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.


hardly worth mentioning
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
97,028 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 engine problems

engine problem

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2008 Nissan Pathfinder Owner Comments (Page 1 of 2)

problem #31

Nov 072016


  • 94,550 miles


Takata recall ?? the 2008 Nissan Pathfinder radiator and transmission failure and breakdown due to coolant leak into the transmission. Purchased pre-owned with nothing listed on car facts (carfax), or with any advisement to the issues with radiator coolant leaking into transmission. After a $1,017 bill from aamco for a diagnostic to find the issue, (in which they had to pull the tranny and inspect it was damaged due to fluid from radiator getting inside compromising transmission seals) I discovered, online, this ongoing well know problem..called Nissan North America and discovered my vehicle was covered under the 100K mileage (94955 actual) and good through 8-2017, from a previous filed complaint or class action, not sure which. However, apparently I only qualify for a co/pay of $3,000 on a vehicle valued at tops, $7,500. Needless to say I would have never purchased this vehicle, had I known this was an issue. I have been in touch with my bank, the dealership I purchased it from, and Nissan North America and no one is willing to assist. I suppose I will contact my attorney at this point (lemon law, tort laws, something) because I cant' seem to find anyone understanding to me, the consumer, whom is not at fault on this deal for help. I am extremely unhappy that Nissan has allowed this to happen. They should at least put a carfax warning or something to notify potential buyers or owners of this problem. I understand that parts get worn and go bad, however, this in not something that I have neglected to fix, maintain, check, or anything. This is a bad part/design flaw in the coolant system and should in all rights be fixed at 100% by Nissan. Beware.

- Valley Center, KS, USA

problem #30

Oct 262016


  • 123,000 miles
Our 2008 Pathfinder lost all power in the middle of the freeway, causing others cars to swerve to miss hitting us. After about 30 seconds we were able to regain a little bit of speed ( about 30 mph) to be able to pull off the freeway and head down an exit ramp. This experience was very scary for my family and I with two young kids in the back seat, with cars passing us at speeds upward of 70 mph. Even on the way home that night, the SUV would start to drive at normal speed, then suddenly come to almost a complete stop at about 5 mph.

- Perris, CA, USA

problem #29

Apr 292016


  • 100,000 miles
My only one family vehicle suffered the now known 2008 Nissan Pathfinder radiator and transmission failure and breakdown due to coolant leak into the transmission. I've purchased this vehicle pre-owned from np Mazda in san antonio Texas. They did not inform me of this known issue which involved several year models for the Pathfinder. I've spent a little over $5K of loaned money to have this resolve via independent transmission specialist as gunn Nissan presented me with a much higher price quote. I recently found out from a local Nissan service specialist that my vehicle currently have an extended warranty designed specifically for this and as a result of October 2012 class action lawsuit settled by court and Nissan Corp. I am attempting to have Nissan help me with some of recently mentioned financial impact regarding their well known defect.

- San Antonio, TX, USA

problem #28

Aug 242016


  • 177,000 miles


In the middle of a heavy storm from the wake of an F3 tornado that swepted through, my wife and I were stuck in heavy wind and rain in an open area unable to start our 2008 Pathfinder after pulling over. Just prior, our transmission started shifting hard and slamming into gear. I got out in the wind and rain and after looking over the vehicle after it cooled down, thats when I noticed oil and water were mixed in the radiator.the Pathfinder now sits because the vehicle will not start. It went from parked and running to dead on thie side of the road.

- Yoder, IN, USA

problem #27

Aug 162016


  • 70,000 miles
In about January of this year 2016 I noticed a vibration during gearshifting while driving. I brought my car to my mechanic because when I explained the issue to Nissan they said out of warranty and all parts and labor would not be covered so I went to my mechanic anyway who said I had transmission failure due to a leak from the radiator which I believe is a design flaw on the car. If Nissan knew about a radiator issue why was I never informed so I could potentially replace the radiator before it destroyed my transmission? I am seeking full reimbursement on all parts and labor in the transmission. I understand I may have to pay some of the cost of the radiator due to ware and tare but if Nissan knew about this they should've contacted me to save transmission failure. I believe this is also a safety issue had I not known even why the transmission is failing I did have a problem while driving and not knowing what this is. I could've had trouble shifting from one year to the next on highway at high speeds

- Babylon, NY, USA

problem #26

Jul 292016


  • 155,000 miles
2008 Nissan Pathfinder. Transmission failed due to radiator failure which caused contamination of the cooling and transmission fluids. Engine overheated due to contamination. Entire cooling system had to be flushed several times after repairs. Repairs were over $4000. Nissan refused to address issue because of pending class action suit. I wish to be added to class action process to recoup expenses.

- Frankfort, IL, USA

problem #25

Jun 112016


  • miles


I was driving around 35 to 40mph when I felt a vibration under vehicle backed off gas pedal went away after that it would come back now and then around the same speed just like you where driving on a rumble strip. Took to Nissan for diagnosis told me vehicle shifted erratically and found anti freeze in transmission, they gave a quote of more than $7,000 to fix.when I asked what could cause this they said a bushing could have been worn to let coolant into tranny, now they get info on problems that occur I just got a phony answer. Any way Nissan dosen't give their customers heads up on notifications of problems and complaints all get lost or buried. Nice support from Nissan. No more business from me........ 103,345miles on Pathfinder 2008 all happened on a flat smooth road driving straight

- Forked River, NJ, USA

problem #24

Apr 212016


  • miles
Radiator started leaking and ruined my transmission at 92,000 miles

- Philipsburg, PA, USA

problem #23

Mar 012015


  • miles
Where do I begin with with problems that I have had with this vehicle" I purchased the vehicle in 2010 with 48,000 miles on it. Looked brand new, now, I think I know what they traded it in. I have had one problem after another. I have spent over $7000 in the past year and a half, outside of normal upkeep like tires and brakes, on repairs for this vehicle. I am a single mother with 2 small children! my husband was killed in 2014. Do you know how hard it's been for me to get all this done?!?! but I had to, it's paid off and I don't want a new car note! replacing a transmission that the company I feel knows is faulty is really unjust. I initially paid $1800 to get it fixed for it only to continue messing up again. I was told them they probably replaced the transmission but not the computer and radiator which is the major problem with the vehicle. I then paid another $2400 to get it fixed correctly. Then, there was the timing chain issue, why did it break, who knows, but it shouldn't have.. so that was another $2300. I've also had to replace both sides of the catalytic converter which were about $300 each and a ball baring I believe its called was gone. Currently, my horn only works when you turn the steering wheel left and steering is getting harder to turn so I think my pump is going out; checked the fluids and they are fine. I dont have the money to get either of those problems fixed right now. Oh, did I mention my electrical problems" my windows are temperamental and don't always go down when I want them too. I was told that would probably be about $500, maybe more, to get electrical work done. I will likely never by another Nissan again after this one! if this vehicle wasn't already paid off, I would have traded it in already!

- Houston, TX, USA

problem #22

Apr 012016


  • 96,000 miles
Same as many bought 2008 Pathfinder had 65,000 miles one year ago in roanoke va, started missing, when checking radiator and transmission fluid were were cream like color, paid 104 dollars at maintenance garage to find problem of cracked in radiator part causing to need new transmission which my compartment is 3000 dollars, which is ridiculous since this is evidently a common failure which I was not informed of.when spoke with Nissan stated this is all court ordered them to do...sorry for your inconvenience..I don't have that kind of money, still owe on this vehicle thought I was buying a dependable car, have extended insurance won't pay cause of Nissan extended warranty...think this should have been a recall and consumer notified this is a major car issue and expense....Nissan should be ashamed doing there consumers that way..please spread the word..

- Clifton Forge, VA, USA

problem #21

Nov 152015


  • 115,000 miles


The contact owns a 2008 Nissan Pathfinder. While driving at various speeds, the fuel gauge displayed an incorrect reading and the service engine soon warning light illuminated. The failure recurred on numerous occasions. The vehicle was not diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The failure mileage was 115,000.

- St Paul, MN, USA

problem #20

Sep 052015


  • 101,406 miles
At just over 100K miles (101406) my radiator leaked into the transmission and ruined the transmission. Nissan will not cover the repair at all because I am 1406 out of the class action settlement. Speaking with the local dealer they said there was nothing I could have done from the service side to prevent it.

- Lincoln, NE, USA

problem #19

Sep 042015


  • 97,000 miles
While driving on the highway in the fast lane at 85 mph the car lost power completely. Luckily there were no other cars in my vicinity. Coasted over 2 lanes to breakdown lane just barely over the line. Gas gage read 1/4 tank so figured I still had gas. Tried to restart several times but car acted like it was out of gas. Called aaa for a tow truck and asked to bring gas just in case. Car started right up after mechanic put gas in tank. Although this issue is a recall1 Nissan will not repair for free. Say my VIN is not included in the recall and it will cost me $450. Recall summary:Nissan is recalling certain model year 2006 and model year 2008 frontier, xterra and Pathfinder vehicles. The molded fuel tank shells can deform, causing the fuel sender float arm to contact an embossment molded into the tank shell causing the instrument panel fuel gauge to show that the vehicle has approximately one quarter tank when the fuel tank is empty. Hazard:this could cause the vehicle to run out of gas and stall in traffic, increasing the risk of a crash.

- Alpharetta, GA, USA

problem #18

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 #17

May 172015


  • 145,000 miles
Transmission and radiator are broken causing mixture of fluid cause vehicle to go into limp mode while driving on the interstate. A known defect of Nissan Pathfinder 08, the vehicle was over 140K mile, there was no recall on this but a class action lawsuit pertain to this issue.

- Sylva, NC, USA

problem #16

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 #15

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 #14

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 #13

Jan 152015


  • 71,015 miles
I was driving on ca highway 80 West bound in the fast lane, the vehicle stalled and I was unable to restart the vehicle it left me in immediate danger I couldn't even put it in gear the highway patrol was able to unlock the transmission and safely push me to the shoulder after sitting in the fast lane for over 20 minutes. The dealer after paying for diagnostic was informed that both crank cam sensors had failed and wanted to charge me $1100.

- Vallejo, CA, USA

problem #12

Jul 262014

Pathfinder 6-cyl

  • 136,326 miles
I, a female, purchased a 2008 Nissan Pathfinder from integrity Chevrolet in chattanooga, tn. A day later the Pathfinder is skipping, vibrating and rattling, rear end clunking at 40 mph. Shifts hard at 4 and 5. got 4 mechanics and the Nissan dealership to check all this out and they all concluded the coolant overflow tank was filthy, stinks- not the sweet smell- smelled burnt and rusty. The valves were bloated and radiator cap seal was loose. Low on coolant, high in water. Transmission and radiator needs to be flushed and checked for 'sludge'! the dealership's associate, [xxx], assured me the 2008 Pathfinder had been serviced and all fluids checked and filled. The Nissan dealership and the 4 mechanics all stated that 'no service or fluids were checked!' if it had been, the dealership would have known of this transmission issue! the coolant from the radiator is mixing with the transmission fluid in the transmission, causing a milky- sludge. No one can convince me that this dealership, integrity Chevrolet, in chatt, tn, did not know of this issue- it is a very common issue with the Nissan Pathfinders, xterras and frontiers years 2006-2010. Any good associate would have known this issue- in order to sell this automobile honestly! [xxx], to whom I have known for over 20 years, screwed me over and saw an unknowing, innocent woman coming his way! I had to be a good joke that day. This dealership knew they had to get rid of this Pathfinder quickly B/C it is a 'lemon'! information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Harrison, TN, USA

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