Notes: While there are fewer "radiator leaked into transmission" complaints for the 2008 model year, they are starting to pile up. Buyer beware.

Nissan has extended their radiator warranty on 2005-2010 Pathfinders to 8 years/80,000 miles. However the average mileage for transmission failure for earlier model years is 95,000 miles, which conveniently (for Nissan) is just past the limit of their extended warranty. Owners beware.


really awful
Crashes / Fires:
1 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
105,615 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.

2008 Nissan Pathfinder drivetrain problems

drivetrain problem

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2008 Nissan Pathfinder Owner Comments (Page 3 of 6)

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problem #61

Jul 012015


  • 135,000 miles


Felt jerking while driving at 40-45 mph to the point where it felt like I was losing control of the vehicle on the road. It felt like it would go to neutral and suddenly back into gear really hard so it would cause something like a torque pull. So, took to dealer service shop and was diagnosed as defective radiator cracked and leaked coolant fluid into the radiator cooler causing a catastrophic failure of the automatic transmission. Fortunately, didn't lose control while driving but it felt close to sometimes. I believe a less experienced driver could have lost control of vehicle.

- Queen Creek, AZ, USA

problem #60

Jul 202015


  • 124,326 miles
Was told transmission failed due to faulty radiator.

- Elkhart, IN, USA

problem #59

Jun 052015


  • 124,000 miles
The contact owns a 2008 Nissan Pathfinder. The contact stated that the transmission failed to change gears properly. The vehicle was taken to the dealer for a transmission flush but the failure recurred. The contact indicated that the vehicle was shaking and vibrating with an abnormal noise as the failure progressed. The vehicle was taken to the dealer who diagnosed that there was a fracture in the connection piece to the radiator and that caused the transmission fluid leaking into the radiator. The dealer stated that the radiator and the transmission needed to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 124,000.

- Denham Springs, LA, USA

problem #58

Jul 162015


  • 110,000 miles


Transmission fluid mixed in with radiator fluid. Leaking out of truck. Know issue with Nissan trucks.

- Branchburg, NJ, USA

problem #57

Jun 032015


  • 110,000 miles
The contact owns a 2008 Nissan pathifinder. The contact stated that the transmission failed. The dealer stated that anti-freeze and oil leaked into the transmission causing it to fail. The manufacturer stated that this was an isolated incident and would not be covered. The transmission was replaced. The VIN was invalid. The failure mileage was 110,000.

- Harleyville, PA, USA

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problem #56

May 102015


  • 74,148 miles
How is this not a recall?? im driving down the freeway with my family in the vehicle and the transmission decides to start shaking and slip right out of gear as I am in the far left lane trying to get over to stop the car!! almost causing a huge accident!! all my transmission fluid has leaked in with my coolant for my rad. Destroying my transmission.

- Maple Ridge, WA, USA

problem #55

May 022015


  • 89,000 miles


My radiator was replaced in 8/14 due to a hose coming loose and causing fluids to comingle. 5/2/15 while driving my children home from soccer my check engine light came on, the car could barely accelerate. I drove to a garage, and was told that the radiator needed to be replaced. Towed car to the garage that replaced radiator 8/11/14, after two and a half days am being told my 08 Pathfinder must be towed to a dealer to have the transmission control module replaced and reprogrammed. The car has 89,000 miles.

- Downingtown, PA, USA

problem #54

Apr 152015

Pathfinder 6-cyl

  • 125,000 miles
The radiator failed causing engine coolant to mix with the transmission fluid. This caused damage to all of the engine coolant parts and caused a complete transmission failure.

- Fort Worth , TX, USA

problem #53

Oct 212014


  • 148,145 miles
The contact owns a 2008 Nissan Pathfinder. While driving at 40 mph, the vehicle shifted gears without warning. The failure recurred intermittently. The vehicle was taken to the dealer where it was diagnosed that the torque convertor and radiator needed to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The failure mileage was 148,145.

- Snow Hill , MD, USA

problem #52

Apr 232015

Pathfinder 6-cyl

  • 139,000 miles
Radiator fluid leaked into transmission fluid and now transmission is polluted and will need to be changed.

- Milford , MA, USA

problem #51

Mar 152015


  • 146,000 miles


2008 Pathfinder - radiator cracked causing fluid to leak into and destroy the transmission. This is a known problem to Nissan. Problem has occurred to thousands of vehicles. Issue originally occurred in December, 2013. Issue was fixed at butler Nissan. Issue repaired with substandard and used parts, which resulted in same issue occurring - radiator cracking, which caused catastrophic failure to the transmission. Issue occurred while we were driving the vehicle. Fluid leaked into engine, caused the engine to smoke and obstruct our view of the road. We were able to pull car into business without a collision. Concerned that Nissan was willing to allow an unsafe vehicle back out on the road after knowingly repairing an issue with substandard parts.

- Stony Point, NY, USA

problem #50

Mar 272015

Pathfinder 4WD 6-cyl

  • 127,000 miles
My wife was driving our 2008 Nissan Pathfinder when her service engine soon and 4WD warning light came on while pulling up to an intersection. When she pulled away from the intersection the vehicle moved very slowly and would no longer shift. After shutting the vehicle off it would not start again. A transmission shop has tested the transmission fluid and found glycol contamination from the transmission cooler that has shorted the transmission control module. The vehicle requires a complete transmission rebuild, new tcm and a radiator bypass to remedy the problem. Total cost will be approximately $4000.

- Sharpsburg, GA, USA

problem #49

Feb 142013

Pathfinder 6-cyl

  • 60,000 miles
Couple years ago around 60,000 mile or so ago started to notice hesitancy when shifting around 40mph. Nissan stated that was due to how I broke the car in. So I let it go thinking that it was okay... then it started at 60mph and kept getting worse at every gear, sounded like I was driving on rumble strips. So I take it to a mechanic they inform me that it was caused by the radiator fluid leaking into the transmission. Which I see now that is an ongoing problem! I contacted Nissan and they said there is nothing they can do because I was over the miles on the extended warranty now. If it was an ongoing problem why was I not notified? they had no answer so I am just informing you that this is still happening and to get it on record.

- New Kensington , PA, USA

problem #48

Feb 262015

Pathfinder 6-cyl

  • 145,000 miles
Catastrophic cooling/transmission failure. Traveling East on a heavily traveled single lane highway with no breakdown lane. Sudden noise from the engine compartment, sounding like liquids being expelled. Check engine light comes on. Engine temperature gauge pegs to high. Limped along the highway until I could reach a safe point to pull the overheating vehicle off road. Arranged for a tow and had the vehicle inspected. The inspection revealed failure of the radiator. After further inspection and with some research, it was discovered that Nissan has a known design flaw that contributes to the eventual failure, in a catastrophic event, of the cooling and transmission components. My vehicle was mixing engine coolant and transmission fluid together. The sudden failure of the radiator, expelled engine cooling and transmission fluid in a sudden and rapid event. This is a known and documented event that Nissan is fully aware of. A sudden failure of these components poses a safety risk for the owner, occupant, public and environment.

- Athol, MA, USA

problem #47

Dec 102014

Pathfinder 6-cyl

  • 138,000 miles
Car would not accelerate from a stop it was as if it was not shifting to first gear from a stop. Also while driving the car would begin to shudder violently and would not stop until the vehicle came to a complete stop. As it turns out, a line inside radiator coming from the transmission broke and caused contamination. Coolant mixed with transmission fluid created a sludge that contaminated both coolant system and transmission. Radiator was replaced and coolant system flushed as well as transmission flushed. A week later the car was parked and would not start. As it turns out the transmission blew a fuse and was not registering that the vehicle was in park. This is all related to the same problem the transmission control module (tcm) was burned out from the sludge created by coolant and transmission fluid. So now, either the transmission needs to be replaced because the clutch and gears are potentially burned up or the tcm. With just a tcm there is no guarantee that the transmission will not fail due to no way of knowing the condition of the clutch and transmission gears. Vehicle is still in the shop for over a month now and we have been forced to purchase a new car to meet our transportation needs.

- Choctaw, OK, USA

problem #46

Oct 292014


  • 145,000 miles
Radiator fluid leaked into transmission due to poor design of the cooling system for the transmission. This issue cost $4200 to repair the transmission.

- Bixby , OK, USA

problem #45

Oct 142014


  • 105,400 miles
My wife was driving her Pathfinder and it stopped in the middle of an intersection. My wife is disabled and has had many back surgery. The radiator is leaking into the transmission causing it to stall at anytime loosing power to the power steering and brakes. I believe this is a life threatening issue losing power down the highway with a truck behind you can cause a serious accident. 2 gentlemen got out of there vehicles to push my wife to safety.

- Harleysville, PA, USA

problem #44

Sep 182014


  • 114,000 miles
The contact owns a 2008 Nissan Pathfinder. While driving approximately 35 mph, the check engine warning indicator illuminated and the vehicle shuddered and stalled. The vehicle was able to restart, but the gear was stuck in the park position. The vehicle was towed to an independent mechanic who stated that the valve body needed to be repaired. In addition, radiator fluid leaked into the transmission fluid and caused the vehicle to need a new transmission. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was not notified. The approximate failure mileage was 114,000.

- Tewksbury, MA, USA

problem #43

Sep 222014

Pathfinder 6-cyl

  • 51,700 miles
Vehicle threw a code (P0463 - fuel gauge sending unit) indicating the fuel gauge sending unit is malfunctioning. This is a problem which Nissan North America is aware of however failing to correct on many vehicles. Failure of the fuel gauge sending unit has many possible severe symptoms including, but not limited to: 1) failure of the fuel gauge to properly indicate levels of fuel, 2) failure of the fuel gauge in its entirety and/or 3) failure of the sending unit to properly function while in vehicles are in use potentially causing affected vehicles to shut down while in motion. Also a know problem with radiator leaking into automatic transmission which resulted in class action lawsuit against Nissan North America. Settlement was reached in which Nissan offers to pay for any and all repairs only if malfunction occurs, however when malfunction occurs it can be a significant safety issue affecting the performance of the impacted vehicle.

- Bryn Mawr, PA, USA

problem #42

May 152014

Pathfinder 6-cyl

  • 101,500 miles
Noticed a shutter during acceleration. Service dept suggested replacing the radiator due to faulty radiator that leaked fluid into tranny so I did.I felt the shutter on my way home from the dealer! I did research and found the class action suit regarding this problem. I placed a claim with Consumer Affairs and was told I was 1500 miles out of warranty sorry. Will eventually need a transmission.

- Port Jervis, NY, USA

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