Notes: The 2004 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 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
2 / 0
Average Mileage:
62,794 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.

2004 Nissan Xterra steering problems

steering problem

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2004 Nissan Xterra Owner Comments

problem #9

Jun 012015


  • 94,000 miles


Steering binds when coming to complete left turn, will not return when moving forwrd unless manually assisted, now steering gear starting to leak.

- Las Vegas, NV, USA

problem #8

Oct 142011


  • 128,138 miles
I have replaced my starter 3 times. My brake lights have a short or faulty wiring I'm sure because we have replaced the bulbs several times. I have gotten tickets because of this as a result I have a expired brake tag I cant get a new one because the wiring will cost to much. My uv joint broke while I was driving on the high way. That part they tell me is not a common breaking part. Nissan charges over a thousand dollars to repair that. I'm told my wiring is bad after I replace my starter 2 months ago. They sent me a recall for my column steering and I had it repaired but it still is a slight hassle to change gears. I have received a letter telling me they are buying 2004 Nissan Xterra's but when I called the sales man says it's nothing wrong with the Xterra's that's just a sales stunt. I think its a bunch of bull Nissan knows they didn't do a good job with these 2004"S.

- New Orleans, LA, USA

problem #7

Jul 172013

Xterra 6-cyl

  • 60,000 miles
Vehicle has tight steering. Barely able to turn wheel while not moving. Independent garage checked steering, found corrosion in steering linkage and notified me of recall. When contacted Nissan dealer claims that recall does not cover this vehicle. Called Nissan customer service number who also denied the recall. Vehicle is within the recall dates and was manufactured at smyrna, tn plant. Representative could not say why this vehicle was not included. Wanted me to take to dealer and pay to have repaired. Either Nissan is not honoring the commitment to the recall or the recall needs to be expanded to include all of the effected vehicles.

- Roanoke, VA, USA

problem #6

Dec 222012

Xterra 6-cyl

  • 83,000 miles


After repairing steering column problem (recall id# 10V554000) less than one year, the gear box cracked and power steering fluid drained causing power steering lost function. I think gear box cracked problem is related to the steering column problem. I have contacted Nissan dealer and regional office but they denied the relationship of the problem.

- Dallas, TX, USA

problem #5

Oct 142010


  • miles
The contact owns a 2004 Nissan Xterra. The contact was driving approximately 30 mph around a bend when he lost control of the steering. The vehicle was then suddenly flipped driver side up. The contact and all the passengers in the vehicle were transported to the hospital via ambulance. The contact sustained a contusion to the brain and the rear seat passenger sustained injuries to the leg. A police report was filed. The vehicle was destroyed. The manufacturer was not contacted in regards to the failure. The failure mileage was unknown.

- Spring Town, TX, USA

problem #4

Jan 212011

Xterra 6-cyl

  • 79,000 miles
First -my steering was getting hard - I asked a tech at Nissan what possibly could be the problem. They suggested change the steering fluid first. I did and then I learned there was a recall - I would like a reimbursement of $96.25 for the steering power fluid flush that I did not need. I was never notified and found out by calling Nissan because the problem was still happening. I took the SUV into Nissan service to do the recall repair - it was done however, I still had a hard steering problem. They looked at it again and they now said I needed a gear box which I recorded earilier with you in a previous complaint. If I do in fact need a gear box I feel that it got defective due to the recall - this is over a $2,000 repair. A very short time after my car left the service department (after they said I may need a gear box) I almost had a very bad car accident - my front tires and steering wheel began to shake and the wheel felt like it was coming off - I towed the SUV to Nissan service and I am now told that the tie rod assembly needs to be replaced at a cost of over $700. Why did they not see the problem the week before" I want to be reimbursed for $96.25 steering power flush, towing charge of $120 and the tie rod assembly replacement approx. $800 and I want this investigated. Do I really need a gear box? I could have gotten into a very bad accident if that wheel to fly off. Please look into this problem. Thank you - Nissan Xterra 2004 your department and Nissan needs to look into this problem - I could have died. Does it have anything to do with the 4 wheel drive"

- Howell, NJ, USA

problem #3

Jan 302010


  • 49,000 miles


The contact owns a 2004 Nissan Xterra which was purchased brand new in 2004. He noticed a leak similar to oil in the front end of the vehicle. The dealer stated that the steering system needed to be replaced. They also advised the contact that the leak was in the steering system and would become progressively worse. There were no recalls on his vehicle and the repairs would be at the owner's expense. The failure and current mileages were under 49,000.

- Staten Island, NY, USA

problem #2

Apr 012009


  • 46,010 miles
April 9,2009 thanks for talking with me about my issue. Re: Maine's express and implied warranty laws: As we discussed please find enclosed Maine law that basically extended any express warranty from a car dealer based on the enclosed criteria. Since the Nissan Xterra has a 6 year power train warranty I have the right to assert that the defective part, which is a safety hazard for me and family, should have lasted well beyond 4 1/2 years or 46,000 miles on the car. I am requesting that you authorized berlin city Nissan to repair this part (number: 497109Z400) which can only be purchased through the dealer. This part simply was defective and faulty and was not in any way abused pursuant to Maine law. The part clearly did not meet the Maine warranty law of fit for ordinary purposes in fact the dealer told my wife and me they very rarely if ever see this part come in for repair. In summary, I request that Nissan doe the right thing and authorized a full payment of the above mention part along with the $96.50 cents which I have already paid berlin city to diagnose of the problem with part number: 497109Z400. Thanks for your assistance taking care of this matter to avoid a formal compliant to Maine attorney general's office.

- Portland, ME, USA

problem #1

Oct 202007

Xterra 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 26,000 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Nissan Xterra. While attempting to make a right turn at approximately 40 mph, the steering column became extremely difficult to steer. After close inspection, the contact noticed that all of the power steering fluid exited the vehicle. He took his vehicle to a local mechanic and was informed that the bracket on the hose, between the pump and the steering unit, was rusted. The mechanic further stated that the high pressure tube and the return unit needed to be replaced. The dealer informed the contact that he would be responsible for the repair costs since his vehicle was out of warranty. He filed a formal complaint with the manufacturer. The failure mileage was 26,000 and current mileage was 27,500.

- Newark Valley, NY, USA

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