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 / 2
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
104,097 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 engine problems

engine problem

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2005 Nissan Xterra Owner Comments (Page 1 of 5)

problem #98

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 #97

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 #96

Jun 162016


  • 129,000 miles
Engine timing chain failure leading to catastrophic engine failure. Vehicle was in motion on interstate.

- Missoula, MT, USA

problem #95

Apr 112014


  • 89,000 miles


Lower radiator assembly failed and allowed coolant to leak into transmission. Transmission replaced by owner. This resulted in the car loosing control on a California highway and having to be towed to the dealer for repair. Could have resulted in accident. Nissan should pay for all costs associated with this failure.

- Mission Viejo, CA, USA

problem #94

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 #93

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 #92

Jun 292016


  • 105,000 miles


Transmission failure (atf contamination). ODI received a petition requesting investigation of transmission damage attributed to contamination by engine coolant. The source of the contamination is a cracked atf line that runs through an engine coolant chamber in the radiator.

- Mckinney, TX, USA

problem #91

Jun 222016


  • 114,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Nissan xtera. While driving 30 mph, the vehicle stalled, the instrument panel lights illuminated, and the vehicle made a subtle noise before stalling. The contact was able to restart the vehicle. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was made aware of the issue. The failure mileage was 114,000.

- Shreveport, LA, USA

problem #90

Jun 172016


  • 92,000 miles
The car started loosing power since last two weeks. Couple of days back while parking the car completely lost the power even though it was in drive. Today I took it to the dealer and dealer 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

- Chrlotte, NC, USA

problem #89

May 042016


  • 68,400 miles
I purchased this car used from a dealer with approx 64,000 miles. After 2 days and less than 200 miles the car started shuddering as if I was driving over rumble strips and the check engine light came on. The next morning when I went to take it to the dealer there was a horrible rattling sound coming from under the hood that softened as the car warmed up. Needless to say that both of the more common complaints about this car raised their ugly heads at the same time: Transmission and timing chains!! I took it to my local Nissan dealer for evaluation and repair and was told that the cost would be between $8-9,000. Thank god for aftermarket warranty. Anyway... if Nissan does not intend to issue a recall, there should be a disclosure on carfax/autocheck/etc for these significant problems.

- Jackson, NJ, USA

problem #88

Jun 012012


  • 78,000 miles


My 2005 Nissan Xterra had leak in the radiator and went into my transmisson. Now the truck did not run. I contacted Nissan when the truck had less than 80,000 miles on it but they refused to fix due to mileage.

- Greenville, NC, USA

problem #87

Apr 262016


  • 102,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Nissan Xterra. The contact stated that the check engine soon warning light illuminated. The vehicle was taken to an independent mechanic to be diagnosed. The contact was informed that the radiator fractured which caused an oil and coolant mixture, which damaged the transmission. The contact was informed that the radiator and the transmission needed to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 102,000.

- Worcester, MA, USA

problem #86

Jan 012016


  • 158,000 miles
The timing chain guides are faulty and at this time I am hearing the whining noise that has been described from several other complaints. It is known that this can completely destroy the engine and fail at any given time, possibly causing an accident or death because of the accident caused by this issue

- Leander, TX, USA

problem #85

Oct 062015


  • 152,000 miles
Takata recall. - Xterra has had radiator replaced, transmission fixed twice due to bad valve body. Now it is shuddering again at 40mph down the road. This needs to be addressed. Transmission failed going down the highway, causing it to go into failure mode. I lost all power by the time I could get pulled over and stopped.

- Grapevine, TX, USA

problem #84

Apr 042015


  • 108,000 miles
The radiator leaked into the transmission, without any incident leading up to the mechanic finding the leak. The radiator had to be replaced, and the transmission had to be rebuilt. The transmission still seems to improperly shift, and a strong, rich, oil smell is coming from the engine compartment now. I do not qualify for any reimbursment because of a previous settlement which I, like many others, were not involved in, and which did not cover and problems over 100,000 miles. I believe the manufacturer knew about the defect in their car and chose not to fix the problem in a part which should not have failed, and should have issued a recall. If we had not caught the damage in time, the engine could have failed in the middle of driving, and and accident might have been unavoidable. I also believe the dealer who sold me the car was informed about the settlement and intentionally chose not to tell me about it, even when I asked specifically about the problem during negotiations.

- Kings Beach, CA, USA

problem #83

Nov 112015


  • 108,000 miles
After a year of ownership at approx.. 108000 miles, the vehicle would not start. Had it towed to reg. Garage and subsequently another garage with better diagnostic system as the code would not hold/replicate easily. Code was for ECM, which was repaired at owners cost (unaware of recall). There was mix of antifreeze/oil due to leak in radiator. Flushed system and replaced radiator at owner's cost. Within weeks, vehicle was not accelerating correctly and code showing emissions issue and catalytic converter issue. Looking at thousands of dollars in repair costs which appear to simply be a band-aid until the issue begins again. Still paying on the vehicle and a new mom of twins. Now stuck with an unsafe vehicle riddled with repair costs for an issue that Nissan is well aware of and should have fixed. How frustrating that this issue is still in limbo after 2 years, how this cannot be seen as a constantly recurring problem which is extremely unsafe and be the responsibility of Nissan is beyond me. These issues occurred while in motion on a major highway and on side roads with hills.

- Dover, PA, USA

problem #82

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 #81

Oct 272015


  • 140,000 miles
Radiator has transmission fluid in it. Transmission has radiator fluid in it. Will have to replace both. App, $5000. Vehicle shifts hard then stutters, vibration

- Pace, FL, USA

problem #80

Oct 132015


  • 144,350 miles
I bought a used Nissan Xterra last year that had 100K mile. Traveling from work warning lights come on. I took my vehicle to meineke for diagnostic. The warning code read transmission. Took it to the Nissan dealer knoxville tn the next day and tech diagnosed 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. That week my car produced slowing of vehicle and times where engine would not crank. I ended up paying $3010.35 (attached) to chip's transmission to get fixed. I contacted Nissan North America regarding the issue and was provided documentation that after reviewing my case; they were unable to offer financial assistance because the vehicle was outside the new vehicle limited warranty. (attached) I found out a class action lawsuit was filed regarding this matter and the fix was an extended warranty. Per document if you miles were over 90K miles you were out of luck. Well luck plays no part in this matter as I had bought this vehicle used over 100K miles and was never notified. I had a warranty for 1 yr or 12000 miles when I bought was never notified. I feel like regardless of the mileage. This was a defective part that was installed by Nissan dealership and was a known problem by consumers. This part should be replaced or recalled by Nissan and that an ongoing investigation on the behalf of those consumer who had these vehicles should not have to pay for such extensive repairs or damages being that it is Nissan's wrongful intentions. I have had to eat the cost of not only missing work but paying for rental car expenses for 14 days (attached) plus the parts/repair to this vehicle. F you would like to contact me regarding this matter.]

- Lenoir City, TN, USA

problem #79

May 032015


  • 100,000 miles
The transmission is damaged, because the cooland fluid got mixed with automatic transmission fluid. All of this because a bad Nissan design. Nissan does not take care of this problem, leaving the costumer with a mayor problem. People should not buy Nissan. This company does nothing for problems that they created. It happened in motion driving on a city street.

- Durham, NC, USA

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