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:
89,542 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 miscellaneous problems

miscellaneous problem

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2005 Nissan Xterra Owner Comments

problem #19

Sep 262016


  • 109,000 miles


The vehicle has 109,000 miles. Has started terrible vibation at between 40 - 60 mph and worse on acceleration. Have read complaints on antifreeze leaking into transmission causing this problem. Three years ago I was driving in winter and heater was not working. Went to mechanic and there was no atifreeze and no visible leak. Am a widow of 2 1/2 years and this is my main vehicle.

- Talbott, TN, USA

problem #18

Aug 012016


  • 89,000 miles
Antifreeze leaked into transmission causing irreparable damage to transmission and radiator replacement

- Shirley, NY, USA

problem #17

Apr 012016


  • miles
Cross contamination of radiator and transmission fluids due to faulty design. Vehicle has 102K miles on it and can't be driven. We purchased the vehicle used with 86K miles and were never informed of any recall or lawsuit. This is the second transmission problem I have had with a Nissan I lost thousand trading in a almost new Nissan ultima 2007 previously due to constant transmission problems now this transmission has seized up and the radiator is full of gunk. This should be a full recall and repair on the part of Nissan they know their design caused the problem. We still owe $$$ on this car and will ruin our credit by turning it in and cannot afford the $6K cost to repair this. The deal they did still left the consumer holding the bag for their bad design.

- Meadow Vista, CA, USA

problem #16

Nov 272015


  • 125 miles


Transmission has been slipping. I heard of a recall on this problem and I called Nissan and was told I missed extended warranty buy 8 days, they admitted that they did have problems with this vehicles transmission.but refuse to do anything about it, also very hard to put gas in,

- Marietta, OH, USA

problem #15

Jan 102015


  • miles
My transmission is failing and I cant drive my car now and I vant afford to fix it there should be a recall on these vehickles..

- North Vernon, IN, USA

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problem #14

Aug 072015


  • 152,946 miles
My son was driving the car on a local road near home at night. He was accelerating up a small grade, when he said the car acted as if it had popped out of gear. It began to rev higher and made a higher pitched sound. He tried changing from being in "drive" to a lower gear, but it still did not engage the transmission. He had enough momentum to be able to coast onto our side street and park the car. Luckily there was no accident, but he was almost rear-ended as his car slowed suddenly and traffic ran up on him. The car would not start, nor turn over at that point. I had the car towed to the local Nissan dealer. They mentioned it was a known issue with the transmission and radiator and it would cost over 5K for just a new transmission, not including a new radiator or labor to install both. I was able to find another mechanic that purchased a rebuilt transmission, but the whole thing still cost over 5K to have the rebuilt transmission and radiator installed with no assurance that it would not happen again. This is a well documented issue with these vehicles and continues to cost people thousands of dollars for a very poor and dangerous design.

- Woodbridge, VA, USA

problem #13

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 #12

Jul 102015


  • 102,021 miles
On 7/10/15 my husband was checking the radiator and found transmission fluid in it. I immediately called pine belt Nissan of toms river NJ were we purchased this vechicle and 2 others the service department said we would need a transmission and it would be $7,000. It was no longer under warranty it was warrantied to 100,000 when I questioned it because we were 2,000 miles over I was told well the warranty was only to 100,000 when my VIN # was checked. So we checked around for a transmission shop and decided to have it fixed at american transmission in lakewood NJ. He had told us to contact Nissan because there is a problem with the design of the radiator that is bad and causing the transmission problem. We ended up spending $5,069.23 to have it fixed $2000 less than Nissan had quoted. We had it fixed right away because we did not know if this probem would also ruin the engine. I already wrote to Nissan about this problem for a refund and waiting for a response. I had told them we were a loyal customer of Nissan owning 8 of their vehicles.

- Beacwood, NJ, USA

problem #11

Jul 062015


  • 105,000 miles
Driving at 65 miles per hour when my car began to act like the gear was slipping. Then it began to slow down from 40 miles per hour and no matter how hard I pushed on the gas petal, it would not speed up. Then it just would not move after that. Had to call a tow truck to move my car from the road and take it to a transmission specialist who said that the radiator had gone bad and leaked into the transmission.

- Reading, MA, USA

problem #10

Jun 152015


  • 137,000 miles
Driving at 40 miles per hour when my car began to act like the gear was slipping. Then it began to slow down from 40 miles per hour and no matter how hard I pushed on the gas petal, it would not speed up. Then it just would not move after that. Had to call a tow truck to move my car from the road and take it to a transmission specialist who said that the radiator had gone bad and leaked into the transmission.

- Hixson, TN, USA

problem #9

May 262015


  • 112,000 miles


Confirmed diagnoses of vehicle damage of radiator assembly & transmission are due to Nissan's defective radiator assembly which allows coolant to pass through into the transmission rendering the vehicle unsafe to operate. Nissan is unwilling to assist with the repairs of damage caused by defect. I was not notified of this manufacturing defect. This is a safety issue, a damaged transmission due to coolant entering it has rendered the vehicle unsafe to drive, a known defect, yet the manufacturer will not even compromise to assist with repair of this defect. A manufacturer should assist with repair of any defect that renders the equipment unsafe to operate - no matter when that defect decides to show up! Nissan should assist in all repairs due to their known defect to let the consumer operate the vehicle in safety.

- West Chester, PA, USA

problem #8

Apr 152015


  • 108,321 miles
I was starting to drive my Nissan Xterra 2005 and heard a noise like metallic rattling. The mechanic told me the transmission oil is mixed with coland fluid. I was told, to fix will cost $5000 to replace the transmission and the radiator and cooling system. In the internet I found out many complains about Nissan's cars for this catastrophic failure. This is a manufacturer defective product. Damage to the transmission as a result of the defective car. Nccc (North Carolina consumer council) has received a number of complaints from consumers in regards to sudden, catastrophic transmission failures in 2005-2010 Nissan pathfinder, frontier and Xterra vehicles. All of the vehicles experiencing these failures are not within the time period specified by the extended warranty, but are often beyond the mileage limit. So, why should I pay for somebody (Nissan) mistakes and never try to correct them? I never get from Nissan an advise on this potential failure of my car. Nissan has been aware of this problem since 2007 and has undertaken no preventive measures to protect consumers from failure. Nissan didn't warn consumers that the transmission could fail. Any honest company will at least warn consumers of the consequences to the transmission defect. But this rip of company do not care about their products nor their customers. I do not recomend to buy a Nissan car ever !!! Nissan motor corporation is a rip of company that lacks honesty !!!

- Durham , NC, USA

problem #7

May 022015


  • 78,899 miles
Transmission issue! being told it's from coolant leaking into transmission.

- Modesto, CA, USA

problem #6

May 012015


  • 148,000 miles
My car oveheated and began to buck -- mechanic stated transmission and radiator have failed - I still owe 1 year on this car and Nissan wont fix it - can you help in any way published on Apr 18, 2013 video of what happens to the radiator/transmission fluid when the transmission fluid radiator fails and a cross connection happens between the two fluids that don't belong together. Nissan settled a class action lawsuit in January of 2013, but this doesn't mean that you still can't file a complaint with the national transportation safety administration. If you have experienced this problem or no someone that has, file the complaint. Also call the state attorney general and the federal trade commission and file a complaint against Nissan. We bought the car used, but there is no way to check for this problem. If we had known the problem existed, I assure you we would not have purchased the vehicle. If I knew there was a potential problem after we purchased the vehicle, we could have replaced the transmission coolant radiator with the safer replacement type to prevent this from happening. I think it should have been the federal government's responsibility to notify the public of the problem and they should force Nissan to address the issue. They made Toyota step up with recalls and Toyota did to my recollection. Should have purchased a Toyota.

- Lowell, MA, USA

problem #5

Nov 092013


  • 62,000 miles
I was driving at approximately 65-70mph on a 4 lane highway. Traffic was heavy and cars were at that rate and faster. My vehicle beginning slowing down, I immediately pressed the accelerator but the vehicle continued slowing down. I immediately began making my way over to the breakdown lane. My lights began flickering (both headlights and inside lights). My brake light, ABS light, check engine light, etc all popped up on the dash. As I made it to the break down lane the vehicle stopped and in pressing the accelerator, it would not go forward. Next the vehicle then shutoff completely and would not start. I had no warning this was going to take place. Lucky for me, I hadn't gone into the fast lane because I never would have made it into the breakdown lane without a serious accident because it came to a sudden halt.

- Weymouth, MA, USA

problem #4

Sep 132013


  • 149,000 miles
When I drove it to work, there were a few delays while shifting gears. After half hour driving it, I heard water splashing sounds. I turned off the radio and I heard the splashing sounds even more clear. In the same time, I smelled electronic burnt like smells. Since I was on the express way, I couldn't stop right away. Then, 15 minutes later or a total of 45 minutes driving it, there were smokes from the front. I was so shock and worry if the car was going to blow up. I felt panic because I couldn't just stop in the middle of the driving lanes. Thankfully, other cars slowed down for me and let me passed. I pulled up in the nearby dairy depot's parking lot, but I was 20 minutes away from my workplace's city. It was so cold and windy, but since I was worry if the car would blow up, I got out and stood in the cold. Also, the tow truck was delayed for 2 hours and I had to missed work. The car shop told me that the radiator causes the transmission issues and all fluids are mixed together. When I researched this issue, I came across many others who had the same issue. I am shocked that it's very common. I feel so discourage to ever trust Nissan again. This car was my investment as I have $7000 loan remaining on it and I just fixed all four shafts for $1000. I have always done comprehensive maintenance to it. So, where did I go wrong" how can Nissan does this? why there was no recall that would have regained customers' trust that it is safe to drive Nissan??? why Nissan has to wait for a mountain of complaints before agreed to extend the warranty and even that was only for those under 100K mileage? does it mean that Nissan can't make a car that last more than 100K??" not only Nissan jeopardizes my safety and others, now my investment in Nissan has turned into a chunk of debt for me. This is so wrong!!!

- Sandusky, OH, USA

problem #3

Apr 102012


  • 101,985 miles
I have a 2005 Nissan Xterra which over the years my engine light would come on for all periods of time and then go off. The first time it came on I ran to the dealership because I could not afford to be broke down. No diagnosis was found (phantom light - $300 to tell no there was no problem) so after that I did not run to the dealer everything the light come one which was most of the time. Starting in January 2012 my 2005 Xterra would seem to have a difficult time changing over at certain speeds especially 40-45 and 55-60 mph. I mainly drive highway so I knew this was not normal for my car. Since the car was still running and I had a state inspection coming up in March-April 2012 I wanted to wait because I cannot be without a car. The engine light remained on from January until April when I went to the dealership. Finally in early April 2012 I realized that the heats was not working. At the April 10, 2012 inspection the dealership told me I needed a new radiator ($999.45). They told me the radiator leaked into the transmissions but they were able to fix the problem. The car seemed to work fine after the repair, no difficultly changing over at certain speeds until October 18, 012 when I left work and the car would not start. Aaa came and tried to jump it to no avail. Towed to local mechanic (not going back to dealership again) and found out about the transmission cooling problem ($1,950.98) and two weeks without a car and $100 towing bill. Now I get a letter from about lawsuit with Nissan but my vehile's diagnosis occurred 1,985 miles after the allotted mileage (100,000). So, I am out $2950.45 plus the cost of towing and rent a cars with the vehiile that I am never going to be able to trade in because no dealer would purchase it from me knowing the problems with 2005 Nissan Xterra. I will never buy Nissan again.

- Bensalem, PA, USA

problem #2

Mar 212008

Xterra 6-cyl

  • 22,000 miles
There was a loud rumble and jerking while driving at 35mph. Fluid was leaking badly also. I took the car to Nissan on on April 21, 2008. They said they could not duplicate the problem. Again, the car started jerking and making loud rumbles. I took it back to Nissan and they said the U joints were bad and replaced them. As soon as I pulled out of their parking area, the car did the same thing. So, I took it back again. This time, they told me that the radiator was coming apart and leaking antifreeze into transmission. They charged me $1285.89 to replace the radiator and flush the transmission. It is now 2012 and the car is doing the same thing again. The problem was never fixed properly to begin with. I need a new transmission at a high price. Anyone reading this should phone me at so that we can start a class action law suit against Nissan. Lets inform everyone who has had this problem. From what I have been reading, thousands of people have had the same problem. This is a safety issue as well as a costly problem. Information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6)

- Vienna, VA, USA

problem #1

Sep 142011

Xterra 6-cyl

  • 108,000 miles
Radiator corrosion leaking fluid into transmission. Replacing radiator and transmission. Replaced vaporizer solenoid and the ipdm unit (voluntary recall) which caused stalling while driving. Fuel sensor replaced. Mandatory recall on the ECM unit. No notification on voluntary or mandatory recalls.

- Rio Rancho, NM, USA

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