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 1 of 7)

problem #122

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 #121

May 152007


  • 500 miles
I purchased a brand new 2005 Xterra 1/2006 with 10 miles!!!! I paid 28,000 for this vehicle and worst vehicle I never had!!! I only service this vehicle at the dealership!!!! I had so many issues with this new truck!! the check engine light keeping on at from the very beginning and when I took it to the dealership said nothing was wrong! over time, this was a complete lemon!! the vehicle had to replace a radio, 6 batteries, 3 alternators, hoses leaking, oil leaking within 3 years purchasing a new truck, fuel sensor replaced, fuel pump replaced, 1 cal.conventor replaced, and worst of all transmission issues!! the truck will not go up hills and when I took it to 2 different places said that the radiator was leaking into the transmission and Nissan knew about this and never said nothing!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I only took my truck to the dealership and they never said a thing! I could replaced the radiator long time again to avoid the transmission going out!! 5,500 repair job!!!!!!!!!!!!!! this is poor quality truck with all the issues I had since I brought it brand new !! my Acura have 241,000 and never had any of these issues that I purchased used!! I contact the Corp office and they will never do anything! the Nissan dealerships around the country knows the issues with these Nissan cars and never say a thing!! I will never purchase a another Nissan!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! they will not stand behind their product!! 4 of my friends with Nissan (Xterra, pathfinder, and maxima) the transmission went out within 6 months of each other!!!

- Charlotte, NC, USA

problem #120

Sep 292014

Xterra 6-cyl

  • 106,000 miles
We have a 2005 Nissan Xterra and were never told about the trouble with this models trouble with the radiator coolant leaking into the transmission and causing damage. Nissan extended their warranty with a deductible up to 100,000 miles and ours leaked at 106,000 miles causing $5600 in damages that Nissan refused to acknowledge. Had there been a recall this never would have happened.

- Clearwater, FL, USA

problem #119

Mar 192013


  • 99,634 miles


My 2005 Nissan Xterra transmission went out as I was driving across the causeway and almost ended up in the marsh. I searched online and this is a common problem with the radiator leaking into the transmission. Nissan was involved in a class action lawsuit but it's to late for damages. I think this is a safety issue and Nissan should have recalled these vehicles before someone is killed.

- St Simons Island, GA, USA

problem #118

Sep 012014

Xterra 6-cyl

  • 96,000 miles
The transmission shakes violently on acceleration. So I drove the vehicle to the dealership for a diagnosis. I have learned that the radiator cracking and leaking into the transmission is a common problem for the 2005 Nissan Xterra, and that Nissan settled a lawsuit in October of 2012. I do not remember getting any information that this might be a problem and I have to pay $3000 to get the transmission and radiator replaced! after 100,000 miles I am stuck to pay the complete cost of the repairs. Is there any kind of recourse for this problem that I am unaware of?

- Rochester, MN, USA

problem #117

Oct 272013

Xterra 6-cyl

  • 101,000 miles
The engine started to overheat and the vehicle transmission started to shift irratically. There was an oily substance in the coolant reservoir. I contacted the dealership and was told that this is a known condition requiring replacement of the radiator and rebuilding of the transmission. I was told that since there was 101000 miles on the vehicle, that the entire $3800 for repair would have to be borne by me. I tried driiving the vehicle several times afterwards with the same result. It has been parked in front of my house for 6 months now as I don't have the money to repair.

- New Orleans, LA, USA

problem #116

Sep 142014

Xterra 6-cyl

  • 97,000 miles


This is a complaint towards Nissan and there failure to be and act as a professional car company. There should be a recall on there radiators leaking into the transmission, it has costs numerous amounts of people thousands of dollars to replace transmissions and radiators and even when done the problem still occurs. The class action lawsuit that they were so "nice" enough to agree on does not help anyone what so ever especially when hitting the 100K mark. These vehicles were built to last a long time, not crap out after 50,000 miles. It's a problem that needs to be resolved.

- Milford , NJ, USA

problem #115

Aug 012014

Xterra 6-cyl

  • miles
2005 Nissan Xterra. Consumer writes in regards to transmission and radiator issues. The consumer stated after he dropped the vehicle off at the dealer, he received a call from the service advisor, stating transmission fluid was leaking into the radiator and Nissan was aware of the defect and should cover the cost in replacing the radiator and transmission, because they extended the warranty. When the consumer contacted Nissan to confirm, he was informed the vehicle had over 80,000 miles and he would have to pay $3,000 if he wanted the repairs done.

- Milwaukee, WI, USA

problem #114

Apr 082014

Xterra 6-cyl

  • 128,000 miles
Coolant enters into the transmission system from a defective radiator system and destroys transmission. Nissan manufacturer is aware of this, even lost a class action lawsuit, but has not recalled the vehicle. As a result, owners are not aware of the defect until transmission is ruined. Nissan only agreed to help repair vehicles, after the fact and only up to 100,000 miles - with the owner still having to pay $3,000 toward repair. Since we were not aware of the defect, we didn't do anything preemptive so we had to wait until our transmission was ruined. Since we are beyond the 100,000 mile mark, Nissan will not accept any responsibility for repair.

- Bloomburg, TX, USA

problem #113

Jul 212014

Xterra 6-cyl

  • 81,000 miles
While driving vehicle vibrated as if it didn't know whether to shift or not. Found out later that I had water in my trans and trans fluid in my radiator.

- Montague, NJ, USA

problem #112

Jun 232014


  • 85,000 miles


Complete catastrophic engine failure during rush hour traffic. Luckily I was approaching a red light and there were cars slowing ahead of me I was able to brake slowly to a stop while I was not able to be steer. I had to be pushed to the side of the road by the help of others. The vehicle was towed to the pinnacle Nissan dealership where they informed me that the transmission and the radiator has to be fully replaced due to a faulty valve. Nissan said the valve that connects the radiator and transmission broke allowing coolant and anti freeze to mix together and immediately catastrophically destroying both components. I was informed that their was a classaction suit for this very reason that was settled but this is very dangerous if I had been in a freeway situation. Nissan has had numerous complaints for this vehicle for this reason. I have had every recall part for this vehicle needed to be replaced due to faulty manufacturing, this is a very expensive repair and it has been known due to the # of complaints on this particular part being faulty but a recall needs to happen not at the expense of Nissan. I am expected to cover this with a deductible of $2500 at no fault of my own. I am lucky to be alive. I have maintained all necessary/reccomended service outlined by Nissan up till L this failure. Thank you

- Phoenix , AZ, USA

problem #111

Jul 152014

Xterra 6-cyl

  • 72,630 miles
Luckily I was waiting in a drive thru when the known defect occurred. The radiator is known to crack and leak in to the transmission mixing both the coolant and transmission fluid requiring the replacement of both the radiator and transmission. The failure of the radiator also requires that the engine be flushed multiple times. I received a letter from Nissan a few years ago that this is a rare occurrence. It doesn't appear that they were telling the truth. Nissan settled a class action suit so I will have to pay $2560 to get the problem fixed. Because the parts have to be ordered it takes a week or longer to get the car fixed. This is a known problem that affects multiple Nissan models from 2005 through 2010. Nissan should be required to recall and fix everyone of the affected models.

- Reedley, CA, USA

problem #110

Jun 132014

Xterra 6-cyl

  • 110,000 miles
Because of a failed radiator, coolant became mixed with automatic transmission fluid and the transmission stopped working in rush hour traffic.

- Colorado Springs, CO, USA

problem #109

Jun 022014

Xterra 6-cyl

  • 82,500 miles
The cooling system failed and mixed coolant with transmission fluid, transmission subsequently failed.

- York, PA, USA

problem #108

Jan 112011


  • 44,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Nissan Xterra. The contact stated there was a loud noise heard from the front of the vehicle intermittently. The authorized dealer was unable to replicate or diagnose the failure on several occasions. The vehicle was taken back to the dealer where the timing belt was repaired however, the failure recurred. The contact was also advised that there was a leak in the engine. Additionally, when the hood was opened the cap to the transmission overflow was missing and was replaced by the dealer. The vehicle was taken back to the dealer for further inspection and diagnosis. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 44,000. The current mileage was 65,000.

- New Rochelle, NY, USA

problem #107

May 022014

Xterra 6-cyl

  • 160,000 miles
Manufacturing defect in radiator caused transmission failure that could have been quite dangerous under some circumstances. This has been widely reported by huge numbers of Nissan owners of various year models and styles. Nissan refuses to be accountable for the failure and denies acceptable service to their customers on this issue.

- Arthur City, TX, USA

problem #106

Apr 142014

Xterra 6-cyl

  • 95,550 miles
When driving at highway speeds, vehicle would start to shudder and thud into gear. Had vehicle checked out and told there was a defect in which the connection between radiator and transmission malfunctioned and coolant mixed with transmission fluid, thereby destroying the transmission and radiator. I have found that this is apparently a very common problem of Nissan Xterras from 2005 to 2010 that I had no idea about. This really should be recalled on all affected vehicle, because it is such a common problem and if one has over 80K miles they still pay half for the repair and if over 100K miles there is no warranty coverage from Nissan. The warranty extension was the result of a class action suit but is not enough when full repair can be $6000 and there has been no warning from Nissan that this is a potential problem to look for.

- Fort Thomas , KY, USA

problem #105

Apr 012014

Xterra 6-cyl

  • 1,000,750 miles
The vehicle doesn't move, despite acceleration, no engine light. Went to the dealer and after diagnosis they said the radiator was cracked and the transmission was leaking. The cost comes to $7500. Contacted Nissan they say its not within warranty. Theses is a defective design on the radiator. Updated 05/01/14

- Shoreline, WA, USA

problem #104

Mar 292014

Xterra 6-cyl

  • 112,800 miles
Internal radiator transmission cooler cracked leaking coolant into the transmission and destroying it, rendering it useless. The transmission failed on me while I was driving and the vehicle gave me absolutely no warning lights or any indication of an issue occurring with the transmission. I had no advance notice so I was unable to avoid any damage to my transmission.

- Poplar Branch, NC, USA

problem #103

Mar 212014

Xterra 6-cyl

  • 120,000 miles
Radiator coolant and oil mixture and due to that, the transmission makes the car vibrate to an undrivable point affecting the driver ability to conduct a safe operation on the road including busy highways.

- Gautier, MS, USA

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