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

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 1 of 17)

problem #337

Mar 012017


  • 89,000 miles


Purchased a one owner Nissan in late 2016 w/ approx. 85-86K miles on approx. 4-5 mths of use before it completely lost power & became inoperable(approx Feb/March of 2017).my wife & I were driving home & basically lost all power w/O any warning.thank god we were on a side road @ the time & were able to safely pull has been parked since early 2017 & rendered useless.$9000 down the drain.vehicle only has 89K miles on it & in immaculate shape inside& we're faced with the financial burden of a $4000+ transmission rebuild + ECM/tcm module replacement. My mechanic picked up on the problem immediately.he checked the radiator & it looked like strawberry milk.I owned 1 other Nissan before this & can truly say I will never, ever own another.I felt very confident in the vehicle mechanically. But if I'd known about this defect I'd have never purchased I'm basically out $9000 or have a $4000+ repair to even be able to recoup any money & some of my losses.if I had any inkling of information about this defective part in Nissan's I'd have never purchased it.I originally considered Nissan a good car maker & ranked them closely w/ Honda & Toyota in performance & dependability.needless to say.all that's now changed.I cannot believe the NHTSA did not demand that Nissan publicly announce these issues as to protect the consumers & current owners. But I'd never heard a thing about it & I "work in automotive finance"!!! I will admit, Nissan was successful in ripping many people off & without so much as an apology. Much less any potential financial assistance that they caused.Nissan needs to wake up & do right by their customers or they wont have them me when I say.that day draws closer w/ every person who finds themselves in this similar situation.thanks & I hope you do something about this injustice that was allowed to happen on your watch!!!!!!

- Greer, SC, USA

problem #336

Dec 042017


  • 66,074 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Nissan Xterra. The contact stated that the vehicle was slow to change gears and accelerate. The vehicle was taken to an independent mechanic for servicing and to have the transmission replaced. The failure recurred. The service engine warning indicator kept illuminating and the vehicle suddenly stalled. The vehicle was taken back to an independent mechanic for further diagnostic testing. A dealer was contacted (massapequa Nissan, 200 sunrise highway, amityville, NY 11701, (516) 799-2800). The vehicle was not included in NHTSA campaign number: 10V517000 (engine and engine cooling) and NHTSA action number: Dp-12004 (power train). The manufacturer issued four technical service bulletins (tsbs) on the engine and four tsbs on the power train, but there was no remedy to provide a solution. The approximate failure mileage was 66,074.

- Bellmore, NY, USA

problem #335

Nov 102017


  • 100,000 miles
Transmission will not reverse or change gears while leaving the house today

- Wichita, KS, USA

problem #334

Jun 112017


  • 140,000 miles


Takata was driving fine all day until I pulled up to a red light.when light changed and I pressed on gas, car would hardly go but eventually after soft coaxing it got up to speed. Was like I just lost first gear on an automatic transmission.subsequent red lights resulted in same problem. Researched online about any complaints with this type of problem and found hundreds of complaints on just one website.took vehicle to local transmission repair shop where it was diagnosed with the following problem: Coolant box inside transmission burst causing transmission and radiator fluids to mix and ruining both transmission and radiator. Cost for this repair is $3800-4500.I have seen hundreds of complaints online about this very same problem. When I contacted Nissan corporate I was told there is no recall for this because hundreds is minute in comparison to the thousands of vehicles they have sold.

- Brooksville, FL, USA

problem #333

Mar 172017


  • miles
Coolant leak causing transmission to fail. Nissan is aware of issue and fails to take responsibilty

- Carlsbad, CA, USA

Search for these popular complaint phrases...

problem #332

May 012017


  • 147,000 miles
My 2005 xteraa transmission and radiator needs replaced due to lines breaking and there is water all in the passenger side floorboard and the radiator has goo looking stuff in it and the vehicle will not go in drive at times. I just bought this car February 2016 for my daughter and still owe on this vehicle

- Rome, GA, USA

problem #331

Apr 302017


  • 109,000 miles


Radiator leaked into transmission and both had to be replaced. Stoped woring on the cross bronx expressway. Very scary situation.

- East Rockaway, NY, USA

problem #330

Mar 012017


  • miles
2005 Nissan Xterra. Consumer writes in regards to radiator hose ruptured and sent coolant into transmission. The consumer stated the engine began racing but, there was no power. The vehicle lunged forward and then stopped. A hose in the radiator ruptured. This caused coolant to enter the transmission and transmission fluid to enter the radiator. The failure occured while the consumer was driving. The manufacturer was contacted, but did not offer any assistance.

- Roselle, IL, USA

problem #329

May 102013


  • 99,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Nissan Xterra. While driving approximately 40 mph, the vehicle lost power and stalled. The vehicle was pulled over to the side of the road and restarted, but the failure recurred. The vehicle was towed to a mechanic who diagnosed that the radiator fluid mixed with the transmission fluid. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was notified. The approximate failure mileage was 99,000.

- East Bridgewater, MA, USA

problem #328

Feb 162016

Xterra 6-cyl

  • 114,804 miles
2005 Nissan Xterra - complete transmission failure at approx. 102,000 miles, caused by faulty radiator that leaked water into the transmission, which Nissan knew about but refused to recall. I never received any notice about the radiator issue from the manufacturer or dealer!! it would cost approx. $300 for Nissan (or the consumer) to replace the radiator, as opposed to $3800 to completely rebuild the transmission and replace the radiator upon failure; therefore, Nissan let their customers drive dangerous vehicles in which the transmission could - and did - fail at any moment. This is an extremely dangerous situation. I was in rush hour traffic, stopped at a light downtown headed to the freeway entrance ramp. When the light turned green, I accelerated and the engine roared beneath my foot. I could not even travel through the stop light. The Xterra would not go forward or backward. Had I made it to the freeway and been traveling at 50 - 60 mph in heavy traffic, and accelerated to find I had no power - no acceleration, I (and others) could have very easily been injured or killed. When my Xterra was towed to the transmission repair shop, they were very familiar with this issue and informed me that a class action had been filed and won, (and was already concluded) over this exact issue; however, the consumers in the class received a very small portion of the proceeds (approx. $800 at the high end). I am contemplating filing an action in small claims court against Nissan and the local dealer in jackson, ms, from whom I have bought 3 SUVS in the past 20 years. I tell everybody I see driving a Nissan about this issue and have spread the word on social media. This is completely unacceptable, fraudulent, reckless endangerment by Nissan, and something needs to be done about it to make the consumers whole. I will never buy another Nissan.

- Brandon, MS, USA

problem #327

Nov 012014


  • 160,000 miles


Transmission failure due to coolant leak into automatic transmission. Engine overheating was what brought my attention to any issue, the overheating was a result of the transfer of transmission fluid into the coolant system as well. After making attempts to address the overheating issue the transmission began its quick decline, learning about the issue I was able to start attempting to have it repaired but with its high cost I have yet to be able to have it repaired completely.

- Chubbuck, ID, USA

problem #326

Oct 072016

Xterra 6-cyl

  • miles
Dear NHTSA, hope you are doing well. The reason of my message is to call to your attention an issue regarding Nissan's radiator -transmission problem that has been reported before by other Nissan drivers. I own a 2005 X-terra and it wasn't until this year that I had a serious problem with my car. It started earlier this year when my car simply stalled in a parking lot. After spending more than $200 in towing plus $1500 in fixing the transmission computer I thought the problem was fixed. In may, driving back from tampa to miami, the car started to act again but then it went away. About a month ago my car had another episode of żloosingż power. I brought my car to a Nissan dealer in miami for them to take a look and they suggested taking it to a transmission specialist as their protocol for cases like this calls for an expensive transmission change. The weekend of October 7th, I was headed towards my parents home and my car stalled again. I took it to a transmission specialist in coral springs and $4,600 later, I have a new transmission and radiator. He gave me the explanation about the radiator leaking into the transmission. My brother pointed to my attention that there was some sort of settlement with Nissan regarding this same issue. I will like to know which are the next steps as it is my understanding that NHTSA continues to investigate this case. Thank you for your attention regarding this matter. Kind regards,

- Doral, FL, USA

problem #325

Oct 052016


  • 127,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Nissan Xterra. While driving 45 mph, the vehicle stalled and the check engine warning indicator illuminated. The contact was able to restart the vehicle after some time. The vehicle was taken to a dealer who was unable to diagnose or repair the vehicle. The vehicle was also taken to an independent mechanic who diagnosed that there was contamination of coolant in the transmission and that the transmission needed to be replaced. The failure recurred on numerous occasions. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The failure mileage was 127,000.

- Jacksonville, FL, USA

problem #324

Oct 082016


  • 136,000 miles
Radiator coolant leaking into automatic transmission causing transmission failure. Started noticing issue around 136K at highway speed. I hear there was a class action lawsuit but the settlement is unacceptable. Nissan needs to step up and take responsibility for their design failure.

- Ogden, UT, USA

problem #323

Aug 012016


  • 89,000 miles
Antifreeze leaked into transmission causing irreparable damage to transmission and radiator replacement

- Shirley, NY, USA

problem #322

Sep 092016


  • 149,000 miles
Has 149 K mileage and has started to have vibration at speeds over 50 mph. Radiator fluid has oil in it. Was told by mechanic it is transmission fluid.

- Aledo, TX, USA

problem #321

Sep 072016


  • 145,000 miles
Please see attached uploaded document.

- Bridgeport, CT, USA

problem #320

Aug 172016


  • 111,326 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Nissan Xterra. While driving 4 mph, the transmission failed and the vehicle stalled. It was diagnosed that the radiator fluid leaked into the transmission. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was made aware of this issue. The failure mileage was 111,326.

- Benicia, CA, USA

problem #319

Jul 192015


  • 75,000 miles
Vehicle was not driving well, we were having problems accelerating, and were hearing noises similar to when you drive over rumble strips. Our mechanic diagnosed the problem as radiator coolant missing with the transmission fluid. Vehicle was transferred to Nissan dealership and we opened a case with Nissan Consumer Affairs as vehicle only had 75K miles, however it was 9 years old and therefore subject to the $3,000 deductible. After reviewing our case for almost three weeks, we were informed that Nissan could not help us. We paid the $3,000 deductible to have the transmission replaced, however feel that Nissan should be held accountable for fixing the known defect with this vehicle that could have caused significant accidents and injuries if the transmission failed while we were driving on a busy roadways.

- St Louis Park, MN, USA

problem #318

Jul 052016


  • 110,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Nissan Xterra. While driving 30 mph, the vehicle failed to shift into third gear and the vehicle decelerated. The check engine light illuminated. The dealer diagnosed that the coolant was leaking into the transmission and the transmission failed and needed to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The failure mileage was approximately 110,000.

- West Islip, NY, USA

Read the next 20 complaints »

Not what you are looking for?