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 19 of 22)

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problem #63

Jun 282012

Pathfinder 6-cyl

  • 84,000 miles


I was driving on the freeway when my transmission went out. I was headed on the 15 North up a small hill and was barely able to get it pulled over without causing an accident. When I had it taken to the shop to check what happened, the coolant had mixed with the transmission fluid and that killed it. This is a known problem from Nissan and the only thing they did was extend the warranty to only 80,000 miles. Mine had 84,000 when it happened and I am out of luck. Nissan gave me a quote of around $6000 to repair something that was a design flaw!!! they would not even work with me to give me a discount as im so close to their extended warranty. Sometimes a company should do whats right... Nissan is not one of those companies.

- Ramona, CA, USA

problem #62

Jun 072012

Pathfinder 6-cyl

  • 140,000 miles
Radiator leaked into transmission fluid.

- Murfreesboro, TN, USA

problem #61

May 112012

Pathfinder 6-cyl

  • 98,000 miles
While driving a normal hwy speeds, the car suddenly lost all forward speed and began to slow. Engine continued to run, although, there was no propulsion to the rear wheels. Had Pathfinder towed to Nissan dealer ( bankston lewisville, tx) where is was determined that this was a radiator/transmission contamination failure. Opened case number with Nissan requesting assistance with repair. Awaiting a response, however, was told that "it did not look good" as we do not have a lot of service history with the dealership. I've owned 8 Nissan over the past 20 years and obviously loyal to the brand. This is a dangerous failure, occurs without warning and could potentially be deadly.

- Carrollton, TX, USA

problem #60

May 172012


  • 107,000 miles


2005 Nissan Pathfinder faulty radiator leaked coolant into transmission, destroying the transmission.causes the vehicle to not accelerate. Nissan is aware of this problem and has not issued a recall. I am just glad this did not happen in the middle of an intersection with my wife and daughter. Terrible engineering, terrible vehicle, my last Nissan.

- Canfield, OH, USA

problem #59

Apr 032012

Pathfinder 6-cyl

  • 84,000 miles
Driving at aprox. 55 mph motor lost power to move the unit due to transmission problems. Error codes P1757 and P1759. This problem can cause a crash.

- Orocovis, PR, USA

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problem #58

May 112012


  • 86,000 miles
Complete transmission failure. Radiator and transmission fluid mixed together destroying the transmission. Vehicle will now not even start because of inline computer inside transmission.

- Pittsburgh, PA, USA

problem #57

May 022012

Pathfinder 6-cyl

  • 88,000 miles


Radiator crack and leaked coolant into the transmission causing damage. This problem is well known to Nissan.

- Pittsburgh, PA, USA

problem #56

Apr 202012

Pathfinder 6-cyl

  • 96,000 miles
Radiator coolant leaked into my transmission, with cross contamination into the radiator at 96,000 miles. There is a known defect of radiators failing from the inside, leaking coolant, thus ruining the transmission. Nissan extended radiator warranty to 80,000 miles but most failure is between 80K-120K. I had radiator replaced and a transmission flush for $900. I fear the transmission is ruined. Nissan should have notified all owners of this potential problem rather than ignoring it.

- San Mateo, CA, USA

problem #55

Apr 022012


  • 99,300 miles
I began to have trouble when attempting to accelerate, the car appeared to stay in low gear. Took it to Nissan they recommended to replace the radiator and transmission for $5,000! I bought this car on good faith knowing Nissan is a quality product and this is now happening. Nissan apparently knows about the issues with a leak starting in the radiator, and leaking fluids into the transmission, which causes the transmission to go out. Nissan extended the warranty on the radiator till 80,000 miles knowing about this problem, but after doing research everyone having the problem is over 80,000 miles! Nissan will not do a recall! this is unbelievable. I paid very good money for this car, and now have to spend another $5,000 to repair, with a known problem that Nissan will not cover. I will never purchase another Nissan vehicle, since they do not apparently care about their customers.

- Murfreesboro, TN, USA

problem #54

Apr 092012

Pathfinder 6-cyl

  • 107,800 miles
The check engine light came on in the vehicle and the car stalled or wouldn't accelerate after the gas pedal was pushed. We took the vehicle to the Nissan dealership and were told that there was a crack in the radiator and were advised to have it replaced and also flush the transmission to remove any radiator fluid. Paid over $1000 for the replacement. Picked up the vehicle on 4/11/12. On the evening of 4/12/12 the car stalled and wouldn't accelerate again while in drive, check engine light came back on. We had the car towed to the dealership and now we have been advised to replace the transmission ($4700 repair). Have not moved forward with the repair but found that other owners have experienced the same problem. Hoping to participate in a lawsuit to avoid this issue for other owners in the future. On March 26 approx. We took the car to the dealership to address an issue we were having when we started the car. Sometimes the car would jump at the start as if it were in drive. The issue couldn't be found by he service tech so they advised us to get a tune up. We paid over $500 that week for a tune up. The car was inspected at that service visit but nothing was mentioned or noticed about the radiator. We wondered how this catastrophic breakdown could appear out of nowhere. The problem happened a few days after the car was serviced and inspected.

- Smyrna, GA, USA

problem #53

Mar 122012

Pathfinder 6-cyl

  • 88,000 miles


My wife noticed acceleration decreasing and then when she change the gear to drive the car didn't move. Then, it finally went into drive. We took it to dealership and they stated the radiator and transmission will have to be replaced due to radiator fluid leaking into the transmission. We heard about this issue happening frequently with other Nissan Pathfinders. Therefore, we contacted 1-800-nissan1 to see if we could get some kind of help. I talked to a representative named [xxx] from a company that creates a case with the hope that Nissan will cover the costs. After two and half weeks a decision was made not to cover the cost of repair due to the car was bought used and it is over the 80,000 mile extended warranty. If it is a defect, isn't the manufacturer responsible. This is not caused by the consumer and is not wear and tear. I have a Nissan Altima with over 230,000 miles and the transmission is still producing. I loved Nissan cars up until this very moment. I have been researching to purchase another Nissan, but after this my mind has changed. Information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Charlotte, NC, USA

problem #52

Mar 142012


  • 100,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Nissan Pathfinder. The contact stated that when driving 40 mph or above, the engine would flood, causing the vehicle to hesitate. The vehicle was taken to the dealer where it was advised to the contact that radiator fluid was leaking into the transmission and causing the transmission to fail. The dealer stated this is a known problem, but the manufacturer was not going to cover the cost of the repair unless the vehicle had been serviced by a dealer for all maintenance issues in the past. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure mileage was 100,000 and the current mileage was 110,000.

- Blackville, SC, USA

problem #51

Apr 062009

Pathfinder 6-cyl

  • 100,000 miles
Transmission gave out on me while traveling with family on highway. The problem was due to faulty parts Nissan has placed on the Pathfinder. My finding to the problems not only included transmissions problems not covered under warranty but also other defects in which they are unwilling to pay for. I hope it doesn't take for someone to die for them to get this is a serious problem. Americans are in danger due to this company and it's cars!

- Charlotte, NC, USA

problem #50

May 012011


  • 79,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Nissan Pathfinder. The contact stated that the vehicle vibrated abnormally while driving various speeds. The vehicle was taken to the dealer where the transmission fluid was replaced and the vibration was corrected temporarily. The vehicle was taken back to the local transmission mechanic and a diagnostic was performed which located the failure as the radiator fluid leaking into the transmission. As a result, the transmission failed and would need to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired and the manufacturer was not made aware of the failure. The failure mileage was 79,000 and the current mileage was 84,000.

- Batavia , IL, USA

problem #49

Mar 152012

Pathfinder 6-cyl

  • 136,000 miles
2005 Nissan Pathfinder transmission seized while driving up a large hill with my family hundreds of miles from home on vacation. Spent $250 to tow to the nearest Nissan dealer where the confirmed the issue stating it was a faulty radiator component causing coolant to leak into the transmission, causing it to be destroyed. The service center suggested a repair bill of $5,000 for refurbished transmission, and this did this within 30 minutes, which I thought was odd. Once I made it home I am finding this issue is running rampant, no wonder they confirmed the issue so fast! Nissan needs to issue a full recall and compensate owners for all or at least a majority of this repair.

- Fort Worth, TX, USA

problem #48

Mar 052012

Pathfinder 6-cyl

  • 96,200 miles
Our transmission started shuttering, pulling, and lagging while driving at speeds of 40 mph or more and eventually failed. As a known factory defect and design flaw, Nissan failed to notify current owners about transmission failures due to radiator fluid leaking into the transmission. Instead of sending a letter out to all Nissan owners about this issue, they decided to offer an extended warranty up to 2013 or 80,000 miles. Since most of the cars will have problems well after 80,000 miles and no owners were notified of this extended warranty, consumers were left unaware as Nissan evaded the problem. As our only family car, this issue could have caused a major injury or death if the car's transmission failed while driving on the highway. I have tried to get answers from Nissan North America, but they said they are not willing to help me because I am past the 80,000 mile mark and that I am not a loyal enough customer. I have owned three Nissan and I don't know how I could possibly be more loyal, especially since I had major issues with my Nissan titan a couple of years ago which Nissan denied to fix even while it was still under the factory warranty. This should have been resolved with a factory recall long before I had this issue. Now I am facing a repair bill from Nissan for $5,380. Leaving consumers with this kind of burden and hazard makes me wonder if Nissan is waiting for someone to be seriously injured or die from this very common and inevitable outcome for most Nissan SUVS and their owners. This problem still exists, it will not go away on its own, and there are hundreds of people like me with the exact same complaint. Something needs to be done to hold Nissan accountable regarding this matter.

- Mount Pleasant, SC, USA

problem #47

Feb 172012

Pathfinder 6-cyl

  • 121,000 miles
Within a week had check engine light for catalytic converter failure and transmission starting skipping. Found fluid to be strawberry colored in transmission. Stopped at a transmission shop and they advised that the radiator had failed and leaked coolant into the transmission. This has caused permanent damage to the transmission. Basically having to buy the car all over again or cut my losses and send it to the scrap yard. I will never buy another Nissan product. They know of this problem and refuse to correct their mistakes.

- Black Mountain, NC, USA

problem #46

Feb 292012

Pathfinder 6-cyl

  • 91,500 miles
While driving the "service engine soon" light came on the car stopped shifting up or down. The nearest diagnostic center obviously pointed to the transmission and they said to take the car back to the dealer. I did this on 29 February 2012. Their analysis was that the transmission fluid and coolant had intermixed due to a leak in the system and the transmission and radiator system had to be replaced, their estimate is $5000. They are awaiting delivery of a rebuilt transmission. I have contacted Nissan and been given a file number, 7392063, with no further follow up as of today, 4 March 2012. Approximately 1.5 years ago, my son had the same issue with an identical Pathfinder. He drives more than I do and reached the 90000 mileage sooner. He replaced his transmission for a similar cost. Based on similar complaints I have been researching, Nissan is aware of this design flaw but has not satisfactorily addressed it. In virtually every complaint I have examined, the transmission failure due to this leakage occurs after 90000 miles.

- Hellertown, PA, USA

problem #45

Feb 022012

Pathfinder 6-cyl

  • 125,000 miles
The transmission is starting to slip. Sometimes when I'm coming to a stop I'll jump forward. The dealer said the radiator and transmission needs to be replaced. Why would do radiator affect a transmission. Nissan know there is a problem with the transmission and a radiator leak inside transmission. They should recall and fix this problem. The estimate I got to repair is $5200 dollars.

- Palm Beach Gardens, FL, USA

problem #44

Feb 012012

Pathfinder 6-cyl

  • 110,000 miles
I took in my Pathfinder this week after weeks of hearing a deep noise coming from the engine when I tried to accelerate around 2000 RPM. Turns out the radiator wall cracked and came apart allowing the coolant and transmission fluid to mix together. Apparently this has been a problem in Pathfinders, especially the 2005 model. I had the radiator replaced (total cost $1,671.61) but was told this is probably a band-aid fix because there's no way to tell how much damage has been done to the transmission.

- Orange, CA, USA

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