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 17 of 22)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #103

Sep 072012

Pathfinder 6-cyl

  • 99,200 miles


Radiator cracked causing coolant fluids to leak into transmission and transmission to slip and not drive.

- Cairo, GA, USA

problem #102

Feb 132012

Pathfinder 6-cyl

  • 78,748 miles
There is a Nissan manufacturer defect of faulty radiators that are causing radiator coolant to leak into and destroy the transmission of the vehicles and ends up killing valves, seals and the torque converter on 2005-2010 Nissan Pathfinders, Nissan xterras, and Nissan frontiers. This defect can cause an owners transmission to fail and lose forward propulsion on a highway and can cause catastrophic loss(ES).

- Forest, VA, USA

problem #101

Sep 052011

Pathfinder 6-cyl

  • 82,000 miles
I took my Pathfinder to the dealer complaining of shifting problems to esserman Nissan in miami Florida. The service manager opened the hood and after waiting over 1/2 hour removed the radiator cap to find water in the form of a cream ( took pictures). He stated that the engine coolant most likely had gone inside the transmission and created damage, but because my car was 82K miles there was nothing the dealer could do I called Nissan and filed a case, but it was useless. I took the car to a transmission shop where they charged me $700+tax to flush the transmission, change the torque converter and install an external oil radiator for the transmission. They stated that the damage was done and although the rough shifting will be a constant, that at least I will buy some time because a complete rebuilt was 3500usd. Finally the transmission gave up on the highway when my wife entered the highway but the car did not move pass second gear. She found the next exit and called me. She made it home on second gear and high RPM. I called back Nissan, they ask me to take the car to the dealer. The car was at home so before taking it I decided to pass by and talk to the manager. He stated that if Nissan did not help me at 82K miles what made me believe that they were going to help me at 120K. I left the car at home until further notice.

- Miami, FL, USA

problem #100

Aug 302012


  • 91,000 miles


Apparently Nissan has a faulty radiator which in turn ruined my transmission. My vehicle has been serviced only at Nissan, and I have taken very good care of it. There was no warning, no indication that something was wrong until it started giving me problems shifting gears. I had it towed to Nissan just to find out that the radiator ruined my transmission and now will cost close to 6,000 dollars in repair.

- Roslindale, MA, USA

problem #99

Aug 242012

Pathfinder 6-cyl

  • 175,000 miles
I was driving on highway at 45 mph and suddenly there was no more speed as if the vehicle was being driven on neutral, there were cars behind but it was fortunate that it was at a distance where they were able to stop suddenly without crashing into us or each other. This type of vehicle is intended to Transport several passengers and in my case I had my children with me. We bought this vehicle used as being our only financial option for a family of six. This has created huge trouble for our family since all of our savings went to the purchase of this SUV last year and we have no money to do repairs at time which are approximately $4,000.

- Eagle Pass, TX, USA

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problem #98

Dec 212011


  • 98,000 miles
Transmission failure, radiator failure. Had it fixed months ago and my car continues to spew blueberry yogurt from cooling system. Nissan did nothing, dealer did nothing and now mechanic is making me jump through hoops. This is a serious and dangerous issue, occurring countrywide in thousands of vehicles. Nissan obviously does not want the bad publicity by owning up to the faulty parts...why do you think they changed the parts in 08' models and up" luckily my tranny blowing on the interstate did not cause injury, but it very well could it going to take someone dying for someone to finally do something!!?" there is currently a class action lawsuit against Nissan for this issue (since 2010!) do something!! innocent, hard working people are being put in danger by these vehicles.

- Florissant , CO, USA

problem #97

May 242012

Pathfinder 6-cyl

  • 105,000 miles


The vehicle experienced loss of power while driving at 60mph in the freeway. After a few similar incidents I took the vehicle to the dealer for a recall that described a similar issue, a relay was changed.. the vehicle continue experiencing the jerking until a few weeks ago that it look like transmission fluid leaked in the driveway. I took the vehicle to the nearest shop for a check up. Apparently coolant was leaked into the transmission. We took the vehicle to Nissan we the hoped that they would honor a warranty extension, they asked as to pay for a test to confirm what we already new. We were told that we needed to contact Nissan's 800 number corporate office cause there was a chance that they might want to extend the warranty. I understand that they extended the transmission warranty to 80K due to this common issue. They totally denied the extension cause my vehicle had 107,000 miles. Thanks god that we have not had an accident as a result of this issue. Now we have to incur the expensive cost of replacing the radiator and transmission. This factory defect should be paid by Nissan and we need an investigation into this common issue. Please let's not wait until a fatality occurs for your organization to initiate it.

- Fremont, CA, USA

problem #96

Jun 012012


  • 110,000 miles
I purchased this car as a "Nissan certified" vehicle it had 35000 miles. Thank god I purchased the extended warranty. The wheel bearings, fuel sensor, U joint, fuel gauge, timing chain, and many other small expensive annoyances had to be replaced and were covered on the warranty I bought, but most importantly the engine had to be replaced when I only had 100 miles left on my warranty. I thought I had replaced everything. But then this past June I was sitting in a drive thru and noticed a strong "wet" smell and noticed that my thermostat was buried into the red. I immediately pulled over and this pink ooze started pouring out onto the parking lot ruining the pavement.(the poor owner of the restaurant had to have it re-coated) after having it towed I was told that the coolant had leaked into my transmission. I had the radiator replaced and the transmission flushed 3 times to get out any ooze. Now my transmission is slipping and I have been told by a mechanic that it needs replaced. I still owe 9500 on this car and they want 5000 to replace the transmission. I have started researching on the internet and am finding hundreds of consumers with the same problem and no solution from Nissan. I purchased this car to go on vacations with my kids this car has space to move and a dvd to watch. Unfortunately I have never been able to trust this car and have always had to rent cars to go on long distances. If I would have taken this car this summer on vacation my family would have been stuck 800 miles from home and no car to get back. Nissan needs to make this right!

- Milford, OH, USA

problem #95

Sep 012012

Pathfinder 6-cyl

  • 105,000 miles
My 2005 Nissan Pathfinder le was running great until fairly suddenly the transmission started rumbling loudly. Even though the car still was running I pulled off the side of the road to investigate. I could find no external problems. I continued driving eventually to the Nissan dealership where I was informed that my Pathfinders radiator had failed allowing engine coolant into the transmission. This resulted in a major repair event to include the radiator and transmission. This could have major consequences as the transmission violently shakes and shutters. In my case the SUV did not become disabled but you could easily see that happen.

- Burnsville , NC, USA

problem #94

Apr 182012


  • 116,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Nissan Pathfinder. The contact stated that while accelerating the vehicle stalled. The vehicle was taken to a dealer who diagnose that there was a faulty valve body in the transmission. The vehicle was not repaired. The VIN was not available. The failure mileage was 116,000.

- Katy, TX, USA

problem #93

Aug 192012

Pathfinder 6-cyl

  • 104,000 miles


Recently my transmission has failed on my 2005 Nissan Pathfinder. After reading up on it on the internet forums, I have found that many people have experienced the same problem due to a coolant leaking into the transmission fluid causing transmission damage and failure. I feel that Nissan should stand by this because it is a factory defect.

- Camp Lejeune, NC, USA

problem #92

Aug 242012

Pathfinder 6-cyl

  • 120,200 miles
Coolant leaking into transmission. Well-known Nissan issue. Vehicle started rumbling intermittently going between 4th and 5th gear around 40 and 60 mph. The rumbling will last between 2 and 5 seconds until the accelerator is depressed hard enough to force the vehicle to downshift which results in a loud banging noise and a jerk. Also noticed what looks like curdled milk all around the radiator cap. I have an appointment with the dealership, Nissan of saco, on 08/28/2012 and am almost certain they will try and get out of covering this under the "lifetime powertrain warranty".

- Scarborough , ME, USA

problem #91

Aug 272012

Pathfinder 6-cyl

  • miles
Radiator failed and coolant leaked into transmission.

- Spring, TX, USA

problem #90

Aug 032012

Pathfinder 6-cyl

  • 70,011 miles
We were traveling about 35 mph in town and heard a grinding noise. The Nissan would'nt move and there was transmission fluid running out of under it. We had to have it towed home. Where it still sits.

- Cameron, WV, USA

problem #89

Aug 112012

Pathfinder 6-cyl

  • 85,486 miles
I was driving my 2005 Nissan Pathfinder on August 11th, 2012 with my entire family inside the vehicle. We were rolling in traffic at about 40 TO45 mph when the vehicle all of a sudden stopped accelerating. I was able to safely pull over to the side of the road. While inside the vehicle trying to figure out what was going on, a passerby told me he saw a fire under the vehicle. I immediately got my family out and called 911 to have the fire department come out and look at it. By the time the fire department got on scene, the fire had died out. I had my vehicle towed to a transmission shop because a fireman suggested it was an issue with my transmission. The repair shop told me a cooler under the radiator busted causing coolant to get inside my transmission, which caused transmission fluid to get on my catalytic converter which started the fire. They quoted me $4900 in repairs, telling me I needed to have my transmission and radiator replaced. I am extremely upset because for one, my entire family could have been killed or injured including myself, my wife, and 3 sons ages 3 9 & 13. Secondly, I've only had the car for 5 and half months at the time and still making payments on it. In fact, I owe just about $1000 more on the loan for the vehicle verses the cost of repairs. So now I am left with no vehicle, no way to take my kids to school, and the ugly fact that I am not the only person who has experienced the same issue with this vehicle. After a little research via the internet, it looks like this is a normal occurrence with this model. In closing, I am just looking for any sort of help I can get to help give me and my family some relief of this tragic and dangerous situation. Things could have ended up much worse and I really feel this vehicle presents a safety hazard to our roadways.

- Arlington, TX, USA

problem #88

Aug 102012

Pathfinder 6-cyl

  • 107,305 miles
While driving on the way to pick up my kids, my check engine lighted on. Then at a traffic stop light, when the lights turn green for go, I did release my foot on the brake but no movement on the car. I press on the accelerator but hesitant and jerking. After a while it moves gradually. I straight away went to the dealer to have it check. They did put a small instrument to check and I heard him ask another guy what 1754 is. After a while he came to me and said that he had the check engine lighted off and if it lights on again, it might be a costly repair. I asked him what might be the problem. He said most probably the transmission. Then a week later, the check engine lights on again, and I tried a second opinion, so I went to a non dealer transmission shop. He asked me what's wrong. I told him I had a check engine light on and there is hesitation on the vehicle after a stop. He asked for the year of the vehicle. The moment I said 2005, he knows already the problem. He had previous cases of the same year and model of my car. He still did some checking and he was not wrong. He told me its a transmission problem. He said coolant from the radiator is leaking to the transmission. This is causing damaged to the transmission. He said he had to rebuilt the transmission to the tune of 4500. Its a huge amount for repair. Its the only vehicle we use for work and for kids going to school. With an unsafe vehicle like this, you are putting yourself and your family in grave danger.

- Las Vegas, NV, USA

problem #87

Jul 242012

Pathfinder 6-cyl

  • 144,007 miles
Per Nissan dealership diagnosis: Technician found anti-freeze/transmission fluid mix in both radiator and transmission (failure in radiator cooler) trans (tcm); no communication with other vehicle ecms catastrophic transmission failure. Dealer recommendation: Replace transmission and radiator. Full transmission fluid and radiator flush of systems.

- Virginia Beach, VA, USA

problem #86

Mar 132012


  • 108,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Nissan Pathfinder. The contact stated that while driving at various speeds the vehicle would jerk and the transmission would slip. The vehicle was taken to the dealer who stated that the transmission was contaminated with engine coolant and as a result, the radiator and the thermostat needed to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was not made aware of the failure. The failure mileage was 108,000.

- Martinsburg, WV, USA

problem #85

Apr 022012

Pathfinder 6-cyl

  • 88,000 miles
The transmission started slipping/not responding/hesitation/car 'shaking' when shifting, etc so we took it to a Nissan dealer to ask what happened. They said the radiator fluid leaked into the transmission and pretty much destroyed it. I asked if they had seen this before or if there was a recall for it and they said they had not seen it nor was there a recall. I then called another non-dealer transmission center and they knew what the issue was before I even finished explaining. They said they get 2005 Pathfinders about 1 per week and currently had two on the lot -- all with the exact same issue. I called the dealership back with this info and they tried to act surprised but I could tell they knew exactly what was going on here. Here is a full (and better) description from a pending lawsuit on this problem with the vehicles like we (and so many others) experienced: "transmission failure caused by cracked radiators - faulty radiators are causing coolant to leak into and destroy the transmission. An alarming number of Nissan xterra, Pathfinder and frontier owners are stepping forward with stories about their cracked radiators which are causing coolant to leak into the transmission. Once mixed with the transmission fluid this lethal combination kills the valves, seals and torque converter -- rendering your entire transmission useless. This issue is currently contained to the 2005 model year, but we're keeping our eyes open for reports from other years. What's even more troubling is owners who have already had their transmissions "repaired" by an authorized Nissan dealer are still reporting catastrophic transmission failure. Through no fault of their own, Nissan owners who are out of warranty are left to cover the hefty repair bill, which can be over $4,500 when all is said and done."

- Apollo, PA, USA

problem #84

May 092012

Pathfinder 6-cyl

  • 110,000 miles
Experienced problems with the engine, the check light was on and the gears seemed to be shifting hard and engine running rough as it was in second gear. The recommendation was to first flush the transmission and apply an exterior coolant on to the radiator because of known issues with the radiator leaking into the transmission. This was a temporary band aid because the next time I was going on a long trip, the vehicle shifted hard while driving, jerked and when into 4WD automatically without me touching anything and the check engine light is on again. When you drive over 60 miles an hour the rpms tack up super high and the engine runs with a roar. Had the transmission diagnosed again and the fault codes show a P1754, P1759, P1764,01731, P0102....basically they are telling me I need a new transmission or a rebuilt one to the tune of 4-5000 dollars, the source of the issue is the faulty radiator which leaked water into the transmission. This is a catastrophic issue to me both safety wise and financially wise and I'm not alone--there are pages and pages of complaints for this same problem you can find all over the internet. I wish I would have known before buying the vehicle but that's water under the bridge. Nissan extending a warranty upto 80,000 miles is a mute point when most of these issues happens after that mileage, to me it's just ridiculous to have such a huge design/component flaw that can cause such a high dollar damage to the vehicle and not have it recognized by Nissan as a recall.

- Aberdeen, NC, USA

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