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.


hardly worth mentioning
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 1
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
77,443 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 electrical problems

electrical problem

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2005 Nissan Xterra Owner Comments (Page 1 of 2)

problem #33

Sep 072016


  • 145,000 miles


Please see attached uploaded document.

- Bridgeport, CT, USA

problem #32

Aug 132016


  • 116,000 miles
Vehicle turns off while driving and is unable to start. With vehicle in off state there is not control over speed, braking, steering. Nissan is unable to provide an answer to the problem after diagnosis. Code P0335 crankshaft position sensor.

- Mission Viejo, CA, USA

problem #31

Apr 012014


  • 140,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Nissan Xterra. The contact stated that the transmission failed and the vehicle jerked. The vehicle was taken to an authorized mechanic who stated that radiator fluid leaked into the transmission, which caused the transmission to fail. The transmission was replaced. The contact also stated that the fuel gauge failed. The contact did not know if the fuel tank was full or empty. The fuel gauge was not repaired. The manufacturer was not notified. The failure mileage was 140,000.

- Boise, ID, USA

problem #30

Dec 052015


  • 140,000 miles


I purchased a 2005 Nissan Xterra. The vehicle's transmission is gone due to a fault in the manufacturing. This could have been a potentially dangerous situation - but luckily for me I was not driving or on the highway. I have contacted Nissan regarding this issue and was told that they are not going to assist me in repairing the problem because the vehicle warranty has run out. I bought this vehicle used - the dealer never mentioned anything about a recall or problem at the time that could be fixed by Nissan nor did I receive any correspondence from Nissan themselves. Now I am stuck with the financial burden of $5000 for the repair. I don't think this is fair - the used car dealers should be mandated by law to fix vehicles with recalls and inform car buyers that there is a manufacturing defect. Nissan also should be held accountable.

- Leominster, MA, USA

problem #29

Mar 112015

Xterra 6-cyl

  • 89,000 miles
Did not pass emissions due to issues with the fuel level sensor circuit high input. Had been having problems with the fuel gauge malfunction. Repaired by Nissan dealership (ECM recall, repaired one week prior for engine stalling out). Appears to be a common problem.

- Nashville, TN, USA

problem #28

Nov 112014

Xterra 6-cyl

  • 80,000 miles
The car stopped running at a stop light. The failure is a known recall by Nissan in model of 2005 Xterra - it is the recall from 2010 for the ECM (engine control module). The problem started after a weekend on non-use when my battery was dead on Monday 11-3-2014. Then after keeping the car running with the assistance of a battery box and traveling short way to work I had the battery evaluated at autozone and replaced on Monday night, 11-10-2014. The car the next morning died twice after quick temp change in driveway but then ran to get wife and 5 month child to work. On way home while on feeder road on mopac South at duval died at stop light unable to restart. Called aaa and tow was in route when car restarted 20 min after failure allow wife to pull into apartment complex lot. Had car towed then researched failure with long cranking and rough idle and then towed to town North Nissan on 10-12-2014 again by aaa. The care was unable to start and run properly after getting into the safety of the apartment parking lot. Town North Nissan confirmed recalled part which had not been done on vehicle. Wife purchased vehicle close to 2010 recall campaign but did not receive notice. The ECM module appears to remain and issue and outstanding campaign of concern. If the vehicle was not on feeder road car could have easily been in major accident with my wife and 5 month old child. Please investigate if recall notice needs to be remailed or if the replacement ECM is prone to similar failure. In this case luckily it was the ECM that was subject to recall that was the problem.

- Austin, TX, USA

problem #27

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 #26

Aug 212014

Xterra 6-cyl

  • 111,000 miles
Driving down road and car quits steering was difficult hit a curb. The car all of a sudden came back on? has done this to me several times until I parked it now. Dangerous situation. Lucky no vehicles were around me.

- Albuquerque, NM, USA

problem #25

Jun 162014

Xterra 6-cyl

  • 80,000 miles
The passenger side air bag light started blinking even with the seatbelt on properly. This vehicle had never been in crash once or ever. I am very concern.

- Apo, AE, USA

problem #24

Oct 152013

Xterra 6-cyl

  • 64,000 miles
Check engine light came on then when I filled vehicle with fuel gauge went to empty and low fuel light came on. Gauge does not come back on U til vehicle is driven from 85 to 125 miles and then takes awhile to reach up to around 3/4 full. Never really sure how much fuel is in tank. Was advised to change the fuel tank cap and did twice but still not working. Have to rely on trip gauge to know if I have enough fuel. This seems risky for an almost 75 year old woman.

- Enumclaw, WA, USA

problem #23

Jul 072013

Xterra 6-cyl

  • 10,000 miles


Just bought auto from used car dealer day before. Drove it 30 miles pulled in visited then went out to start auto. Would not start traced back to blown fuse, changed fuse tried starting again, blew fuse again, one more time then when auto started smoke came out from under hood. After 3 months of replacing electrical wiring from frying narrowed down to radiator and transmission (fuse that blew) the coolant had backed up and tore up transmission. If it had been on the road there would have been a full blown fire on a highway with possibility of human damages.

- Hamersville, OH, USA

problem #22

Mar 262013

Xterra 6-cyl

  • 55,455 miles
Just fill up gas and fuel gauge indicates almost empty. Cannot tell if I still have enough fuel. Dangerous situation if I'm driving and suddenly run out of gas.

- Las Vegas, NV, USA

problem #21

Apr 172012


  • miles
Gas gauge has quit working...common problem with these automobiles...why no recall?

- Cumming, GA, USA

problem #20

Mar 132013

Xterra 6-cyl

  • 81,300 miles
I noticed the service engine soon light come on 3/13/2013. Today, 3/15 I took it to the Nissan dealership that I get my vehicle serviced at and they told me that the fuel sending unit is malfunctioning and the price to fix it. They also mentioned that they have seen this problem a few times now with other Xterra models. I mentioned to them that I cannot afford the repair at this time and they suggested I keep it full and it shouldn't be a problem. I got home and looked up the problem with my vehicle and it seems that a lot of other people are having the same problem, and not only with Xterras but with pathfinders and frontiers as well, as they are all based on the same drivetrain. Nissan is not covering this problem even though it seems to be a common issue with its vehicles.

- Las Vegas, NV, USA

problem #19

Oct 012012

Xterra 6-cyl

  • 108,500 miles
Recently the vehicle has been turning off while in use (driving down the road) and we have to throw it in neutral, crank back up, then put it back in gear. This is not safe. Took it in to get it diagnosed and the scan came back reading the catalytic converters could be going out (2 on each side, pretty sure only one side is affected). Then were told about an ECM relay recall. Mechanics have told us that this can cause the cats to fail. Nissan said to take it to a dealership and see what they say. What?! of course the Nissan dealership is going to replace only the ECM component of the recall and say it won't affect the cats, while other mechanics at non dealer affiliated shops have more than a few times said it can be a direct effect of the ECM. So we have a "case" number with Nissan and Nissan will "investigate" and let us know if they are willing to pay any towards the repair, or if a recall is issued in the near future we'll get reimbursed for the repair... how about you just make a vehicle without faulty parts and if a faulty part contributes to another part going out, you repair the parts affected.

- Kyle, TX, USA

problem #18

Sep 132012

Xterra 6-cyl

  • 105,000 miles
While driving down a busy los angeles street during rush hour, my car suddenly lost drivability. The engine RPM's increased, but the car would not engage. Nearly got into multiple accidents trying to get to the side of the road. Car was towed to a mechanic where a strawberry milk color liquid was found in the transmission. Was told coolant and transmission fluid mixing was the cause. Required to rebuild transmission, replace radiator and transmission control valve. Repair cost estimated at $5050 plus tax.

- Northridge, CA, USA

problem #17

Aug 092012

Xterra 6-cyl

  • 88,000 miles
I was driving to work a few mornings ago. My car had over a 4th of gas. Then my gas tank drops to below empty then my check engine light turns on. Then it turns off and turns back on continues to move and turns back on all while driving. I pull into a gas station fill up the gas tank then proceed to go home. The car turns back on one last time and when I try and turn it back on it shakes and turns off. Had to tow my car to my home had multiple mechanics come to my home and diagnose my car. I have replaced the fuel pump and yet still does not work. My mechanic told me the problems is deeper and this car and this year is known to have staggering issues. This should be recalled and fixed by Nissan not the consumer. I have never had an issue before. Im putting more and more money into a manufacture defect.

- La Puente, CA, USA

problem #16

Jul 152012


  • 80,000 miles
After fueling the car, the fuel level indicator either shows the tank as empty or a random level (never full, although the tank was just filled). The level from then on is always unreliable and fluctuates at random levels; there is no way to know what is the level of fuel in the tank at any time. I am afraid that the car will run out of fuel without me knowing and stop the car in the middle of a highway or while crossing train tracks. This happens all the time, the indicator never shows full when I fill up the tank. It shows empty or 1/4 full and then after a couple of days the level goes up to a level that I know it is too high for the amount of driving that I have done.

- Buffalo Grove, IL, USA

problem #15

Jul 162012


  • 85,000 miles
I was driving my car after a long trip, I had about a quarter tank left. I parked my car and when I returned to use it to run an errand I began to drive. My gas tank needle went all the way to below empty then my check engine light turned on as well. I have looked up this issue and found out there were multiple complaints about the exact same thing that happened to me. This is a Nissan issue that should not be taken out of pocket from the consumer. Especially since there is a long history regarding this exact same problem.

- La Puente, CA, USA

problem #14

May 012012


  • 103,600 miles
May 2012. I was driving the vehicle to work, the day the "service engine soon "light initially came on. 30 minutes later, yellow fuel indicator light came on, vehicle was not out of gas, had approx. 1/2 tank. I was concerned about the fuel light, so I immediately drove to a nearby gas station and filled up to a full tank of gas. Afterwards, fuel engine light remained on and gauge still showed empty. Only after driving it for several days, fuel light finally went off, service engine soon remained on. Since this initial incident every time I put fuel in the vehicle, the tank still shows empty and takes several days of driving to show where I filled it up. I recently took the vehicle for a diagnostic test and it showed problems in the fuel sensor/fuel pump. I also visited my local Nissan dealer and they said, that I was not turning the gas cap enough after fueling up. I always ensure that I turn the gas cap several times at least 4 turns, until several clicks are heard when securing the gas cap after fueling. I am sure this was not the problem. I am very concerned as I drive a good distance to work, on graveyard shifts. This is the 1st major problem, I have had with my Nissan Xterra and unfortunately it does not show as a recall. I feel unsafe driving the vehicle as I do not know when it will run out of fuel particularly on freeways and busy intersections. I often have small children as passengers and this concerns me the most.

- Madison, NC, USA

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