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 4 of 17)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #269

Apr 172015


  • 80,000 miles


I was informed by a friend who has the same make and model car that there is a defect in the radiator that causes radiator fluid to leak into the transmission, thus ruining the transmission. Therefore you need to then replace the transmission.

- Denver, CO, USA

problem #268

Mar 122015

Xterra 6-cyl

  • 89,000 miles
Driving on freeway at 65mph car started stalling and loosing speed, I stepped on the gas but car would not accelerate. I was a few yards from exit, so I exited and when I reached the bottom of the exit, car stopped and it accelerated in reverse. Very scary and strange. I pulled the emergency brake and turned the engine off even though it seemed to not be running. I towed the car to a mechanic and I found out that the problem was a design flaw in the car that Nissan has acknowledged but did not recall the vehicles. I find myself with a $6,000 repair estimate. I called the dealer after finding out what caused my car to die and they were aware of the problem as well and informed me that Nissan had extended the warranty on the car with a $3,000 co-pay. The problem is not only expensive to repair but a real danger if the car goes into reverse while on heavy, fast traffic. I'm completely aghast that Nissan and the dealers have known about this problem but have not notified car owners nor will they own up to the design defect and repair the vehicles which should not be needing new transmissions with less than 100,000 of driving. I don't know what you do with these complaints, but Nissan needs to do the right thing and repair the vehicles free of charge. The class action lawsuit that they settled is a sham. When we buy cars we expect them to run well, and not have major flaws that would render the cars useless if you don't have the huge amounts of money that it takes to repair them. What does the law allow Nissan to do in this case. They've already ripped us off by selling us faulty vehicles and now they want to rip us off by having us pay for repairs that should not have been incurred to begin with.

- Pittsburg, CA, USA

problem #267

Sep 292014

Xterra 6-cyl

  • 106,000 miles
We have a 2005 Nissan Xterra and were never told about the trouble with this models trouble with the radiator coolant leaking into the transmission and causing damage. Nissan extended their warranty with a deductible up to 100,000 miles and ours leaked at 106,000 miles causing $5600 in damages that Nissan refused to acknowledge. Had there been a recall this never would have happened.

- Clearwater, FL, USA

problem #266

Mar 192013


  • 99,634 miles


My 2005 Nissan Xterra transmission went out as I was driving across the causeway and almost ended up in the marsh. I searched online and this is a common problem with the radiator leaking into the transmission. Nissan was involved in a class action lawsuit but it's to late for damages. I think this is a safety issue and Nissan should have recalled these vehicles before someone is killed.

- St Simons Island, GA, USA

problem #265

Feb 202015


  • 115,000 miles
Transmission failure due to defective valve unit. Very dangerous situation as the vehicle loose complete power. This is happening to a lot of Nissan Xterra 2005 owners.

- Hollister, CA, USA

Search for these popular complaint phrases...

problem #264

Jan 302015


  • 140,000 miles
The class action lawsuit that is going on, this is what happened to my vehicle. My coolant leaked into my transmission, now my transmission is now destroyed as well as my radiator, and the estimates are $5500 to fix. I almost crashed and got hit by an 18 wheeler when this happened, I need to report this because I hope Nissan steps up and fixes this once and for all, instead of letting there customers hang out to dry.

- Toms River, NJ, USA

problem #263

Jun 252014


  • 102,000 miles


The contact owns a 2005 Nissan Xterra. While driving approximately 40 mph, the vehicle decelerated and the rpms increased without warning. The vehicle was towed to an independent mechanic. The technician diagnosed that the transmission oil cooler failed and caused water to enter into the transmission. The transmission needed to be replaced. The vehicle was repaired. The manufacturer was not made aware of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 102,000.

- New Orleans, LA, USA

problem #262

Jan 032015

Xterra 6-cyl

  • 118,000 miles
Unexpectedly, transmission seemed to be in neutral. Applying gas just revved engine. Then strong jerk and back into gear. Happening at highway speeds on a busy interstate had it gone on longer or I not been able to pull to the side, this could have triggered a major pile up.

- Fairfax, VA, USA

problem #261

Jul 072014


  • 138,000 miles
Bought my 2005 Nissan Xterra brand new and it now needs a new transmission because of a radiator leak. After doing some research I see that there are thousands of them with the same problem yet no recall and Nissan is not willing to do anything!

- Madison, FL, USA

problem #260

Jan 012014

Xterra 6-cyl

  • 135,000 miles
Vehicle moving along interstate in heavy traffic at 60 mph when acted as if it was shifted into neutral. Almost got hit twice trying to coast to side of road. There was no response to trying to accelerate, shifter still in D position. Engine temperature rose quickly. Shut engine off engine, to prevent a fire. Sit there momentarily, restarted the engine, temp came down, transmission engaged, drove home. Husband investigated and found oily substance in radiator and transmission low in fluid that was a pasty looking material now on dipstick. Refer to the Nissan radiator defect class action lawsuit settlement case is in re: Nissan radiator/transmission cooler litigation, case no. 10-cv-07493, U.S. district court for the southern district of New York. We were never notified of a recall or the suit, when we would have qualified for assistance from Nissan. Does the state of New York decide reparations to the rest of the country while I am now poor and need a car and can't afford to repair it. How many more failures are out there? includes pathfinder and frontier models. Also discovered VIN number on top of dash was incorrect. Thanks.

- Satsuma, AL, USA

problem #259

Dec 062014


  • 143,000 miles


The contact owns a 2005 Nissan Xterra. The contact stated that while driving at approximately 55 mph, the vehicles speed decreased without warning. The vehicle was restarted and failed to accelerate. The vehicle was towed to an independent mechanic, who diagnosed that the radiator failed causing the transmission to fail. As a result, the transmission needed to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was not made aware of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 143,000. The VIN was unavailable.

- Casco, WI, USA

problem #258

Sep 012014

Xterra 6-cyl

  • 96,000 miles
The transmission shakes violently on acceleration. So I drove the vehicle to the dealership for a diagnosis. I have learned that the radiator cracking and leaking into the transmission is a common problem for the 2005 Nissan Xterra, and that Nissan settled a lawsuit in October of 2012. I do not remember getting any information that this might be a problem and I have to pay $3000 to get the transmission and radiator replaced! after 100,000 miles I am stuck to pay the complete cost of the repairs. Is there any kind of recourse for this problem that I am unaware of?

- Rochester, MN, USA

problem #257

Oct 272013

Xterra 6-cyl

  • 101,000 miles
The engine started to overheat and the vehicle transmission started to shift irratically. There was an oily substance in the coolant reservoir. I contacted the dealership and was told that this is a known condition requiring replacement of the radiator and rebuilding of the transmission. I was told that since there was 101000 miles on the vehicle, that the entire $3800 for repair would have to be borne by me. I tried driiving the vehicle several times afterwards with the same result. It has been parked in front of my house for 6 months now as I don't have the money to repair.

- New Orleans, LA, USA

problem #256

Oct 062014

Xterra 6-cyl

  • 106,403 miles
My car was running fine and normal but when I tried to start it, nothing happened. I tried to jump the battery and I replaced the starter. After those attempts I had the vehicle towed to a nearby dealership who told me that coolant from the radiator leaked into the transmission and mixed fluid, damaging both the transmission and ECM. Car will not start and the is no communications working. The Nissan dealership recommended I get a new radiator, ipdm module, and transmission which was estimated at a cost of $5,500 after parts and labor. I had the vehicle towed to a local repair shop for a second opinion and was told the same thing as the dealer had said.

- Killeen, TX, USA

problem #255

Aug 152013

Xterra 6-cyl

  • miles
Cracked radiator causing coolant to leak into the transmission. Once mixed with the transmission fluid this lethal combination kills the valves, seals and torque converter -- rendering your entire transmission useless. My Xterra is not able to drive. Got quoted over three thousand to repair and my car is not even paid off yet.

- Dallas, TX, USA

problem #254

Sep 292014


  • 73,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Nissan Xterra. While driving 40 mph, the vehicle shook and failed to shift gears. The vehicle was not diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The failure mileage was 73,000.

- Reno, NV, USA

problem #253

Sep 192014

Xterra 6-cyl

  • 133,600 miles
Nissan's defective transmission / transmission cooling system design has ruined another transmission. Nissan knows the issue will occur after their warranty (even an extended warranty) expires. So their defective design costs them nothing. And they know that regulators can't touch them. And Nissan dealers are useless. They could care less about their "customers" after they make a sale.

- Forest, VA, USA

problem #252

Jan 072014

Xterra 6-cyl

  • 126,000 miles
A few days prior to this vehicle's shut down, I had noticed when driving at either 40 mph or 60 mph, the vehicle would start to 'vibrate'; the feel was as if driving on the highway and the tires are driving over the meridian entering the brake down lane. The alignment wasn't the issue. The day of incident, I was driving on a 50 mph main street, when approaching 40 mph, the vehicle shut down. After about 10 minutes, the vehicle started back up, enough time to drive 5 minutes back home. Once towed to the garage & after inspection I was told there was a crack in the atf line which caused coolant to mix with transmission fluid in result causing my transmission to fail. Of course I just went over my 100,000 ml warranty, my vehicle is just at 126,000 ml! I am the only owner of this vehicle & have done well maintaining it. After doing research on this issue, I am disgusted with Nissan not taking ownership to this situation! this model alone has the most complaints with this specific issue, and to only do an extended recall up to 80,000 ml is ridiculous when this issue appears to happen from 90,000 ml +!!!!!!! I bought this vehicle brand new, with the hopes to have it live for almost 300,000 ml, which I was told by the dealership prior to me buying. This company used to have a great reputation.....let's pray they try to get it back. I hope Nissan owns up to this situation & is just not sitting around until a death happens to recall it!

- Taunton, MA, USA

problem #251

Sep 142014

Xterra 6-cyl

  • 97,000 miles
This is a complaint towards Nissan and there failure to be and act as a professional car company. There should be a recall on there radiators leaking into the transmission, it has costs numerous amounts of people thousands of dollars to replace transmissions and radiators and even when done the problem still occurs. The class action lawsuit that they were so "nice" enough to agree on does not help anyone what so ever especially when hitting the 100K mark. These vehicles were built to last a long time, not crap out after 50,000 miles. It's a problem that needs to be resolved.

- Milford , NJ, USA

problem #250

Aug 112014


  • 71,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Nissan Xterra. The contact stated that while driving at an unknown speed, an abnormal noise emitted from the engine. The vehicle was taken to an independent mechanic. The technician diagnosed that there was water in the transmission and oil in the radiator. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 71,000.

- Cranston, RI, USA

Read the next 20 complaints »

Not what you are looking for?