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

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2005 Nissan Xterra Owner Comments (Page 7 of 17)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #209

Feb 032014


  • 115,000 miles


Automatic transmission fluid was cross contaminated with coolant due to faulty radiator. This is a know problem with Nissan Xterra and pathfinders. Nissan is aware of the problem but refuses to take responsibility for the problem. Nissan sold products with poor manufacturing quality that cause this catastrophic malfunction. Current Nissan owner are stuck with a repair bill for 5 to 6 thousand dollars or with a truck that they can't drive of sell because Nissan refuses to take care of its customers.

- Rahway, NJ, USA

problem #208

Jan 242014

Xterra 6-cyl

  • 110,000 miles
Transmission died and needs to be replaced, due to the radiator issues of the Xterras from the year.

- Littleton, CO, USA

problem #207

Jan 232014

Xterra 6-cyl

  • 126,000 miles
While driving and in flow of traffic vehicle lost all power, but rpms would still increase due to faulty transmission in the Xterra. Faulty transmission leads to mixing of the radiator and transmission fluid causing loss of acceleration. Almost caused an accident with another vehicle.

- Brentwood, TN, USA

problem #206

Nov 012013

Xterra 6-cyl

  • 119,337 miles


Engine coolant leaked into the transmission, causing transmission failure. Replacement transmission is required.

- Santa Rosa, CA, USA

problem #205

Jan 022014


  • 136,000 miles
Driving 35 mph, vehicle suddenly stops. By reading all the other complaints in regards to the transmission, the coolant mixing and contaminating the transmission fluid. Sounds exactly the same issues. Will be bringing to get final diagnosis. All other recalls have happened to my Xterra, and I am the original owner.

- Taunton , MA, USA

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problem #204

Jan 022014

Xterra 6-cyl

  • 104,000 miles
When I am driving on the highway doing 65 or 50 miles an hour the car would slow down and cars behind me would almost hit me. This car was on a recall for the transmission and was fixed. The same problem came back on the transmission and Nissan would not fix it. Information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Brockton, MA, USA

problem #203

Dec 312013

Xterra 6-cyl

  • 153,900 miles


I had my transmission and radiator replaced in my 05 Nissan Xterra in Dec 2010 at 69,000 miles due to defect of radiator leaking into transmission which caused me to brake down on a 2 lane highway. The Nissan service/dealer in kingston MA where we purchased the vehicle tried to tell us all that was needed was a radiator and transmission flush but we had already contacted Nissan corporate and found out we were entitled to a new transmission and radiator assembly due to a recall. They unwillingly replaced both assemblies. I have now experienced a 2nd brake down on an on ramp entering the highway and could not move my car as the transmission again failed at 153,900 miles. I had it towed to the Nissan service/dealer in kingston MA and was informed the transmission we had put in 2010 was only under warranty for 1 yr/12000 miles and I am responsible for all repair costs. I have to think that the original repair was not done properly and the same problem existed in the new assemblies that were put in as a new transmission should last longer than this. I feel my safety and the safety of other motorists was put at risk due to these problems as severe accidents could have occurred due to the fact that the my vehicle lost the ability to move at all on the highway in two different incidents. Nissan should be held responsible for not fixing the initial problem properly.

- Plymouth, MA, USA

problem #202

Dec 272013

Xterra 6-cyl

  • 177,000 miles
I have a 2005 Nissan Xterra and I'm having a problem with the transmission I place it in gear and heard a pop and then the vehicle did not want to go anywhere. After doing some research I have come to the conclusion that there are many others having the same problem. If Nissan knows this is a problem they should be held responsible for repairs no matter what the mileage is on the vehicle. I will not be buying another Nissan if they don't want to stand behind there products. A couple of years ago the fuel sending unit went bad and it cost me $1200 dollars to have it fixed and it was also a known problem.

- Tulsa, OK, USA

problem #201

Dec 022013

Xterra 6-cyl

  • 108,000 miles
Coolant leaked into the transmission, causing transmission failure. Estimate of $5800 to repair.

- Littleton, CO, USA

problem #200

Oct 162013

Xterra 6-cyl

  • 149,300 miles
While accelerating, after pulling from a county road onto a state highway, my vehicle "stuttered" and immediately lost power to the drive train. Discovered that I had water in my transmission.

- Cement, OK, USA

problem #199

Dec 112013

Xterra 6-cyl

  • 112,500 miles


The car had been driving fine and then all of a sudden it would not shift into a higher gear. The rpms would just increase. At times the car would not even go into any gear what so ever. Finally managed to get it to a dealership where they told me it was the transmission fluid mixing with the radiator fluid. Told me I needed both replaced and quoted over $6500 for the fix. Check engine light was on at the time, but I was also having a problem with the fuel gauge (also another known problem in Xterras).

- Nashville, TN, USA

problem #198

Dec 162013


  • 116,208 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Nissan Xterra. The contact stated that while driving approximately 25 mph, the engine rpms increased excessively but the vehicle failed to accelerate. The contact mentioned that the check engine warning light was illuminated. The vehicle was towed to a dealer where it was diagnosed that the radiator fluid was mixed with the transmission fluid. As a result, the transmission would need to be replaced. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The approximate failure and current mileage was 116,208.

- Salt Lake City, UT, USA

problem #197

Dec 052013

Xterra 6-cyl

  • 118,000 miles
When driving at various speeds I began to notice the engine bogging down when changing gears. Upon taking it to my mechanic I was told that there was a leak between the transmission and engine coolant systems. The fix would require a replacement of both systems totally approx. $6000! apparently this is a "known issue" with 2005-2010 Xterras. Upon contacting Nissan I was told that since my vehicle was over 100,000 miles that there was nothing that they could do for me. If this is a known issue, and a rather major one at that, I'm not sure why there hasn't been any recalls or some kind of fix.

- Fairfield, OH, USA

problem #196

Nov 152013


  • 119,000 miles
My daughter was driving our 2005 Nissan Xterra and suddenly the car would not accelerate, she floored it and after a while it got back up to speed enough for her to pull off the highway through 3 lanes of traffic and onto the side road. The car now sits in my driveway because it will cost over 6,000 to repair (the car book value is a bit less than that). The transmission/radiator will need to be replaced because the fluid has gotten into the transmission. Nissan is aware of this issue and still continues to let their customers bear the brunt of their defective product. Thank god my daughter was not killed on the highway due to the sudden loss of speed/control. I hope it does not take someone dying from this defect in order for them to recall and pay to replace/repair this issue. Perhaps someone already has but no one knows yet. I had to drive the car home from the mechanic shop just a few miles and was unable to accelerate several times and was almost hit twice. We have bought her a new car (not a Nissan) and are trying to find someone to purchase the Nissan and fix it themselves or sell it for parts. We now have a useless auto that is no longer worth a dime and we are out several thousand in resale value. How can this be legal" when will this finally be taken seriously"

- Helotes, TX, USA

problem #195

Oct 012013

Xterra 6-cyl

  • 135,000 miles
While driving on the highway at about 60 mph, my car shifted out of gear and the RPM's shot up causing my car to pretty much stop moving on the highway. I was able to pull over to the side of the road and call for a tow. We had the car towed to a transmission specialist who told us that the transmission was fried. By looking at the fluid in the transmission just on a quick look, he deduced that the radiator had most likely leaked coolant, causing the transmission to fail. Upon researching this issue, I learned that this has happened to many Nissan vehicles and could be a huge problem for many people. Luckily I was able to get to safety and was not hit by another car or sustained any injuries. Finally, I had to trade the car in for a gigantic loss! very upset.

- St. Louis Park, MN, USA

problem #194

Dec 042013

Xterra 6-cyl

  • 75,600 miles
My 2005 Nissan Xterra with 75600 miles jerks when it shifts. After doing my own online research and bringing to the dealership, it was discovered that the radiator was leaking coolant and mixing into the transmission fluid. There is an extended warranty for this defect to 80,000 or 96months. I qualified for the mileage but not the service duration (6 months overdue). The dealership said it would be a $2500 copay to replace my radiator and repair my transmission. I talked to Nissan Consumer Affairs but they refused to help and said $2500 is my only option. This radiator is a known issue and should be a recall for all the damage it caused. I've owned many Nissan before and had great loyalty to them. Nissan should be held accountable for knowing about their faulty radiator and not fixing them before they caused further damage!

- Loudonville, NY, USA

problem #193

Nov 212013

Xterra 6-cyl

  • 103,012 miles
My 2005 Nissan Xterra have this common problem where the radiator leaks into transmission and cause the transmission to stop working. And since I was over 100,000 Nissan dealers want to charge me a copay of $3000.

- Dania Beach, FL, USA

problem #192

Nov 172013

Xterra 6-cyl

  • 94,500 miles
I began to have vibration in my vehicle when I reached speeds of 45 mph and got worse around 65 mph. I took my car to Nissan twice in Aug. 2013 and was told it was road vibration. In early Nov. I took my car to my local mechanic for this problem and was told the vibration wasn't road vibration and that it was either my drive shafts or transmission. On Nov. 17th I drove from altoona pa to upper marlboro md and arrived around 2 am. I went to drive my car into DC on the morning of the 18th and when I put it in reverse it backed up, but when I put it in drive it wouldn't drive forward. After shifting through the gears for a few minutes my car drove forward so I parked it in my driveway. My car hasn't been able to be driven since. When I put it in gear and press the gas the engine just revs. When I start my car I can hear the engine and transmission making a whining noise. My radiator also broke in late August of 2013 and needed to be replaced.

- Altoona, PA, USA

problem #191

Nov 142013


  • 105,000 miles
I had a complete loss of motive power and needing to be towed to a shop. The shop diagnosed the problem as a failed transmission fluid cooler located in the radiator assembly that allowed coolant to mix with and contaminate the automatic transmission fluid, resulting in damaged internal transmission components and a damaged internal transmission computer. There were no warning signs leading up to or just prior to the failures. The transmission and radiator now need to be replaced.

- Colorado Springs, CO, USA

problem #190

Oct 112013

Xterra 6-cyl

  • 96,842 miles
My 2005 Xterra S-V6 4X2 had loss of power and had to be towed to a dealership. They diagnosed the problem as a failed transmission fluid cooler located in the radiator assembly that allowed coolant to mix with and contaminate the automatic transmission fluid, resulting in damaged to the radiator that had to be replaced and the transmission is now damaged. There were no warning signs leading up to the failures. When I spoke to Nissan they stated there was no recall. After I did some research, I found out there is a extended warranty. When I called Nissan back they stated it was only up to 80,000. So repairs are on me.

- Kenner, LA, USA

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