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:
113,824 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

problem #10

Aug 012015


  • 116,000 miles


Nissan knows about this issue in fact it involves multiple years and models. The radiator cracks and leaks into the transmission ruining both. They entered into a settlement agreement but set the bar so high that it is impossible to meet. This car technically has low mileage for a 10 year old vehicle yet misses the top parameter by 16,000 miles. This is unacceptable.

- Overland Park, KS, USA

problem #9

Jan 032015

Xterra 6-cyl

  • 118,000 miles
Unexpectedly, transmission seemed to be in neutral. Applying gas just revved engine. Then strong jerk and back into gear. Happening at highway speeds on a busy interstate had it gone on longer or I not been able to pull to the side, this could have triggered a major pile up.

- Fairfax, VA, USA

problem #8

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 #7

Feb 012014

Xterra 6-cyl

  • 131,000 miles


The transmission became stuck in 3rd or 4th gear and would not accelerate. Then it worked for a few days. After that it got stuck in 1st and would not shift. It is currently stuck in 3rd or 4th again. The transmission fluid is a red brown foamy color. It is giving a code of P1754.

- Newnan, GA, USA

problem #6

Jan 242014

Xterra 6-cyl

  • 117,045 miles
My 16 year son was driving home at 11:00 pm on the interstate when, with no warning, the car lost all acceleration power. He was able to get the car to the side of the road and turn the car off and on and got it into 3rd gear. It would not work in drive. He proceeded very slowly for a short distance until he would lose acceleration power. He had to continue to turn the car off and on the highway multiple times to get it home that evening. He continued very slowly with his flashing lights on. It subsequently had to be towed. Thankfully, it did not result in a crash on the interstate. The car is black and it was very dark. It would've been very difficult for someone immediately behind him to react on the interstate. My son's safety was severely compromised. The problem turned out to be the radiator/transmission problem Nissan is already being investigated for (NHTSA action number DP12004). It required a new radiator, a new transmission and a new transmission computer as this was all ruined with the catastrophic failure of the radiator. The cost of repairs was $4632.97 including the tow charge. Nissan has been aware of this problem for quite some time and even settled a class action lawsuit for this very issue a few years ago. Had they voluntarily recalled the vehicle and fixed the problem, my son would not have been put in this dangerous situation and the costs would have been minimized. I desire for Nissan to be held liable for this - you have received literally hundreds of the very same complaint. Please conduct a recall on the Xterra, pathfinders and frontiers you know are impacted. We were fortunate not to have a crash resulting in injury or death; the next family may not be so lucky.

- Brentwood, TN, USA

problem #5

Dec 302013


  • 118,000 miles
I was driving my 2005 Nissan Xterra down the highway around 65mph when I noticed the vehicle would not accelerate when pushing the gas pedal. I was able to maneuver the vehicle off the road just before the steering wheel locked up & the vehicle went dead. Had it towed into dealership, was told the transmission had failed & would have to be replaced. Issues caused from faulty radiator drainage into transmission fluid. I have read of countless other reports of this same issue. This year vehicle should be recalled by dealership to correct this recurring problem. It wont be long before someone loses control of their vehicle due to failed transmission & hits another vehicle or kills someone!

- Greenwood, MS, USA

problem #4

Sep 252013

Xterra 6-cyl

  • 158,000 miles


Suddenly the car (automatic) was revving high and not shifting into next gear and starting making ahigher pitched noise and the service engine light then came on. I drove to a gas station and before fully pulling in, my car would not go into drive, revved high and started smoking. I had to get towed and my car is now going to need a complete transmission and radiator. Nissan is saying since I am passed the extended 10 year warranty or 100,000 miles, there is nothing more they will do about it. Currently am being transferred to see if someone else cares enough about Nissan image as well as their drivers to do something about this. I have been quoted it will cost $5100 to repair this Nissan known issue.

- Charlotte, NC, USA

problem #3

Jun 072013

Xterra 6-cyl

  • 126,000 miles
The car who was behind me almost got me because all of the sudden my car speed lower dramatically, I took it to the Nissan and left it there, they call me and toll me is a problem with the transmission and everything was going to cost me repair it $7,500 with labor and parts, they have the gods to tell me that is better to sell it because the car is not worth fixing it, that car cost me $37,000 brand new to at least have it for 10 years I been changing the oil frequently so I have no problems, but Nissan is one of the worse car ever sold, my friend had an 2004 Altima and after 5 years everything was failing on that car worse than my X terra, I swear I will never buy Nissan again is bad investment for the money.

- Santa Clarita , CA, USA

problem #2

Mar 162012

Xterra 6-cyl

  • 91,000 miles
In March 2012 my 2005 Nissan Xterra was approximately 91,000 when driving in the highway I experienced a sudden rumble causing me to swerve and immediately reduce speed. I was able to pull over without any incident. After taking my car to a Nissan dealership where I regularly service my car. I was told my radiator was leaking fluid and this might have damaged my transmission. Since then I have replaced the radiator and presently still experiencing problems. It appears this is common in the 2005 line of X-terras, pathfinders, etc. Since my car was over 80,000 miles the radiator was not covered under warranty. Now I am being told that I am still to deal with the aftermath of this defective radiator and have to replace the valve body. What is more cause for alarm is the fact that this is a common problem and some people might not be aware of it and find themselves in a very bad accident or even worse a fatality.

- Marietta, GA, USA

problem #1

Aug 312011

Xterra 6-cyl

  • 78,200 miles
I was driving my son to a soccer game and could not get the car to go past 20 getting on the highway. I had the car in the dealer a few months earlier B/C I was having trouble getting past 45mph. They told me they could not properly diagnose and to continue driving. My car had 72000 at that point. They did not advise me of the potential radiator/transmission problem or let me know the warranty had been extened from 60000 to 80000 miles.

- Middletown, OH, USA

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