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 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
100,717 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 2 of 7)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #102

Jun 202013


  • 103,000 miles


I was driving down a mountain in Tennessee on a family vacation, when my transmission failed because the coolant was leaking into the transmission fluid. In order to get to a safe location I had to drive in reverse to a driveway which could have caused me to be in an accident with a young child and my fiance in the car. Upon further research I realized that Nissan has over 500 complaint on the same issue and it was never resolved. I paid 4800 dollars out of pocket in order to replace the transmission and radiator.

- Columbus, OH, USA

problem #101

Jan 272014


  • 111,718 miles
It was a very cold morning when I get ready for work, just got out of our drive way and suddenly we heard 2 loud thump sound like we have just run over something like rocks or woods. It scared us a little bit because of the vibration, then it runs normally again, the next day it happen again but 1 time only and today the same. I wont wait longer before something worst happen so ill bring my car to the mechanic shop to have it check tomorrow. Hope this will give me some answers. Hope this is not a recall defect again because I already had 1 vehicle rendered not safe to drive before and the company bought it back.

- Macomb, IL, USA

problem #100

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 #99

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 #98

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 #97

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 #96

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 #95

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 #94

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 #93

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 #92

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 #91

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

problem #90

Nov 042013


  • 97,000 miles
Transmission started slipping in high gear, because of a leak from a known faulty radiator letting coolant into transmission.

- Springfield, MO, USA

problem #89

Jul 172013

Xterra 6-cyl

  • 106,000 miles
The car began to vibrate at 40 mph. I took it to two mechanics who could not figure out the problem. I tried regular maintenance and tire rotation and balance but the vibration continued. Finally, while I was out of town, a mechanic dropped the transmission pan and discovered the engine coolant had entered the transmission system. He discovered that this is a problem with the Nissan Xterra 2005 - 2010. Nissan even has a bypass part to be installed. This piece was installed and the transmission flushed and new transmission fluid put in. The radiator appears to be fine, no cracks as often reported with this problem. Now, three months later, I have serious transmission problems. The car jerks violently at 40mph on acceleration and deceleration. The mixing of engine coolant with the transmission has obviously caused serious damage to my transmission. I am devastated. I love this car but have no financial means to fix this problem.

- New Port Richey, FL, USA

problem #88

May 122011


  • 99,000 miles
Was driving while my transmission went out. Dealer said the transmission and radiator fluid were mixed. My vehicle had 99,000 on it. Had it fixed then at 140,000 it happened again. Nissan wants me to pay $5500 but I refuse. This vehicle needs to be recalled.

- Wonder Lake , IL, USA

problem #87

Sep 272013

Xterra 6-cyl

  • 90,000 miles
My transmission just stuttered and stopped working while in traffic.turns out the radiator leaked coolant into the transmission causing it to fail. This is a known issue from Nissan, however the cost of the repair fell to me. Luckily, I did not incur any injury when the vehicle just stopped working during 5pm rush hour on a Friday.

- Missoula, MT, USA

problem #86

Sep 252013

Xterra 6-cyl

  • 49,000 miles
Check engine light comes on and the trouble shooting number is P0463. Which I understand Nissan automobiles have a lot of trouble with this situation. I would like to informed when they are having a recall to repair this problem.

- Mt Juliet, TN, USA

problem #85

Jul 252013

Xterra 6-cyl

  • 121,000 miles
Driving my 2005 Nissan Xterra I purchased 8 months ago in January 2013, my air conditioner worked intermittently. Eventually in July of 2013, my car was not drive able. Had it towed to dealership I purchased it at, and they verified that my radiator was leaking coolant, which mixed with my transmission fluid. The resulted in the need to repair the radiator and transmission.

- North Richland Hills, TX, USA

problem #84

Jun 242013

Xterra 6-cyl

  • 85,255 miles
Check engine light came up in my 2005 Nissan Xterra at 85,000 miles. Took it to the repair shop where I make oil changes, I was told transmission broke and radiator fluid contamination. Took it to the dealer, they confirm that the transmission failure, but they flat out refused the contamination, instead offer to replace both transmission and radiator for $5,500 to avoid future problems. I was not convinced. Immediately, another guy in the dealership offers to trade in for a new car. I took the car out and went to another transmission shop. Sure enough, they noticed radiation fluid contaminating the transmission fluid. Cost was around $3,750. Because, the deadline was early June'2013 and now is early July, they are telling me I cannot submit the claim. I hope the court does not approve the final settlement. Nissan should recall and pay for the repairs of defective transmission/ radiator.

- San Diego, CA, USA

problem #83

Jun 132013

Xterra 6-cyl

  • 185,000 miles
While driving my 2005 Xterra SE noticed loud noise coming from front end - found out transmission fluid had become mixed with coolant from radiator. (I have a sample of the cloudy looking fluid). The problem rendered the SUV undrivable so was towed to dealer where spent $5,400 to have both transmission and radiator replaced, but do not know for sure if this a permanent fix or not.

- Emory, TX, USA

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