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 / 1
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
83,428 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 transmission problems

transmission problem

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2005 Nissan Pathfinder Owner Comments (Page 1 of 7)

problem #138

Oct 252014


  • 154,565 miles


The contact owns a 2005 Nissan path finder. The contact stated that while driving approximately 15 mph, the vehicle stalled without warning. The vehicle was taken to an independent mechanic. The technician diagnosed that the transmission needed to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was not made aware of the failure. The failure mileage was 154,565.

- Pomona, CA, USA

problem #137

Apr 152014


  • 100,702 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Nissan Pathfinder. The contact stated that there was an abnormal noise coming from the vehicle. In addition, the contact stated that the vehicle failed to accelerate when the accelerator pedal was applied. The vehicle was difficult to shift into gears and the check engine warning light illuminated. The vehicle was taken to a private mechanic where it was diagnosed that the transmission failed due to water and anti-freeze entering the transmission. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The failure and current mileage was 100,702.

- North Dinwiddie, VA, USA

problem #136

Jul 052014


  • 102,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Nissan Pathfinder. The contact stated that the transmission was slipping and that there was a transmission leak. The contact also mentioned that the vehicle was hesitating and stalled on numerous occasions. The vehicle was towed to an authorized dealer, who diagnosed that the radiator and transmission needed to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the failure and stated that the vehicle was not included in NHTSA campaign id number: 14V142000 (power train). The approximate failure mileage was 102,000.

- Augusta, GA, USA

problem #135

Jul 012011

Pathfinder 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 130,841 miles


The contact owns a 2005 Nissan Pathfinder. The contact stated that the vehicle stalled numerous times while driving at various speeds. The vehicle was taken to the dealer where a diagnostic was performed that located the failure at the radiator. The contact was advised that radiator fluid mixed with the transmission fluid and caused the vehicle to stall. The radiator and transmission was replaced however, the failure was not corrected. The check engine warning light illuminated as the heather and air conditioning unit failed to operate. The vehicle was taken back to the dealer. The dealer inspected the vehicle and located the failure as the radiator. The dealer advised the contact that the radiator needed to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was contacted and denied assistance with the repair. The failure mileage was 130,841 and the current mileage was 144,121. Updated 1/7/13 the consumer stated radiator coolant leaked into the transmission, twice. The first time, was in July 2011, and Nissan replaced the transmission and radiator at a cost of $ $6,981.86. The second time it occurred was in September 2012, at a cost of $ $1499.19. Nissan replaced the transmission with an after market transmission and flushed the radiator. Updated 01/09/13

- Waldorf , MD, USA

problem #134

Sep 112012

Pathfinder 6-cyl

  • 112,973 miles
Radiator and transmission fluid mixed. Internal radiator failure caused damage to transmission. Causing loss of power when driving. Nissan is aware of this problem and refuses to step up to the plate. It is a defective radiator and it can become very dangerous if it happens on a very busy interstate. I have chosen to let my vehicle set. I don't want to cause a fatality to myself or my family. Please help not to let Nissan get by with this. Updated IVOQ 01/02/13

- Charleston, WV, USA

problem #133

Sep 182012

Pathfinder 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 120,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Nissan path finder. The contact stated the vehicle lunged forward and the transmission failed. The check engine warning light was illuminated during the failure. The vehicle was towed to a local mechanic where they advised the contact that the transmission and the radiator needed to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the failure and stated that they were aware of the failure but provided no assistance because the mileage was over 80,000. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure mileage was 120,000. Updated 10/10/12 updated 10/11/12

- Mooresville, NC, USA

problem #132

Mar 012012


  • miles


Transmission is leaking in to radiator.

- Bakersfield, CA, USA

problem #131

Nov 212011

Pathfinder 6-cyl

  • 91,000 miles
2005 Pathfinder wouldn't go in gear intermittently and I had to maneuver out of traffic to the side road and then was unable to backup no reverse! I turned the car off and back on and I was then able to to drive home and park the vehicle. This happened again the next day when taking it to our mechanic to have the vehicle diagnosed. The mechanic had issue of this while test driving. Received a call from the mechanic and was told to take it to a Nissan dealer for repair. There have been numerous complaints to Nissan about a defective radiator issue and over time leaks into the transmission. Nissan has been aware of this issue and has refused to make this right for their consumers. We took the vehicle to the Nissan dealer and was told they would contact Nissan to see if they would help with repair. Nissan refused to assist or repair the issue that started with a known defective part. I am assuming by the response received from Nissan that they are ok with a consumer that can't afford to repair their vehicle with an issue that is from a known defective part have to take their chances in driving to and from work safely until they can make enough money to have the repair done. Thank you Nissan.

- Orlando, FL, USA

problem #130

Oct 092009

Pathfinder 6-cyl

  • 70,000 miles
Fuel gauge not working, radiator fluid leaking into transmission damaging transmission, front passenger seatbelt getting stuck.

- Bronx, NY, USA

problem #129

Dec 012009

Pathfinder 6-cyl

  • 115,000 miles
First time- transmission failed- new one installed under extended warranty- has gone bad again last week- they tell me the coolant is leaking into the transmission and has ruined it, the gas tank needs replacing, new radiator, new catalytic converter, new U-joints for the second time. My extended warranty has expired- they are telling me that I need $8000 worth of repairs to fix the problems. That is more than the vehicle is worth with 155,000 miles on it!!! please help.

- Only, TN, USA

problem #128

Jul 282011


  • 85,850 miles


My 2005 Nissan Pathfinder was losing speed especially when passing vehicles on the highway, the 2005 Nissan Pathfinder would not go into reverse. I noticed that the car was not running properly for over 3 weeks. I took the Pathfinder to a transmission expert and they did diagnostic tests and the expert said that the radiator had a hole in it and radiator fluid went into the transmission and the transmission was gone. He showed me the transmission stick that showed me that radiator fluid mixed in with the transmission fluid. The transmission expert said that they have seen a number of Nissan Pathfinders with the same problem. A week later, I took my 2005 Nissan Pathfinder to another transmission expert for a second opinion, this expert did the diagnostics and confirmed that the radiator had a hole in it that allowed for radiator fluid to go into the transmission. He also stated that they have seen a number of 2005 Nissan Pathfinders with the same problem and he recommended that I go to a Nissan dealership to see what they say. I went sheehy Nissan in glen burnie, md in which they did a diagnostic test and found that coolant mixing with the trans fluid causing improper shifting. The recommendations were to replace the trans assembly, radiator, and trans cooler. The service manager told me that Nissan had an extended warranty on the radiator for 80, 000 miles or up to 2013. I had 85,000 miles on my 2005 Nissan Pathfinder. I called Nissan usa and told them the problem and faxed the diagnostic invoice to them. Two weeks later they told me that they would pay for the parts and I would have to pay for the labor. Luckily, my insurance company paid for the radiator, trans, and trans cooler. Nissan has known about this problem for and refuses to do a recall on the radiator and this is unacceptable! this affects 2005-2007 Nissan Pathfinders and this is a safety hazard if the vehicle trans stalls or shuts off while driving on highways and roads. A recall is needed!

- Glen Burnie, MD, USA

problem #127

Mar 272011

Pathfinder 6-cyl

  • 81,000 miles
The problem first began with my 2005 Nissan Pathfinder on March 27, 2011, when I first noticed there was no heat in the cabin. Then on April 29, 2011, while driving on the highway, I noticed my vehicle would not accelerate in excess of 45 mph. It seemed that the transmission was slipping. As the Nissan was parked in our garage, we noticed fluid leaking onto the ground. The fluid had a milky white substance in it. After doing some research, we realized that with this particular model, there were known problems with coolant leaking into the transmission. We had the Pathfinder diagnosed on June 3, 2011 by billings Nissan. We had informed the service department at Nissan that we were suspecting the transmission was contaminated with coolant. Nissan informed us that it was impossible for the coolant to leak into the transmission because they are separate units and that the milky white substance in the transmission was a result of air entering the transmission. After much dispair, we decided to trade in our vehicle and took a huge loss on the trade-in value. We felt that if we decided to replace the transmission, and that the radiator was in fact damaged and also needed to be replaced, that we would only be faced with the same issue down the road and would need to replace the transmission a 2nd time. On June 28, 2011, we received a report from the dealership that we traded the Pathfinder at stating the transmission was indeed contaminated with coolant and that the radiator and transmission both needed replacing. If only we had received proper diagnosis from Nissan initially, our course of action may have been different and would have thought about fixing the Pathfinder versus trading it in. As a result, we have lost money on the trade in value, and have incurred an unexpected expense of a new vehicle (payments, registration, insurance). Dealer lied to us. Information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6)

- Billings, MT, USA

problem #126

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 #125

Jul 282011

Pathfinder 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 89,200 miles
Started experiencing shudder when the automatic transmission moved between 1st and 2nd gear. Scheduled appointment at dealer to investigate and minimized driving in the meantime. Symptom did not occur over two day period until driving on third day where the issue worsened rapidly until transmission became inoperable above 10 mph. I investigated the issue and learned that this is a well known issue with the Pathfinder where the radiator fluid fails into the transmission, causing both the radiator and transmission to fail. I inspected the antifreeze to observe traces of transmission fluid. Checking the transmission fluid, the fluid was darken and above the high-level mark for the fluid level. I had dealer investigate and this is in fact what had failed. Nissan had extended the warranty to 80K miles specifically because of this issue. My car currently has 89K miles and I am looking at a $6000 repair bill that I refuse to repair. Nissan is offering zero assistance to address the problem. This is a known issue with Nissan Pathfinders. There are thousands of complaints on the issue with Nissan and there have been no actions other than raising the warranty to 80K miles. This is gross error in the design of the product and can cause significant injury depending on the timing of the transmission failure. Do people have to die to get Nissan to take responsibility for their poor design? I am done with Nissan as a brand and suggest that the fed investigate their inaction in addressing this problem.

- Wixom, MI, USA

problem #124

Apr 102011

Pathfinder 6-cyl

  • 133,210 miles
Since April 2011 my 2005 Nissan Pathfinder started to rattling and vibration under the vehicle. After having it checked by a mechanic in May 2011 he stated that the transmission and coolant is missing together. The fluid was changed on June 26, 2011, that came out looking like chocolate milk and it is still vibrating at 45 and 64 miles per hour. I under stand that this is a manufacturer problem for the way it was designed and should be fixed by the car dealers and not the consumer. The solenoid in the transmission jumps offline and once the vehicle is turned off and back on it resets and the vibration continue as you drive. The changing of the transmission fluid did not help the problem.

- Daleville, AL, USA

problem #123

Jul 202011


  • 92,900 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Nissan Pathfinder. The contact stated that the vehicle would hesitate when shifting gears and would not engage when shifted into reverse. And the vehicle would lung forward at any time. In addition, the vehicle would lunge forward abnormally at any time without warning. The dealer diagnosed that the transmission would need to be replaced. The manufacturer was notified and assisted the contact with the failure. The failure mileage was 92,900 and the current mileage was 93,000.

- Pell City, AL, USA

problem #122

Jan 122011

Pathfinder 6-cyl

  • 110,000 miles
Transmission started slipping started jerking while driving, alsosounded like tires were making noise especially around 40 mph. I was driving on rt 62 near my home and was very fortunate not being T-boned as a pulled out, my Pathfinder didn't go like it was supposed to, fortunately the oncoming vehicle stopped. I took it to a Nissan dealer and they said that the 2005,2006,2007 Pathfinder were known to have an issue with the cooler failing and breaking down the transmission and that they knew about the faulty cooler for along time. Nissan said they increased the warranty from 60,000 to 80,000 but other than that they have done nothing. And didn't inform the public. My family and I, didn't get hurt or hurt someone else, however this scenario could be very dangerous and Nissan should inform the public and recall the transmission and faulty cooler before deaths start happening.

- Bancroft, WV, USA

problem #121

Mar 152011

Pathfinder 6-cyl

  • 113,895 miles
I have a 2005 Nissan Pathfinder le 4X4. I purchased the car new. During the life of the car I often noticed the car downshifting for no apparent reason but it would go away and I forgot about it. About 6 months ago and about 113000 miles it got worse and started making noises and often it sounded like I had a flat tire. My mechanic inspected the car and thought it might be the transmission so he referred me to a transmission specialist who informed me after an inspection that water was in the trans and the transmission was shot. He said this was due to a faulty part or something that allowed water to get into the transmission from the radiator and that there might be trans fluid in the radiator or worse, in the engine. He seemed to think that if left this way the trans could seize up causing a great amount of damage to the engine and possibly the car going out of control due to this potential seizing up condition. Fortunately, there was no trans fluid in the radiator. I had it flushed and everything seems to be okay. Checking on line I have noticed numerous complaints for this year, make and model of Nissan regarding this exact issue. Almost $4000 later hopefully my problem has been solved. Nissan needs to step up and make restitution.

- Gold River, CA, USA

problem #120

Jul 072011


  • 90,700 miles
2005 Nissan Pathfinder - noticed shudder around 60 mph intermittently for about one week then problem became more frequent occurring around 40-45 mph. While trying to take it to dealership, transmission failed while making a left turn causing the vehicle to stall in the path of oncoming traffic. Dealership said that radiator had failed, leaking coolant into transmission which required both to be replaced. Since failure occurred at 90,000 miles, warranty on radiator that has a known manufacturer defect is void and thus previously covered transmission warranty is also void. Nissan of North America will not stand behind their product and recall the part, leaving their customers stranded both on the side of the road and in their wallets. Transmission failure is an obvious safety issue for many reasons. The loophole appears to be that since the failure is due to the radiator, anything relating to the transmission is null and void.

- Ballston Spa, NY, USA

problem #119

Jun 152011


  • 135,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Nissan Pathfinder. The contact stated that while driving approximately 40 mph, the vehicle suddenly decelerated. The vehicle was towed to an independent mechanic, who stated that radiator fluid leaked into the transmission and a sensor within the transmission needed to be replaced in order to provide a full diagnosis of the failure. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure and stated that the sensor for the transmission was on back order. The vehicle was not repaired. The approximate failure mileage was 135,000.

- Wayzata, MN, USA

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