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:
103,445 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

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2005 Nissan Xterra Owner Comments (Page 10 of 17)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #157

Jul 032013

Xterra 6-cyl

  • 84,000 miles


The contact owns a 2005 Nissan Xterra. The contact stated that while having the vehicle inspected, she was advised that radiator fluid had entered the transmission. The dealer diagnosed that the radiator and the transmission needed to be replaced. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The approximate failure and current mileage was 84,000.

- Hillside, NJ, USA

problem #156

Jul 062013

Xterra 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 108,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Nissan Xterra. The contact stated while driving 45 mph the vehicle stalled and failed to shift gears. The vehicle was taken to a private mechanic, who stated the transmission failed because cooant mixed with the transmission fluid. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure was not reported to the manufacturer. The failure and current mileage was 108,000. Updated 08/20/13

- Fountain Inn, SC, USA

problem #155

Jul 082013

Xterra 6-cyl

  • 94,000 miles
Fortunately I was simply attempting to back out of my driveway when the vehicle would not move. I read numerous horror stories of others who had this issue in the middle of the highway so I am very thankful that this did pose any further risk of injury especially since I am 9 months pregnant and was on my way to an ultrasound. After taking my SUV in, we learned that anti-freeze was leaking into the transmission causing complete transmission failure and ultimately requiring a full transmission replacement. The cost is closing in on $4,000. Never did I receive any notification from Nissan that this was possible and my Xterra did not show any signs of concern. I started researching this problem online only to learn that I am one of many who have experienced this issue and at a hefty price with no help from Nissan. I read online that Nissan's answer to the problem was to extend the warranty to 80,000 miles but I have just recently passed that threshold. Furthermore, I have learned that this problem more often begins to present itself after 80,000 miles. I am appalled that this issue has not been investigated and more importantly been recalled since it could cause serious injury if not death. One thing is for sure, my husband and I will never purchase another Nissan vehicle. I strongly feel that the NHTSA should analyze the way Nissan is doing their business not to mention find a way to compensate every single customer who has suffered from this problem. Nissan should be ashamed of themselves and hopeful that no one gets seriously hurt should it occur in the wrong circumstances.

- Haddon Heights, NJ, USA

problem #154

Jul 012013

Xterra 6-cyl

  • 99,800 miles


Car started vibrating like it was going over a rumble strip, loss of power/rpms, unable to accelerate. Problem was intermittent and got worse. Took it to Nissan dealership, and apparently this is a known problem on some makes and models manufactured between 2005-2010 with defective radiators that leak coolant into the transmission system hence damaging it. Since I was at 100,000miles I had a copay of $3000.

- Newark , DE, USA

problem #153

Jun 272013

Xterra 6-cyl

  • 105,000 miles
A radiator failure caused the cooling system fluid to mix with transmission fluid causing transmission failure.

- Colchester, VT, USA

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problem #152

Jun 212013


  • 98,812 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Nissan Xterra. The contact stated that the vehicle shook violently and slipped while shifting gears. The vehicle was taken to the dealer where it was found that that radiator fluid had entered the transmission. The vehicle was repaired. The manufacturer was contacted about the failure. The failure mileage was 98,812.

- Long Beach, CA, USA

problem #151

Jun 012013


  • 126,000 miles


Started vehicle and began to drive when the vehicle appeared to have no power. Continued around the block to return home and realized that the vehicle was not shifting gears. It appeared to be stuck in 2nd gear and would not shift up or down. Shut vehicle down and tried again believing that perhaps "something was stuck" with the same results. The vehicle was towed to a transmission mechanic who diagnosed the problem as glycol contamination in the transmission requiring an entire rebuild of the transmission. Upon research of the internet, I have discovered that this is a known problem to Nissan with the 2005 Xterras and other Nissan vehicles. While it is accurate that Nissan did offer to extend the warranty for the radiator (the known source of the problem) they did so without explaining the full extent of the problem or known possible catastrophic events if the radiator leaked. The resulting events of a leaking radiator is a damaged transmission requiring a full rebuild due to the glycol contamination.

- Wrightsville, PA, USA

problem #150

Jun 102013


  • 115,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Nissan Xterra. The contact stated that while driving 45 mph, he attempted to accelerate but the vehicle did not respond. The vehicle was towed to an independent mechanic for diagnosis. The contact was informed that the transmission would need to be replaced. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The vehicle had not been repaired. The failure and current mileage was 115,000.

- Jackson, NJ, USA

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

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

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