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

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 3 of 7)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #82

Jul 072013

Xterra 6-cyl

  • 111,400 miles


The contact owns a 2005 Nissan Xterra. The contact stated that while driving approximately 10 mph, the vehicle would not accelerate as the check engine warning light illuminated. The vehicle was taken to the dealer for diagnosis. The technician stated that the transmission would have to be replaced because radiator fluid was leaking into the transmission. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The approximate failure mileage was 111,400.

- El Paso, TX, USA

problem #81

Apr 152013


  • 107,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Nissan Xterra. The contact stated that while driving 65 mph, the vehicle became hesitated and decelerated independently with the illumination of the check engine warning light. The vehicle was taken to the dealer for diagnosis where it was advised to the contact that radiator fluid had leaked into the transmission fluid, causing the transmission to fail. The vehicle was repaired but the problem persisted. The manufacturer was notified. The approximate failure mileage was 107,000.

- Humble, TX, USA

problem #80

Jul 012013

Xterra 6-cyl

  • miles
The transmission went out when radiator acted up.

- Lake City, FL, USA

problem #79

Jul 122013

Xterra 6-cyl

  • 106,705 miles


I had my oil changed and was told that I have a leak around my oil filter housing. I only had this vehicle a year,

- Tyler, TX, USA

problem #78

Jul 032013

Xterra 6-cyl

  • 84,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Nissan Xterra. The contact stated that while having the vehicle inspected, she was advised that radiator fluid had entered the transmission. The dealer diagnosed that the radiator and the transmission needed to be replaced. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The approximate failure and current mileage was 84,000.

- Hillside, NJ, USA

problem #77

Jul 012013

Xterra 6-cyl

  • 99,800 miles
Car started vibrating like it was going over a rumble strip, loss of power/rpms, unable to accelerate. Problem was intermittent and got worse. Took it to Nissan dealership, and apparently this is a known problem on some makes and models manufactured between 2005-2010 with defective radiators that leak coolant into the transmission system hence damaging it. Since I was at 100,000miles I had a copay of $3000.

- Newark , DE, USA

problem #76

Jun 272013

Xterra 6-cyl

  • miles


I have experience what many other owners of a Nissan Xterra have experienced with a defective radiator. A leak in the radiator has allowed coolant to mix with and contaminate the automatic transmission fluid, resulting in damaged internal transmission components and a damaged internal transmission computer. In less than a week since noticing loss of power in my vehicle it became inoperable. Due to the high number of these incidents involving the Nissan Xterra transmission parts have become impossible to find to rebuild the transmission. As a result they only recourse to resolve this problem is a costly $6000 replacement of the transmission.

- Waldorf, MD, USA

problem #75

Jun 012013


  • 126,000 miles
Started vehicle and began to drive when the vehicle appeared to have no power. Continued around the block to return home and realized that the vehicle was not shifting gears. It appeared to be stuck in 2nd gear and would not shift up or down. Shut vehicle down and tried again believing that perhaps "something was stuck" with the same results. The vehicle was towed to a transmission mechanic who diagnosed the problem as glycol contamination in the transmission requiring an entire rebuild of the transmission. Upon research of the internet, I have discovered that this is a known problem to Nissan with the 2005 Xterras and other Nissan vehicles. While it is accurate that Nissan did offer to extend the warranty for the radiator (the known source of the problem) they did so without explaining the full extent of the problem or known possible catastrophic events if the radiator leaked. The resulting events of a leaking radiator is a damaged transmission requiring a full rebuild due to the glycol contamination.

- Wrightsville, PA, USA

problem #74

May 172013


  • 114,500 miles
I had an issue approximately 6 months ago regarding my radiator. The coolant and transmission fluids were mixing due to a defective (known) issue. My transmission has now failed due to a rusted valve body in the transmission. In fact it completely failed as I was driving. After pulling into a parking lot, it would not go into gear, any gear. These issues are obviously directly linked but I am now left holding the bag due to the fact that Nissan's extension of the warranty covers only vehicles with up to 100K miles. I am now nearing 115K miles.

- Winer Park , FL, USA

problem #73

May 182013

Xterra 6-cyl

  • 142,170 miles
Noticed vibration and bumping while car shifted randomly. Transmission is basically shot due to coolant leaking into the transmission cooler and mixing with transmission fluid causing total destruction of the transmission. Radiator needs to be replaced due to failure.

- Arlington, WA, USA

problem #72

Aug 142012

Xterra 6-cyl

  • 105,000 miles


Car hesitates going into gear, very rough shifting (it is an automatic). Very dangerous at intersections and on highway- cannot drive it. Brought in for service. When mechanic attempted to flush the transmission, it was discovered that the radiator fluid has been leaking into the transmission. Class action lawsuit filed on this complaint, reimbursement only up to 100,000 miles or 10 years, whatever is less, and only costs above 3000K covered! this is at least a $5200K repair job and that may not event remedy all components that may have been affected. Additional problem is that my mileage was 5K over what the lawsuit allows. There was no way to know when this problem even started occurring.

- Meriden, CT, USA

problem #71

May 012013

Xterra 6-cyl

  • 85,000 miles
Approximately 4 months ago my engine light came on. We took it to Nissan and it was the fuel pump. That was $700, then 2 weeks later the engine light came back on we took it to Nissan and it was the catalytic converter, that was $1800. Here we are 4 months later engine light comes back on we take it to Nissan and now I'm told it is the radiator and transmission. This is going to cost $2500! I come to find out that there is a defect with the radiator and transmission and Nissan has known about this since 2007. My complaint is if Nissan knew about a defect, and in my opinion a safety hazard, then why didn't they recall the defected parts" why is the consumer being penalized for a defect" Nissan needs to recall these known defective parts and fix them!

- Trumbull, CT, USA

problem #70

Apr 192013

Xterra 6-cyl

  • 98,188 miles
The car started to shake very badly apx 40 mph. I took it in for repair and found out that the radiator had malfunctioned and allowed coolant into the transmission. The damage was non repairable. My car is in the shop now waiting to have the radiator and transmission replaced.

- Taylorsville, UT, USA

problem #69

Apr 302013

Xterra 6-cyl

  • 102,000 miles
While driving across country from California to Virginia noticed the Xterra begin to shake when switching to overdrive. A service shop in Virginia determined that coolant from the radiator leaked into the transmission. Notified the local dealership of the problem. They were familiar with the problem and stated that the radiator and transmission needed to be replace at an approximate cost of $6500-$7000. When asked if flushing the transmission would help, they stated that they have tried that on other vehicles with the same problem, but transmission failure ultimately occurred. Contacted Nissan about extended warranty but odometer reads 102K miles which disqualifies for the 9yr/100K warranty extension.

- Union, OH, USA

problem #68

Apr 202013

Xterra 6-cyl

  • 84,900 miles
The transmission went out at an intersection on exit#407 in tn. 250 miles away from home. The transmission never hesitated or warnings at all. Just got to the intersection and it wouldn't go. It finally caught after causing other vehicles to stop and I got it to a parking spot thank god. I towed the car home to bob richards Nissan in North augusta SC and was told the radiator cracked causing my radiator and transmission fluids to mix. Nissan covers it 100% under 80K miles and would not help me at all since I am at 84,900....I can only hope to get reimbursed the $2500 co-pay. Nisan never mentioned this defect and its a $100 fix. My 2008 frontier is also effected by the radiator. I will never buy another Nissan.

- North Augusta, SC, USA

problem #67

Apr 202013

Xterra 6-cyl

  • 84,900 miles
The transmission went out at an intersection. Exit #407 in Tennessee. 250miles away from home. The transmission never hesitated or slipped....just got to the intersection and it wouldn't go. It finally caught after almost causing an accident and I got to a parking spot but the transmission wouldn't go into gear after the fact. I towed the car home to bob richards Nissan in North augusta and was told that the radiator cracked causing a mixture of radiator and transmission fluid.

- North Augusta, SC, USA

problem #66

Apr 262013

Xterra 6-cyl

  • 160,000 miles
I was driving on the freeway when suddenly the car stalled. Pressed on the gas and car would not move just humming sound. I knew that it had to be transmission problem. Had car towed to transmission shop. They notified me that there had been numerous complaints about the Nissan. After looking at the car they saw that the radiator had a crack and that coolant had leaked into the transmission. After taking the transmission apart I was notified that the seals, valves, torque converter, including the computer were all damaged, the transmission would have to be flushed replaced or repaired, the radiator flushed replaced or repaired, the engine flushed. All this costing about $4,000. This problem has been known to Nissan and I was never informed. I'm 65 and on fixed income. I need this car and need help.

- Temecula, CA, USA

problem #65

Apr 172013

Xterra 6-cyl

  • 129,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Nissan Xterra. The contact stated that while driving approximately 40 mph, the vehicle began shaking excessively and would not accelerate. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The contact stated that the failure was caused by contamination of the transmission by the radiator. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure the vehicle was not repaired. The approximate failure mileage was 129,000.

- Albany, GA, USA

problem #64

Apr 052013


  • 106,000 miles
Driving on freeway and transmission began to slip and within a matter of seconds had absolutely no power to wheels. Have researched and found issues with this vehicle regarding coolant line for transmission failing and leaking anti-freeze into transmission. Was wondering why it is that there is not a recall by Nissan for this issue as it is undetectable, unpreventable, and expensive.

- Nampa, ID, USA

problem #63

Apr 012013

Xterra 6-cyl

  • 117,770 miles
The trans cooler and radiator has busted. Almost caused us to wreck / vehicle started shaking badly. Was not made aware by Nissan that there could be a "mostly likely to occur" problem until this happened to us. Fuel guage also quit working a few months back. Nissan will not help because vehicle has over 100,000 miles. Their hotline (in the phillipines) was of no help or concern. Repairs, not including fuel gauge, are starting at $5600. Nissan should have told us years ago that the radiators were mostly likely going to be defected so we could have spent the $600 or so then to replace !!!!!

- Alabaster, AL, USA

Read the next 20 complaints »

Not what you are looking for?