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 21 of 22)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #23

Sep 302011

Pathfinder 6-cyl

  • 98,095 miles


2005 Pathfinder transmission in overdrive gear the car felt like it was going over a grated road. Took into Nissan and after 2 days of tests determined that the radiator leaked into the transmission and now both the transmission and radiator have to be replaced for over $5,500. Nissan did extend the warranty to 80,000 miles but since my car has 98,000 and was never routinely serviced by Nissan they will not offer any monetary help. Nissan knows there is a problem with the radiator/transmission. I called up an independent transmission repair franchise and as soon as I said 2005 Pathfinder he knew radiator leak caused the problem. There should be a national recall issued.

- Monmouth Junction, NJ, USA

problem #22

Dec 012010

Pathfinder 6-cyl

  • 40,000 miles
At about 40,000 miles fuel gauge stopped working. And started having intermittent electrical problems. Headlights going on and off when in park. Fan starting when key is turned but not cranked. Anti-theft system locking me out from starting the truck. 70000 miles vehicle would intermittently not start. It would crank but not start. Took it to Nissan and was told nothing could be done on their part. I was told it was the ECU, bmu, tmu, and ipdm were all bad. I replaced the ipdm and bmu and ECU. Truck still ran rough. At 91000 miles Nissan now says my transmission is bad due to the radiator coolant leaking into the transmission but I am out of the 80000 mile warranty. Nissan said they will pay half to fix if I pay half of the $4600 transmission repair. Nissan can not explain why this happened but acknowledged that this is a big complaint of the 2005 Pathfinder.

- Chandler, AZ, USA

problem #21

May 012010

Pathfinder 6-cyl

  • 52,000 miles
Radiator leaks fluid into transmission, Nissan knows this is a flaw and they will only flush your transmission, just to put it off until you are out of warranty. I started taking my Nissan in at 52,000miles for this problem and they kept telling me that they are unfamiliar with the problems I was experiencing and they couldn't find anything wrong with the truck. Now I'm out of warranty and my transmission needs replaced. Nissan also has a problem with they fuel gage, sometimes it shows gas levels, and sometimes it doesn't. I have ran out of gas 3 times now, on the highway! again, Nissan knows this is a problem, they even sent an "extended warranty" to cover this problem specifically. But, only if you are under a certain mileage. And they didn't send me the notice until I was under the mileage limit by 300 miles! please help!!

- Jonesboro, AR, USA

problem #20

Sep 052011

Pathfinder 6-cyl

  • 85,000 miles


The transmission on my 2005 Nissan Pathfinder has failed due to an apparent leak in the cooling system that allows radiator fluid to leak into the transmission. We brought the vehicle to the dealership as it began to make loud noises while driving, apparently struggling to shift gears, and sounded as if it was about to fall out of the vehicle. The dealership pretended that they did not know what was wrong with the vehicle until I brought them the research I had found online (which there is plenty pertaining to this same exact problem with this same exact make, model, & year vehicle). Then they finally admitted that they were aware of the this widespread problem but that unfortunately the vehicle was out of warranty and that I will now have to eat the $6,000 repair bill that they've given me. Based on the research I've done, Nissan Corp. Has known about this problem for some time and has failed to address it.

- Lafayette, LA, USA

problem #19

Mar 032010


  • 100,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Nissan Pathfinder. The contact stated that the air conditioner would not blow cold air when the vehicle was idled. The vehicle was taken to an authorized dealer where the contact was informed that there was a leak within the air conditioner. The vehicle was not repaired. The contact also stated that the vehicle would experience trouble shifting into first or second gear. The vehicle was taken to an authorized dealer where the contact was informed that the radiator fluid was leaking into the transmission. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure, but offered no assistance. The failure mileage was 100,000. The VIN was unavailable.

- Myrtle Beach, SC, USA

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problem #18

Sep 012011


  • miles
The contact owns a 2005 Nissan Pathfinder. While driving, the contact stated that the vehicle would drag or hesitate while shifting into the next gear. The dealer diagnosed that the radiator fluid was leaking into the transmission, causing it to fail. The transmission and radiator were both replaced, but the failure recurred. The manufacturer was notified and assisted with the initial repair. The failure mileage was 80,000 and the current mileage was 112,000.

- Kernersville, NC, USA

problem #17

Aug 222011

Pathfinder 6-cyl

  • 106,000 miles


The vehicle had difficulty changing gears and the check engine light came on. On 8/22/11 I took the car into a Nissan repair shop and it was confirmed that due to a faulty radiator, coolant leaked into the transmission causing corrosion. I was told that I would need a new radiator and transmission at a cost of approx. $6000. I called Nissan Consumer Affairs and spoke to 2 representatives and a supervisor who stated that due to the milage on my car, they would offer no assistance with repairs. I pointed out that this is a result of well documented defects with the radiator however they stated that Nissan has no obligation to assist me as the product has not been recalled.

- Freeport, , NY, USA

problem #16

Aug 122011

Pathfinder 6-cyl

  • 121,206 miles
2005 Nissan Pathfinder radiator assembly & transmission defect my 2005 Pathfinder was diagnosed with the Nissan noted radiator assembly defect. Radiator coolant and transmission fluid are mixing.

- Littleton , MA, USA

problem #15

Aug 062011

Pathfinder 6-cyl

  • 85,208 miles
I am a car dealer in Montana, purchased a 2005 Nissan Pathfinder at the auction with 85,000 miles for re-sale. Showed it once to a customer, it ran fine, I drove it home 8-6-11. 78 mph on cruise control on the interstate. The transmission dis-engaged, I barely recovered from hitting the medium at that speed. Turns out this is an issue that the transmission cooler leaks fluid into the trans on 90% of this model year. Even though I am a dealer...this is not right. $4500 repair. Thankfully it was not one of my customers. Nissan should re-call every one of these and make it right. I cannot believe there has not been a death from this failure. I am sure there has been many stranded travelers that may have died as a result.

- Belgrade, MT, USA

problem #14

Aug 172011


  • 148,850 miles
I was driving along at approximately 60 mph when the Pathfinder seemed to be loosing power and it appeared the transmission was slipping. I pulled off the 4-lane; put the vehicle in park; turned the vehicle off; restarted the vehicle and continued on my trip. It initially seemed as though it was corrected; however, when I stopped for a traffic light the vehicle would rev but was slow to pull out. I was able to take the vehicle to a Nissan dealership. Later that evening I received a call that the transmission fluid appeared burnt and that the transmission would need to be replaced to the tune of approximately $6,900. The service rep told me that there was radiator fluid mixed in with the transmission fluid in the transmission. I also have reported this problem to Nissan through its website. The vehicle has approximately 149,000 miles. This is a serious problem that cause serious injuries or death if one was pulling into or out of traffic when this problem is encountered. A recall must be made for the safety of Nissan owners and the community at large who also may be impacted by this problem.

- Chapmanville, WV, USA

problem #13

Jul 282011

Pathfinder 6-cyl Diesel

  • 70,000 miles


The family and I all got into the car after grocery shopping, it seemed to be a normal night except when my mother went in for reverse to get out of the parking spot the car accelerated backwards and the car took over, our mother was yelling saying ' the brakes wont work ' everybody was in such a panic the car hit two circles in the store parking lot. Luckily no one was there. We ran into the store gate which was there just in case those sort of things happen but my brother who was sitting in the passenger seat stop the car by putting it in parking.

- St. Louis, MO, USA

problem #12

Jul 012010


  • 90,000 miles
Radiator developed internal crack leaking coolant into transmission. Radiator had to be replaced, transmission needs replaced. Fuel level sensor failed and replaced at 70,000 miles.

- Somerset, KY, USA

problem #11

Feb 142011

Pathfinder 6-cyl

  • 102,000 miles
I was driving on the highway and the transmission failed. It was sudden and there was no warning. I was driving along fine and all of the sudden I had no power. I was able to pull over and get help. When I took the vehicle into a repair shop I was told the radiator leaked fluid into the transmission and ruined it. I had to pay to replace both the transmission and the radiator. I also received a letter from Nissan stating this was a known design flaw. When I asked to be reimbursed I was told I was outside of the warranty mileage. I disagree if the damage was caused by a defective part, not wear and tear and not misuse of the vehicle they should recall this on all vehicles regardless of mileage, etc. I have tried contacting Nissan several times and I have been told there is nothing they can do. The damage cost about five thousand dollars to fix and it all had to come out of my pocket. I am so disgusted with this company and the terrible way they handle their mistakes. I will never buy another vehicle from them and I have warned others to get their vehicles checked before they get stranded somewhere or possibly have an accident because of the gross negligence of Nissan.

- Arlington, TX, USA

problem #10

Jan 122008


  • 81,569 miles
I own a 2005 Nissan Pathfinder and at 81,500 miles began experiencing transmission vibration while traveling between 40-45 mph. During this vibration, my acceleration abilities were limited. The transmission vibration was the result of defective radiator which caused radiator fluid and transmission fluid to mix. I received a letter from Nissan informing me that the warranty on the radiator assembly of my 2005 Pathfinder is being extended because a crack in the radiator assembly might occur at higher mileages leading to internal leakage of engine coolant. the radiator and transmission have since been repaired and Nissan is unwilling to reimburse the cost of the repairs. As the radiator failure and affected transmission is a well know issue by Nissan and the Nissan consumer community, Nissan should be responsible for all costs to repair the radiator and affected components. Nissan being responsible is ever more evident by the fact that the transmission is affected, which causes intermittent acceleration issues.

- Snoqualmie, WA, USA

problem #9

Jan 012011

Pathfinder 4WD 6-cyl

  • miles
2005 Nissan Pathfinder. Consumer states several problems with the vehicle. She states that it is hard to start, paint is peeling, overdrive light comes on when braking to make a turn and a loud noise was coming from the motor.

- Baldwin Park, CA, USA

problem #8

Jun 012010

Pathfinder 6-cyl

  • 130,000 miles
Nissan Pathfinder cooler/radiator/transmission are faulty and Nissan is aware of the issue but refuses to warranty every cooler, only a percentage of them. Nissan has extended the warranty for vehicles up to 80,000 miles or 96 months. Nissan should be made to recall all cooler and cover the expenses for the ones that have had to have it fixed. Make Nissan warranty every faulty cooler.

- Cordova, TN, USA

problem #7

Aug 012006


  • 20,000 miles
The transmission in the 2005 Nissan Pathfinder slips and jerks while driving at highway speeds. The slippage can cause the vehicle to rapidly decelerate in traffic increasing the likelihood of an accident. The rapid jerking of the vehicle can cause the vehicle to loose control on its own or frighten or disorient the driver causing the driver to loose control of the vehicle.

- Cameron Park, CA, USA

problem #6

Nov 112010


  • 65,680 miles
In March 2010 we took the vehicle to a dealership for a check engine light staying on and the fuel gauge malfunctioning. The problems discovered were a fuel sending unit failure and an evap air control valve failure. Estimated repairs cost around $1300. We were told the fuel sending issue did not effect fuel delivery so we elected to wait and save up for the costly repair. On Oct. 23, 2010 while driving the power steering and brakes stiffened and the vehicle died while crossing traffic leaving a stop sign. It started rough and we proceeded to a fuel station thinking the broken fuel gauge reported fuel in an empty tank. When I attempted to fuel the vehicle it only took about 4 gallons. The tank had plenty of fuel. This stalling and dieing then happened more times in traffic causing us to barely maneuver out of the lane to safety. Each time it died it was rough to start, but started. We made a service appointment for Nov. 12, 2010 to have this looked at and get the fuel sending unit repaired under the new warranty extension (thank you Nissan!). on Nov 11, 2010 after pulling out of a parking space the vehicle died again and this time would not start. As a result of our location (no local Nissan dealership), we then had to have it towed (at our expense) 38 miles to the nearest dealer to look at it. We also had to cancel our original appointment for service at another dealership. They informed us that the new non-starting and stalling problem was a faulty ignition power distribution module (ipdm). This ipdm is a known recall issue in other 2004-06 Nissan but Pathfinder was not listed. Our new estimate to replace the ipdm so it will start and run is approximately $700. The ipdm failure almost caused multiple accidents, stalling in traffic. I can't believe that Nissan used a different ipdm in just the Pathfinder and will own-up and recall their mistake.

- Canon City, CO, USA

problem #5

Jun 192010


  • 80,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Nissan Pathfinder. The contact stated that the transmission began slipping and the vehicle also stalled while driving between 40 and 50 mph. The failures were a recurring issue. The vehicle was taken to an authorized dealer where the contact was informed that the radiator fluid was leaking into the transmission. The dealer also stated that the transmission and the radiator needed to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure mileage was 80,000 and the current mileage was 80,200.

- Antioch, TN, USA

problem #4

May 012010


  • 99,000 miles
Radiator/transmission fluid mix the trans started shifting in and out of O/D at just over 40mph (vibrating) at about 99,000 miles. Took it to the shop and found the radiator busted and mixed with trans fluid. Had the radiator replaced and the transmission flushed twice. At a cost of $1,058 it worked fine until 103,000 miles. It just made a thump noise and the transmission started slipping so bad it barely got me home.

- Heath, TX, USA

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