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 18 of 22)

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problem #83

May 072012

Pathfinder 6-cyl

  • 107,500 miles


2005 Nissan Pathfinder...radiator cracked leaked coolant into transmission. Common problem Nissan will do nothing about.

- Canfield, OH, USA

problem #82

Apr 182012

Pathfinder 6-cyl

  • 128,000 miles
My 2005 Pathfinder was running fine until it started developing a case of thermostat fluctuation; it would almost go into the red and then drop all the way back down to the normal level. I took it to precision tune and they replaced the radiator hose assembly. A few weeks after that, the tranny started slipping. As I had already read from other consumers, I knew what was happening to my truck, and because the truck already had 120K + miles on it, I knew what Nissan would likely say. Sure enough, one afternoon, I got in the truck and it wouldn't accelerate forward. I immediately had it towed to Nissan in April and began the fight to get it fixed; they quoted me $5100 to replace the tranny and radiator due to coolant leaking into the transmission case and transmission fluid leaking into the radiator. I contacted their Consumer Affairs, and not only did they tell me they wouldn't cover it, but referred me to the BBB (a very brazen move in my mind, to have a company refer you to them about them). They already knew the BBB wouldn't help because it was outside of the warranty. Nearly four months later, it still sits at the dealer, because I can't afford to pay the repair cost (I still owe for two years on the vehicle), and Nissan refuses to fix it, although they know the problem exists. Someone has to die, I guess, before they pull their vehicles off the road and fix the problem.

- Columbia, SC, USA

problem #81

Jul 192012

Pathfinder 6-cyl

  • 120,000 miles
Coolant leaked from the radiator into the transmission causing the transmission to go out (not an uncommon problem from what I have heard from my mechanic and have seen online after researching the problem).

- Salt Lake City, UT, USA

problem #80

Jul 032012


  • 87,151 miles


The contact owns a 2005 Nissan Pathfinder. The contact stated that the vehicle was jerking and hesitating when accelerating. The contact took the vehicle to the dealer and was told that the radiator was cracked. The failure caused the radiator and transmission fluids to mix together erroneously, damaging the transmission. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure and the current mileages were 87,151.

- Riverside, CA, USA

problem #79

Oct 012011

Pathfinder 6-cyl

  • 115,000 miles
I noticed a consistent vibration when the automatic transmission shifted around 40 mph. An initial flush of the fluid temporarily corrected the problem, but it reappeared several months later and progressively worsened. The transmission is now erratic at almost every shifting juncture and is pronounced at high speeds. An inspection at a Nissan service center confirmed that the problem is due to radiator fluid leaking into the transmission. This is a well documented Nissan design flaw that Nissan will not take responsibility for. The vehicle is to the point where it is unsafe to drive, especially at highway speeds.

- Springboro, OH, USA

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problem #78

Jul 272012

Pathfinder 6-cyl

  • 90,000 miles
My wife was driving along one day and our Nissan Pathfinder transmission broke down. This happened in fast traffic and with my baby in the back, not exactly the safest situation. This is a known issue, seemingly a crack happens in the radiator that spills into the transmission fluid rendering the transmission useless. So Nissan extended the drivetrain warranty to 80,000 miles, problem is my Pathfinder has 90,000 miles. Call me crazy but why does a known design flaw become my problem ever? wear and tear is one thing, design flaws are another. I'm going from one of Nissan's biggest fans to never wanting to buy a Nissan again. Nissan is failing to recall this known problem or at the very least help me not become a hater. What a lost opportunity. Nissan failed. Here's the kicker, I was about to buy a second Nissan, obviously their reaction won't allow me to do that now. I called Nissan to see what they can do and I have received nothing but juniors who are not allowed to deviate from a script. The supervisor is not interested in connecting with me, it's so obvious they are taking a head in the sand approach. Is this really happening, especially after the Toyota pedal recall implications.

- Walnut Creek, CA, USA

problem #77

Aug 162011


  • 90,000 miles


The contact owns a 2005 Nissan Pathfinder. The contact stated that the vehicle overheated. The vehicle was taken to the dealer for a diagnosis. The dealer stated that the coolant was leaking into the transmission and the radiator. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was contacted and offered no assistance. The failure mileage was 90,000 and the current mileage was 130,000.

- Arlington , WA, USA

problem #76

Jul 032012

Pathfinder 6-cyl

  • 87,121 miles
Going up a street with a low hill and the transmission didn't engage to gear making the vehicle to lose power and the was traffic in back of me, I was lucky enough to get room to pull to the side of the road.

- Riverside, CA, USA

problem #75

Aug 052009


  • 96,769 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Nissan Pathfinder le. The contact stated that the vehicle failed to accelerate over 20 mph despite the accelerator pedal being depressed. The vehicle was taken to a dealer. The dealer stated that the transmission needed to be replaced. The manufacturer was contacted. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure mileage was 96,769 and the current mileage was 148,113.

- Daly City, CA, USA

problem #74

Aug 242011

Pathfinder 6-cyl

  • 84,000 miles
Car either stalls out, turns off, or rapidly decelerates at random times. Transmission not shifting or staying in gear properly causing near collisions on several accounts, stalling in the middle of intersections, etc... mechanic said coolant in transmission and transmission fluid in coolant system. Seems to be triggering multiple mechanical failures codes from transmission, to misfires, to O2 sensors. Afraid to drive. It's been sitting parked for multiple months very dangerous!

- Buda, TX, USA

problem #73

Jul 212010

Pathfinder 6-cyl

  • 72,000 miles


At 60,000 miles my engine, catalytic converter failed. Nissan replaced these components. Shortly after... winter 2010-2011 car would not heat while idle. Had coolant replaced. Summer 2011 acceleration power issues/shaking. Took car to dealership (North point Nissan in little rock). Replaced recalled part (relay switch) but refused to examine power/slippage/heating issues because the diagnostics reported I had a bad battery. Did not place one of their batteries into my Pathfinder to find problem but sent me on my way to get a new battery. Also telling me that bad batteries cause cars to do crazy things at O'reilly's auto store they tested my new battery and it tested fine. Unbeknownst to me all of the signs my car was exhibiting were the tell tell signs of the radiator/transmission defect. I am still unsure why they did not pick up the symptoms and properly diagnose my automobile. Problems persisted... the next winter same issue... more coolant. In June 2012 my Pathfinder would not start...diagnosed with transmission radiator issue that thousands have experienced. Nissan sent a warranty extension to most owners of Pathfinders. My Pathfinder was not included in this extension..."??" for whatever reason they believed this defect did not apply to certain batches. Had Nissan sent me a warranty extension I would have immediately taken my car to be repaired. As it stands now my Pathfinder sits waiting.. please hold Nissan accountable.

- Maumelle, AR, USA

problem #72

Nov 032010


  • 70,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Nissan Pathfinder. The contact stated that she was unable to shift the transmission into gear and the vehicle stalled. The contact mentioned that the vehicle was taken to the dealer who diagnosed that radiator fluid leaked into the transmissions and as a result, both components needed to be replaced. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure who did not offer any assistance since the vehicle was no longer under warranty. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure mileage was 70,000 and the current mileage was 90,000.

- Munelle, AR, USA

problem #71

Jul 182012


  • 102,804 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Nissan Pathfinder. The contact stated that while driving 55 mph, the vehicle jerked and decelerated. The vehicle would not accelerate so the contact maneuvered to the shoulder. The vehicle was then safely driven home at very low speeds. The vehicle was then taken to an independent mechanic and the contact was informed that the failure was due to the transmission and radiator. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was not made aware of the failure. The failure mileage was 102,804.

- Lanham, MD, USA

problem #70

Jul 232012

Pathfinder 6-cyl

  • 115,000 miles
In 2009, at 74,000 miles, I noticed the car "bucking" when driving. Started doing research and found that the radiator coolant leaks into the transmission cooler destroying the transmission. Nissan offered no help or recalls despite the fact that hundreds of the same vehicle were experiencing the same thing. Shortly after my vehicle passed 80,000 miles, Nissan issued a recall on only the radiator which doesn't help me. I immediately flushed the transmission and radiator to try to avoid complete failure of the transmission, bypassing the transmission cooler part of the radiator. The vehicle drove but the transmission constantly slipped in and out of gear at random times throughout the next 30,000 miles. Last week, the transmission finally quit in the middle of a busy intersection. I had to push the car into the nearest parking lot. Now the car is sitting in my driveway because it will cost me $6,000 to repair the transmission and radiator. Nissan needs to step up and admit that this should be a recall. I love Nissan (this is my 3rd) but after this problem I may never buy another one.

- Wrentham, MA, USA

problem #69

Jul 212012


  • 92,500 miles
Our radiator in our vehicle began mixing fluid with the transmission fluid. This caused erratic driving while on the highway and poor and very shaky acceleration. We were lucky to not have had the transmission seize on the highway causing a major accident. We brought the vehicle to the dealer where this was diagnosed and they told us the entire radiator and transmission had to be replaced. We filed a claim with Nissan usa, but it was denied. The time frame for the warranty was covered, but we had slightly exceeded the mileage warranty. This has happened with multiple vehicles of the same type and a class action lawsuit is currently pending. I would like to make aware that this should be a recall by Nissan for the problem as this is an extreme safety hazard.

- Albertville, MN, USA

problem #68

Jul 012010


  • 110,000 miles
There's a transmission fluid line that run in the radiator to cool the fluid. The transmission fluid line cracked inside the radiator causing radiator fluid to leak inside my transmission. It destroyed my transmission causing a $5,000 repair bill.

- Olathe, KS, USA

problem #67

May 282011

Pathfinder 6-cyl

  • 89,862 miles
Memorial day weekend we were in heavy traffic due to being a Saturday and also a holiday weekend. Mph was 40 and our SUV suddenly lurched violently forward. Thankfully my husband has fast reflexes and is a very good driver and managed to get control of the car or there would have certainly been bad consequences due to where we were. We also realized there were other signs that something was very wrong and had it taken to a Nissan service shop. This is from their notes: "they found internal transmission failure due to auto trans cooler which is internal part of the radiator let go, remove radiator and perform engine/coolant flush twice flush out trans lines twice and replace auto trans with factory reman unit and radiator." They took the SUV June 6th and we did not get it back until Aug 6th due to Nissan having trouble filling all the transmission replacements because of so many of the same transmission/radiator failures and we were told this by the Nissan service technician. Paying the almost $6000. And losing our second vehicle for 2 months was frustrating but that we could have been very seriously injured or worse, on top of the many surrounding vehicles and drivers who would have been affected when the SUV went out of control lurching forward as it did it is shocking to us that Nissan has done nothing about this for years. We can live without the money. We are grateful we came out of it safe. From so many others reporting the same dangerous symptoms of the well known problems to us is scary.

- Barre, VT, USA

problem #66

Jun 012012


  • 117,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Nissan Pathfinder. The contact stated that when driving at any speed the vehicle would shake abnormally. The vehicle was not taken to the dealer to have a diagnostic performed but the contact believed that the transmission was defective. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure mileage was 117,000 and the current mileage was 118,000.

- Cordova , AL, USA

problem #65

Sep 082008


  • 51,425 miles
On 9/5/2008 I took my Pathfinder to giles Nissan in lafayette, la because I experienced several occasions where the vehicle would accelerate by itself. There were also occasions where the vehicle would not accelerate at all when the gas petal was pushed, essentially the engine would "rev" up but the car wouldn't move. Giles Nissan kept the vehicle for six days and I was told they could not find anything wrong with it. At the time, mileage was at 51,425, which would have still been covered under the 60,000 mile warranty. Nissan was aware of the radiator coolant leaking into the transmission problem at this point, and if it would have been fixed when I first noticed the problem all of this could have been resolved right then. However, it was not and several months later, in April of 2009, the problems continued, and I no longer felt it was safe to drive the vehicle, as it would stop accelerating altogether, sometimes while driving on the interstate. I took the car to leblanc Nissan in baton rouge, where they informed me I would need to replace the transmission & radiator, and by this time I was over the 60,000/5 year warranty. The estimate was approximately $7,000, and we were told by the service manager that Nissan would not be paying for any of the repairs. There was no way I could afford to pay this much money, so I took my Pathfinder to an independent mechanic specializing in transmission work. He suggested that he could rebuild the transmission and flush the radiator although he warned I may still have problems in the future (which was true). The mechanic also advised that I would need to get a complete radiator flush two or three months later to make sure there was no more leakage. Since then, I have had transmission work done two more times, and to this day the transmission continues to sip. Nissan refuses to reimburse any money whatsoever.

- Baton Rouge, LA, USA

problem #64

Jul 032012

Pathfinder 6-cyl

  • 92,000 miles
I was traveling on interstate I-95-N near exit 7 at a high rate of speed, my transmission failed due to a crack(fault )in the radiator assembly unit. As I attempted to exit the interstate while losing speed, I was almost rear ended by a tractor trailer and hit by another car. Eventually, after coasting down hill to an intersection of center of new england/ new london turnpike, had to get out and push the vehicle with help from other persons to nearest service station. Nissan extended warranty on radiator assembly unit to 8yr/80,000. I have 6yrs+/92000, took extremely good care of this vehicle and am now being told I need to pay $6,500 to fix vehicle (while I still owe $12,000). Should have been a recall before someone gets killed (if not already) and /or the warranty should be offered for at least 120,000 miles. What a poor attempt to cover up an obvious design flaw, while trying to hide from their obvious liabilities for this situation.

- West Greenwich, RI, USA

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