble going even 20 mph and motorists behind me felt I was going unreasonably slow, thinking I was doing this on purpose and even trying to pass me. I limped along to the next street where I could get off safely and called for help. Brought the car to closest dealer the following day and was diagnosed with transmission failure due to coolant contamination. My car which was finally paid off now faced certain doom. Nissan has failed to fix any of this so now the car must sit in my driveway until you issue a recall. Nissan knew of this issue long ago and isn't taking measures to warn any of their customers about this problem. These radiators need to be changed in all affected vehicles and those which suffered catastrophic damage put back on the road at their many more drivers need to go through this painful and potentially life threatening failure?

- Southington, CT, USA

problem #114

Mar 012012


  • 115,000 miles
My Pathfinder started having a vibration every time I drove it and after some research I found out about the problem they were having with their transmissions and that it was a well known issue. I have also had a pop and it lurches forward.

- Evarts, KY, USA

problem #113

Aug 302012

Pathfinder 6-cyl

  • 112,000 miles


Due to unexpected transmission slip, I had a near miss at a 4-way stop intersection when my vehicle failed to accelerate as expected. Two other cars entered the intersection from the opposite directions and both had to stop when my vehicle failed to exit the intersection as they might have expected. My Pathfinder very slowly accelerated and eventually cleared the intersection. I called the dealer and after initial investigation, they advised me that coolant had leaked into the transmission due to failure of the transmission radiator, irreparably damaging the transmission. The transmission had to be replaced as did the radiator. Aside from the high costs of repairs which I consider to be unacceptable for a vehicle at its stage of service life, I consider the failure mode to present an unacceptable safety risk.

- Glenwood City, WI, USA

problem #112

Aug 072012

Pathfinder 6-cyl

  • 112,010 miles
I was parking the car in a carport a low speed when the car lunged forward and hit a metal pole and dented my front bumper. Several weeks before the incident I noticed the car lunges forward (a few times) as I accelerate from a complete stop. This incident happened a few more times until the check engine light came on and the car would hesitate to accelerate. I took the car to universal Nissan (where I bought my car and have excellent service record on my vehicle) on 08-21-12 and they informed me that the radiator water was leaking into the transmission and it would cost anywhere between $4-5K to be repaired. They also informed me that this is a known problem for Pathfinder, xterra and frontier due to defective radiator. I called Nissan North America to see if they could help me with the problem. I waited for a 2 weeks for them to respond but they did not help me, a loyal costumer who have purchased 3 Nissan vehicles in the past. This is a very serious problem that Nissan chooses to ignore. Since Nissan does not want to fix their defective product please make them do something before this serious problem takes a life. [xxx] information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Los Angeles, CA, USA

problem #111

Sep 152012

Pathfinder 6-cyl

  • 131,000 miles
We had started to notice some rough shifting at low speeds. This past weekend my wife was trying to drive with our kids in atlanta freeway stop and go traffic. At speeds around 15 mph the vehicle would start to buck and lurch and it would kill the engine. It is an automatic but was behaving like a manual if someone didn't push in the clutch when coming to a stop. This was very hazardous in stop and go traffic on a 10+ lane freeway. The mechanic said the transmission is failing because radiator fluid was leaking into the transmission and that he had seen a number of Nissan with this problem. We are having to replace both the transmission and radiator at $4,000. That is better than having the transmission lock up at highway speeds. If you remember last year, montoya's nascar transmission locked up sending him into one of the jet driers at the track causing a fiery collision. He had no control at that time and he is a professional driver. Nissan knows this is a problem. I now know that I am not alone and that too many Nissan owners have made this complaint and Nissan will not voluntarily protect their customers.

- Clemmons, NC, USA

problem #110

Sep 012012

Pathfinder 6-cyl

  • 95,318 miles
Vibrates violently when shifting, ON9/15/12 I was on the freeway and it started jerking and shaking back and forth and I had to let of the gas to get it to shift and going again. Since then it has got worse. Took it too a transmission place and they looked at the fluid and coolant had leaked into the transmission. $4200 is the estimate. I don't have the money and will now have to get a loan to get it fixed. Nissan warranty is expired at 80K miles. I have a warranty in place with naviss which they have denied the claim stating the radiator is not a covered part and the fact that is the cause of the problem so it is not covered. I have a wife and two kids and the vehicle is not safe to drive. My wife will not drive the vehicle. I can't believe Nissan knows that this an issue yet they won't take responsibility and fix the problem. The transmission place said they fix 3-4 a month, and have yet to see Nissan cover any. I hope that the class action lawsuit goes through so we can get our money back.

- West Jordan , UT, USA

problem #109

Sep 112012


  • 108,000 miles
2005 Nissan Pathfinder when attempting to accelerate from a stop, the vehicle does not gain speed as it would normally. At higher speeds it seems to perform normally. When shifting into drive, there is a noticeable jump/bump. I took it to a transmission shop and the mechanic said that the radiator is leaking into the transmission. He said the transmission is very rusty. Apparently this is a common problem for these vehicles. At this point he is estimating between $2,500 and $3,000 to repair. Vehicle has about 108,000 miles. I would love any information on how to be reimbursed from Nissan.

- Orange Beach, AL, USA

problem #108

Sep 152012

Pathfinder 6-cyl

  • 122,000 miles
On two separate occasions, I cannot remember the date of the first incident. My 2005 Nissan Pathfinder stalled and would not accelerate. My family was in the vehicle and we were leaving a place of business, which was kind of on a hill and when I tried to accelerate the vehicle would not move, but started to go backward. I cut the vehicle off and tried again and we were off and going, until we were on the road and in traffic going about 45mph the vehicle started to stall, and we had to get ourselves out of traffic. I GT the vehicle going again and everything seemed to go fine for about 2 weeks, then on Sept 15 I woke early to take a family member to a weekend class, as I was driving down my street I heard a noise coming from the 2005 Pathfinder I rolled my window down to hear the sound as I was listening the sound went away and all of a sudden I was approaching the traffic light the vehicle began to stall, I was pushing on the gas and it would not go, the light was green and I had cars behind me. I had to turn my hazard lights on and try to get myself out of the middle of the road to safety, once I did I had to park my vehicle in a business parking lot at a shopping center that is close to my home. At this point my vehicle is parked due to the fact that it will not accelerate when put in drive. I have talked to Nissan dealership and they have advised that they have heard of the radiator/transmission fluid mix and this seems to be the case with my 2005 Nissan Pathfinder, and that it is costly to get it repaired. The cost is ultimately left up to me, and I feel as if this is a Nissan issue that has been an ongoing issue for quite some time for some other Nissan customers that needs to be considered a recall and Nissan should be fixing this manufacturing problem.

- Louisville, KY, USA

problem #107

Jun 062012

Pathfinder 6-cyl

  • 94,000 miles
Coolant mixing in the transmission system. Some issues with slipping at first, mechanics couldn't figure it out. Said they would have to take apart the transmission to figure it out since there were no codes being tripped. Then the slip got worse and they happened to discover how bad the fluid looked by the U-joint underneath the car. It was only then that they discovered that the problem could have been related to the radiator coolant leak. They proceeded to fix the radiator and related components and flushed the system several times ($726.81) only 2 months later the transmission was acting up again and almost failed on the freeway, stuttering the engine and smoking a bit. Fortunately, we where able to limp the vehicle home and get it to the mechanic the next day. Vehicle was at the shop for 3 weeks, then the mechanic thought he had it fixed. We drove the car about 5 miles down the road, the vehicle started to stutter and slip again and the check engine light came on again. We returned the vehicle to the shop, they checked the codes and determined that the transmission would need to be replaced. This is ridiculous...... when you pay this much money for a vehicle, there is no reason why a transmission should fail in 94,000 miles. I can't believe all the horror stories I have read on the internet related to this Nissan transmission issue. I feel a sick to my stomach right now just thinking about the financial impact that this has and will cause to my family. There is absolutely no reason that Nissan shouldn't be responsible for this catastrophe. Especially after they have identified that this is a known issue.

- Long Beach, CA, USA

problem #106

Aug 292011

Pathfinder 6-cyl

  • 150,000 miles
My Pathfinder has 150,000 miles on the transmission. The Pathfinder is a 2005. The problem with the vehicle is that the transmission is malfunctioning. While driving on the freeway, I had trouble with the power in the vehicle. It was slipping and not going into gear all the time. The mechanic stated that it is an electrical problem with the transmission and that Nissan already knew of the problem but did not do a recall on the transmission. Also because the transmission slipped, it also lunged forward while driving it. This could cause a major accident. At this point, Nissan is not acknowledging that it is a problem with their vehicles. They said they would not discuss the problem unless it was diagnosed by a Nissan dealer at a cost of several hundred dollars.

- Tehachapi, CA, USA

problem #105

Dec 062011


  • miles
It started with the heat in my 2005 Pathfinder not wanting to heat up unless going over 55 mph. Then sudden jerking with the vehicle when going over speeds of 40. Had transmission flushed and worked for about 6 months. Then as my husband was driving on the road it began to lose acceleration and came to a stop. We had the car towed and it hasn't started since? the dealership told us the transmission was completely out. They said it was due to coolant leaking into the transmission. Repairs are going to be $5100. The car has 92,000 miles! still waiting to hear if Nissan manufacturers are going to fix the damage. This is a dangerous vehicle to drive because when it goes out it will completely go out and if you are on the highway this is very scary!!

- Corbin, KY, USA

problem #104

Sep 072012

Pathfinder 6-cyl

  • 122,000 miles
While driving up to speed at 55 mph the transmission started making a rumbling noise like if driving over rough pavement. When the transmission shifts to it over drive gear it starts rumbling. Radiator fluid is contaminating the automatic transmission.

- Fair Lawn, NJ, USA

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