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.


hardly worth mentioning
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
63,392 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 engine problems

engine problem

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2005 Nissan Pathfinder Owner Comments

problem #17

Aug 012011

Pathfinder 6-cyl

  • 99,480 miles


Crack in the radiator assembly occurred leading to internal leakage of the engine coolant. 2005 Nissan Pathfinder with automatic transmission began hard shifting in the fall of 2010. This was a constant daily occurrence if the driver forgot to take the Pathfinder out of overdrive. It sounded like the old 1970S Ford universal joint as it shifted into gear. At times the car felt like the back-end was being pulled in the opposite direction. At cruising speed, the back wheels would sound like they were running over the corrugated concrete near a toll booth or lane dividers on a highway and the transmission would cause the car to shudder. It would seem to fall out of gear while the car was moving at speed. Going uphill, the Pathfinder would hard shift and hesitate to engage into gear. Accelerating on to the freeway was never an issue, but it would not immediately shift into the appropriate gear at highway speeds. On several occasions, it would stay in neutral when shifted into reverse. The most common symptom was the shuddering noises at 30 mph. If the overdrive was turned off, all symptoms would diminish or disappear completely. Took it to the dealer in December and they could not duplicate. Took it to the dealer in may and they could duplicate, but not consistently and saw no mixing of coolant and transmission fluid. Towed it in to the dealer in August, the damage is done, the fluids have mixed and the transmission computer has shorted out. Repair recommended is to replace transmission (including computer) and radiator and hoses. Customer cannot afford the $6,000 price tag on the repair. Nissan North America will not assist as Pathfinder is out of warranty.

- Riverside, CA, USA

problem #16

Mar 152011

Pathfinder 6-cyl

  • miles
Premature wear of timing chain and timing chain guides. In the Nissan Pathfinder 4.0L V6 engines, the timing chain and timing chain guides are wearing out prematurely. Our vehicle was identified by Nissan dealer service at 62,000 miles and the required fix action was to replace the timing chain and timing chain quides out of warranty at a cost of $1500. These parts do not have a recommended service interval as they are supposed to last the life of the vehicle however Nissan has identified this as a problem in the Pathfinder and other Nissan vehicles that use the same engine and has issued two separate service bulletins to correct the problem at customer expense. This appears to be an engineering deficiency and should be addressed by Nissan at their expense.

- Hanscom Afb, MA, USA

problem #15

Apr 142011


  • 120,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Nissan Pathfinder. The contact stated that she received a recall letter for NHTSA campaign id number: 10V517000 (engine and engine cooling) and the vehicle was taken to the dealer for the repairs. The dealer discovered that the catalytic converter was defective and would need to be replaced. The manufacturer was contacted who stated that the catalytic converter was probably affected by an ECM failure but they would not pay for the repairs, only the component listed under the recall. The contact believed that the manufacturer should be held responsible for the repairs since they were was directly related to the failure as described in the recall. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure and current mileage was 120,000.

- Cedar Park , TX, USA

problem #14

Mar 102011

Pathfinder 6-cyl

  • 53,310 miles


I own a 2005 Nissan Pathfinder SE, 4.0 liter V6 with 53,000 miles. I just had to replace the timing chains, timing chain guides, and timing chain tensioners. I was driving on the freeway when the problem occurred and had to have the car towed home. The dealer wanted in excess of $2,500, I had the work completed for $1,800 with another source. I have come to find out that this is not an uncommon problem with this vehicle and Nissan refused to do anything about it. I contacted Nissan North America and was told that while my car has under the 60,000 mile warranty limit, I was over the 5 year limit by 7 months.

- Corona, CA, USA

problem #13

Nov 072010


  • 88,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Nissan Pathfinder. The contact stated that the vehicle would intermittently stall without warning when driving 35 mph and above. The vehicle was taken to the dealer who informed her that the ECM relay switch was failing. The contact stated that the ECM was previously replaced for the failure. The manufacturer and advised that they would return her call within the next twenty four hours. The failure mileage was 88,000.

- Clermont, FL, USA

problem #12

Feb 252011

Pathfinder 4WD 6-cyl

  • 53,180 miles
This vehicle is a 2005 Nissan Pathfinder SE, 4.0 liter V6 with 53,000 miles. 60 month warranty expired 7-2010. The timing chain and gears broke apart causing engine to stop running. Normally timing chains and gears should not disintegrate for considerably longer than 53,000 miles. Filed complaint with Nissan North America 3-28-11 with no satisfaction. They were unwilling to do anything since the vehicle is past 60 month period and since we never serviced the vehicle at a Nissan dealership. Having researched this problem it appears that this is not an uncommon complaint with 2005 and 2006 4.0 liter V6 motors. Dealer is asking in excess of $2000 to correct the problem.

- Corona, CA, USA

problem #11

Jan 072010

Pathfinder 6-cyl

  • miles


I don't understand that 3 Nissan 2005 Pathfinder recalls have recently been announced within the past 6 months but I don't qualify for 2 of them because of the year/mileage cap. So people who actually use their vehicles are at a disadvantage even though a design flaw has been acknowledged. My wife and I have owned 6 different Nissan (Pathfinder, Sentra, ultima, murano) since 1998 and disappointed with the handling of the year/mileage cap on the Pathfinder recalls. This makes us seriously think about looking elsewhere for our next vehicles.

- Bradford, MA, USA

problem #10

May 222010


  • 58,000 miles
I own a 2005 Nissan Pathfinder le, it currently has 64,000 miles, at approx. 58,000 miles I notice excessive vibration thru out the vehicle at about 74mph, I took the vehicle to have the tires balanced and rotated but this did not fix the problem, took the vehicle to Nissan who told me they could not duplicate the problem but I should keep an eye on it, when it was time for my oil change I told them the problem still exists and again they could not find a problem so they re-balance the tires which did not change anything. I did some research online only to find out that there are hundreds of threads regarding this incident were the radiator coolant line leaks into the transmission and causing damage to the transmission, it is a known issue leading to the replacement of the radiator and transmission, car shakes tremendously as if it were falling apart, how can there be so many complaints and yet Nissan does nothing to fix it, extended warranties cover transmission damage but your still left with a $1000 bill for the radiator.

- Tarpon Springs, FL, USA

problem #9

Jul 022010


  • 104,000 miles
Transmission started slipping on the freeway with the kids in the car. My husband found coolant in the tranny oil and then did research and found alot of people having this issue. Our car is out of warranty but this is due to a faulty radiator leaking coolant into the tranny over time.

- Chula Vista, CA, USA

problem #8

Jul 022010

Pathfinder 6-cyl

  • 104,000 miles
Transmission started slipping on the freeway with the kids in the car. My husband found coolant in the tranny oil and then did research and found alot of people having this issue. Our car is out of warranty but this is due to a faulty radiator leaking coolant into the tranny coolant built inside the radiator.

- Chula Vista, CA, USA

problem #7

Sep 012005

Pathfinder 4WD 6-cyl

  • 79,500 miles


Engine shutoff without warning in September of 2009, I started to have sudden engine shutdowns in my 2005 Nissan Pathfinder. It could occur anytime and was completely unpredictable. The most dangerous times were at highway speeds with traffic behind me. I contacted my local Nissan dealer several times and the suggested a number of possibilities and checked various items without success. I wrote the Nissan Consumer Affairs department (Nov 17, 2009) and explained my situation and the danger after an internet search revealed the problem to be a computer device called the "intelligent power distribution module" or ipdm. At the time of my problem this device was on back order because of the demand for them. I paid to have my ipdm replaced because of the very serious and dangerous problem of the engine shut-off without warning, since the device was replaced, I have had no problems with engine shutoff and my vehicle runs fine. I can not believe that Nissan is not appear of the problem since appears to have started in about 2005.

- Collegeville, PA, USA

problem #6

Mar 042010

Pathfinder 4WD 6-cyl

  • 56,000 miles
2005 Nissan Pathfinder (56,000 miles) has defective radiator which leaks fluid into transmission, now needs both radiator and transmission replaced. Transmission is covered under warranty but because of Nissan's bad radiator they will not cover the cost of either.

- Elkhart, IN, USA

problem #5

Jan 082010


  • 75,000 miles
My Nissan Pathfinder (2005) stopped in the middle of the road. I had it towed to the repair shop and was told it was a computer sensor and they repaired it. My service engine light came on a week later- I took it to the shop again and they said it needed a catalytic converter and fixed it. Now 3 weeks later the check engine light is on again!

- Meriden, CT, USA

problem #4

Jan 252010


  • 100,000 miles
While driving our 2005 Pathfinder on the hwy I noticed smoke ( a lot)coming from the back of the vehicle. The car was also losing rpms (like the tranny was slipping) the shop said the radiator leaked into the transmission and fried the transmission ($7000).Nissan here locally stated they have seen this problem before in the model. The engine stopped smoking after 20 minutes, had to evacuate four children on the hwy. This is second posted complaint about this problem. The shop states this is a design flaw.

- Damascus, OR, USA

problem #3

Aug 252009


  • 77,000 miles
This complaint relates to a widespread manufacturing defect in Nissan Pathfinder and frontier models in production and sale prior to 2008. The issue is the failure of timing chain mechanisms due to inferior quality plastic guides that have failed on a huge scale worldwide. Nissan's recognition of this problem was reflected in tsb nos. Ntb07-042 and ntb07-042A. Recognizing the design flaw, Nissan changed the parts in 2008 and forward. Outside of warranty times, Nissan refuses to repair or replace the relevant parts and, apparently, has not notified customers of the potential problem of catastrophic engine failure that could result in accidents involving serious injury or death as a result of sudden engine failure. As documented on the internet, many failures of these components are occurring post-warranty and most consumers have no knowledge of the impending dangers because Nissan appears to have not publicly acknowledged the problem. For those customers who do become aware of the problem post-warranty, they are facing repair costs of approximately $2500 which is an economic burden placed upon them by Nissan emanating from Nissan's own internally-recognized design flaw. Request is hereby made that this situation be investigated and that Nissan be held responsible and accountable for the economic and safety dangers it has perpetrated by its admitted design flaws. Our own 2005 Nissan Pathfinder is facing this problem at the present time. At a minimum, Nissan should be required to advise all owners of the relevant vehicles about the need to avoid engine failure, especially for the large number of affected parties who are post-warranty and unaware of the problem. The NHTSA should also determine the number of parts failures pre- and post-warranty.

- Sacramento, CA, USA

problem #2

Feb 012006

Pathfinder 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 7,600 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Nissan Pathfinder. While driving between 25-50 mph, the engine loses power but does not shut off. When the accelerator pedal was depressed, the vehicle would decelerate. The check engine warning light illuminated. The dealer replaced the throttle and the speed sensor, however, the failure still persisted. The current mileage is 19,200 and failure mileage was 7,600.

- Vancouver, WA, USA

problem #1

Jul 012005

Pathfinder 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 2,600 miles
The contact owned a 2005 Nissan Pathfinder. The vehicle will shut off intermittently while in motion. This has occurred for the last three weeks, and within that time period it happened twice. The dealership could not duplicate the issue. Until they could do so there was no solution to the problem.

- Newport News, VA, USA

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