Notes: The 2003 Nissan Xterra doesn't seem to have any problem trends. The only thing prospective owners should be aware of are the less-than-perfect (but acceptable) crash test ratings.

There are a very few transmission complaints, but nothing like the huge defect that shows up starting in with the 2005 model year.


really awful
Crashes / Fires:
1 / 1
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
44,160 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.

2003 Nissan Xterra engine problems

engine problem

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2003 Nissan Xterra Owner Comments

problem #5

Jun 282014

Xterra 6-cyl

  • 108,000 miles


We were driving on vacation and the car stopped. It started back up and then after a couple of miles stopped again. We were stranded and didn't get home for three days.I have take codes off the engine and it showed a 0462 code. Went back to get Xterra with a car dolly and dolly broke and car came undone. This unfortunate incident was a direct result of a bad sending unit.

- Del Rio , TX, USA

problem #4

Jun 112012

Xterra 6-cyl

  • miles
Radiator is falling out of truck, due to serious rust on framing, hood latch is starting to break free hood could fly up onto windshield.

- Florida, NY, USA

problem #3

Aug 262009


  • 78,000 miles
Engine light came on in 09. Vehicle failed emissions due to problem with evac system. Gasket at fuel tank was replaced. Within a year, engine light came back on. There was another problem with the evac system. After $ $862 dollars that were spent on vehicle for O ring and gasket repairs, vehicle passed emissions. Within 8 months, engine light was back on due to evac system. Mechanic states that there is major corrosion of the fuel tank and that he has seen the same thing on many Nissan vehicles of this age due to the material used to construct the fuel tank and believes that it is a widespread problem that should have been recalled and that Nissan started using a different material once the problem was known. The entire interior of the vehicle smells of gasoline and mechanic states that anyone in close proximity of vehicle could cause an explosion if a spark was created.

- Oakdale, CT, USA

problem #2

May 232008


  • 10,800 miles
Since 2006, sensor light was coming on and off. In 2008 failed emission inspection due to sensor light. Had repaired by a state certified repair facility, as required by state of mass, for sensor and cat converter in May 2008. In Aug 2008 sensor light came back on. Had reset - was same issue that was repaired in May 2008.

- Rockland, MA, USA

problem #1

Oct 312004


  • Automatic transmission
  • 24,000 miles
Fuel injection system was replaced four times. After the last repair, while driving the vehicle, it caught on fire in the engine.

- American Canyon, CA, USA

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