Notes: The 2005-2007 Xterra 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.

The same defect exists in the Pathfinder & Frontier as well. And according to the New York Times & a class action lawsuit, the defect actually extends through 2010 model year. More info here.


really awful
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 2
Injuries / Deaths:
1 / 0
Average Mileage:
103,982 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 Xterra drivetrain problems

drivetrain problem

Find something helpful? Spread the word.
Get notified about new defects, investigations, recalls & lawsuits for the 2005 Nissan Xterra:

Unsubscribe any time. We don't sell/share your email.

2005 Nissan Xterra Owner Comments (Page 10 of 17)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #149

May 252013

Xterra 6-cyl

  • 117,100 miles


The 2005 Nissan Xterra with an automatic transmission was driving fine, then suddenly jerked into four wheel drive low. The vehicle would barely move and the RPM gauge would rise, but would not change gears. The oil pressure also dropped drastically. Now, this has been occurring for the past two weeks, with the vehicle running well sporadically and inconsistently. However, the transmission is no longer jerking into four wheel low (or the indicator lights aren't showing that it does). At times, the Xterra will not even move or go into gear, but the RPM gauge will rise. I have taken the Xterra to two different garages and both have informed me that I not only need a new transmission, but a radiator as well. The estimates that I have received range from $3,500 to $5000.

- Tazewell , TN, USA

problem #148

Jun 072013

Xterra 6-cyl

  • 126,000 miles
The car who was behind me almost got me because all of the sudden my car speed lower dramatically, I took it to the Nissan and left it there, they call me and toll me is a problem with the transmission and everything was going to cost me repair it $7,500 with labor and parts, they have the gods to tell me that is better to sell it because the car is not worth fixing it, that car cost me $37,000 brand new to at least have it for 10 years I been changing the oil frequently so I have no problems, but Nissan is one of the worse car ever sold, my friend had an 2004 Altima and after 5 years everything was failing on that car worse than my X terra, I swear I will never buy Nissan again is bad investment for the money.

- Santa Clarita , CA, USA

problem #147

May 302013


  • 115,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Nissan Xterra. The contact stated that while driving 30 mph, the vehicle stalled without warning. The vehicle was towed to a dealer for diagnosis and the contact was informed that the transmission and the radiator would need to be replaced. The vehicle had not been repaired. The failure and current mileage was 115,000.

- San Jose, CA, USA

problem #146

May 182013

Xterra 6-cyl

  • 107,000 miles


Pulling from side road onto main road when vehicle lost all power. Would not pull at all, had to put the vehicle in neutral to coast down an incline to get out of main road traffic. Took vehicle to shop to find out transmission was shot due to factory defect in radiator and transmission causing radiator fluid to go into transmission and transmission fluid to go into radiator destroying them both. Research showed Nissan knew of this problems in these vehicles but did not recall them to fix problem. They did offer to extend warranty to 80,000 miles but statistics show this generally doesn't happen til 100,000 miles. Repairs are gonna cost $5700 which Nissan should be required to pay. This is a factory defect!! luckily for me when I pulled out on a main road and my vehicle lost all power another vehicle was not coming at me because I could not have gotten out of their way...also had there been a vehicle behind me or no place to coast my vehicle to it could have caused an accident....Nissan should be liable for this!!

- Oak Hill, WV, USA

problem #145

May 172013


  • 114,500 miles
I had an issue approximately 6 months ago regarding my radiator. The coolant and transmission fluids were mixing due to a defective (known) issue. My transmission has now failed due to a rusted valve body in the transmission. In fact it completely failed as I was driving. After pulling into a parking lot, it would not go into gear, any gear. These issues are obviously directly linked but I am now left holding the bag due to the fact that Nissan's extension of the warranty covers only vehicles with up to 100K miles. I am now nearing 115K miles.

- Winer Park , FL, USA

Search for these popular complaint phrases...

problem #144

May 182013

Xterra 6-cyl

  • 142,170 miles
Noticed vibration and bumping while car shifted randomly. Transmission is basically shot due to coolant leaking into the transmission cooler and mixing with transmission fluid causing total destruction of the transmission. Radiator needs to be replaced due to failure.

- Arlington, WA, USA

problem #143

May 092013


  • 123,500 miles


When I was driving home and I came to a full stop my Xterra wasn't accelerating. I called a mechanic and explain him what was wrong and he told me my transmission was bad and that I need it to replace it also the radiator. The price for the transmission was $3800.

- Raleigh, NC, USA

problem #142

May 102013


  • 122,000 miles
While driving at about 45mph I noticed a rumbling noise that resembled the sound when you drive over the speed stips on the highway. I thought it was a change in pavement. I started noticing the noise much more frequently and decided to see what the internet had to say. Wow!!! was I surprised when I saw 500+ complaints on the same matter. Apparently the transmission cooler line is cracked and runs in to the transmission causing catastrophic failure in the transmission. I have decided to flush the radiator and transmission while replacing the cooler. We will see if this fixes the problem but by reading everyone else's responses it looks like I need to brace myself for the deep economic impact of buy a new transmission. My vehicle is 8 years old but at 120K miles. Let's hope this lawsuit forces them to put out a recall. We all know why they are not putting out a is because it is an expensive one!

- Pflugerville, TX, USA

problem #141

Apr 272013

Xterra 6-cyl

  • 94,200 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Nissan Xterra. The contact stated that while driving 40 mph, the vehicle shook violently. The vehicle was taken to the dealer where it was found that the torque converter, radiator and the transmission had failed. The vehicle was repaired. The manufacturer was not contacted about the failure. The failure mileage was 94,200. Updated 06/18/13 updated 06/21/2013

- Troy, AL, USA

problem #140

Aug 142012

Xterra 6-cyl

  • 105,000 miles
Car hesitates going into gear, very rough shifting (it is an automatic). Very dangerous at intersections and on highway- cannot drive it. Brought in for service. When mechanic attempted to flush the transmission, it was discovered that the radiator fluid has been leaking into the transmission. Class action lawsuit filed on this complaint, reimbursement only up to 100,000 miles or 10 years, whatever is less, and only costs above 3000K covered! this is at least a $5200K repair job and that may not event remedy all components that may have been affected. Additional problem is that my mileage was 5K over what the lawsuit allows. There was no way to know when this problem even started occurring.

- Meriden, CT, USA

problem #139

May 012013

Xterra 6-cyl

  • 85,000 miles


Approximately 4 months ago my engine light came on. We took it to Nissan and it was the fuel pump. That was $700, then 2 weeks later the engine light came back on we took it to Nissan and it was the catalytic converter, that was $1800. Here we are 4 months later engine light comes back on we take it to Nissan and now I'm told it is the radiator and transmission. This is going to cost $2500! I come to find out that there is a defect with the radiator and transmission and Nissan has known about this since 2007. My complaint is if Nissan knew about a defect, and in my opinion a safety hazard, then why didn't they recall the defected parts" why is the consumer being penalized for a defect" Nissan needs to recall these known defective parts and fix them!

- Trumbull, CT, USA

problem #138

Apr 192013

Xterra 6-cyl

  • 98,188 miles
The car started to shake very badly apx 40 mph. I took it in for repair and found out that the radiator had malfunctioned and allowed coolant into the transmission. The damage was non repairable. My car is in the shop now waiting to have the radiator and transmission replaced.

- Taylorsville, UT, USA

problem #137

Apr 292013


  • 115,000 miles
Radiator leaked onto transmission. Learned about their faulty radiators just today. Now I'm in a $6200 bind to get a new radiator and transmission. I take good care of my Xterra and I am so appalled with Nissan I don't know what to do with myself. A $600 fix turned into a $6200 fix.

- Denver, CO, USA

problem #136

Apr 302013

Xterra 6-cyl

  • 102,000 miles
While driving across country from California to Virginia noticed the Xterra begin to shake when switching to overdrive. A service shop in Virginia determined that coolant from the radiator leaked into the transmission. Notified the local dealership of the problem. They were familiar with the problem and stated that the radiator and transmission needed to be replace at an approximate cost of $6500-$7000. When asked if flushing the transmission would help, they stated that they have tried that on other vehicles with the same problem, but transmission failure ultimately occurred. Contacted Nissan about extended warranty but odometer reads 102K miles which disqualifies for the 9yr/100K warranty extension.

- Union, OH, USA

problem #135

Apr 202013

Xterra 6-cyl

  • 84,900 miles
The transmission went out at an intersection on exit#407 in tn. 250 miles away from home. The transmission never hesitated or warnings at all. Just got to the intersection and it wouldn't go. It finally caught after causing other vehicles to stop and I got it to a parking spot thank god. I towed the car home to bob richards Nissan in North augusta SC and was told the radiator cracked causing my radiator and transmission fluids to mix. Nissan covers it 100% under 80K miles and would not help me at all since I am at 84,900....I can only hope to get reimbursed the $2500 co-pay. Nisan never mentioned this defect and its a $100 fix. My 2008 frontier is also effected by the radiator. I will never buy another Nissan.

- North Augusta, SC, USA

problem #134

Apr 202013

Xterra 6-cyl

  • 84,900 miles
The transmission went out at an intersection. Exit #407 in Tennessee. 250miles away from home. The transmission never hesitated or slipped....just got to the intersection and it wouldn't go. It finally caught after almost causing an accident and I got to a parking spot but the transmission wouldn't go into gear after the fact. I towed the car home to bob richards Nissan in North augusta and was told that the radiator cracked causing a mixture of radiator and transmission fluid.

- North Augusta, SC, USA

problem #133

Apr 262013

Xterra 6-cyl

  • 160,000 miles
I was driving on the freeway when suddenly the car stalled. Pressed on the gas and car would not move just humming sound. I knew that it had to be transmission problem. Had car towed to transmission shop. They notified me that there had been numerous complaints about the Nissan. After looking at the car they saw that the radiator had a crack and that coolant had leaked into the transmission. After taking the transmission apart I was notified that the seals, valves, torque converter, including the computer were all damaged, the transmission would have to be flushed replaced or repaired, the radiator flushed replaced or repaired, the engine flushed. All this costing about $4,000. This problem has been known to Nissan and I was never informed. I'm 65 and on fixed income. I need this car and need help.

- Temecula, CA, USA

problem #132

Apr 182013

Xterra 6-cyl

  • 95,000 miles
Upon exiting a highway, where traffic was congested and slow moving, my 2005 Nissan Xterra suddenly refused to accelerate. Suddenly, smoke appeared to be emanating from the undercarriage of my SUV. Initially, it appeared that my vehicle had caught on fire. Two passing fireman assisted me and determined that I had a transmission issue because of the fluid that was leaked onto the street. Since the Xterra was not drivable, it was towed to a transmission repair center. It was determined that the transmission failure was caused by a malfunctioning radiator. Apparently, radiator fluid contaminated the transmission fluid and severely damaged the transmission.

- Lake Hopatcong, NJ, USA

problem #131

Apr 172013

Xterra 6-cyl

  • 129,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Nissan Xterra. The contact stated that while driving approximately 40 mph, the vehicle began shaking excessively and would not accelerate. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The contact stated that the failure was caused by contamination of the transmission by the radiator. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure the vehicle was not repaired. The approximate failure mileage was 129,000.

- Albany, GA, USA

problem #130

Apr 142013

Xterra 6-cyl

  • 114,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Nissan Xterra. The contact stated that while driving approximately 45 mph, the vehicle began shaking as the check engine warning light illuminated. The vehicle was taken to the dealer where they advised the contact that transmission fluid had leaked into the radiator and both components would need to be replaced. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The approximate failure and current mileage was 114,000.

- Marrow , OH, USA

Read the next 20 complaints »

Not what you are looking for?