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:
91,309 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 transmission problems

transmission problem

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2005 Nissan Xterra Owner Comments (Page 3 of 3)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #12

Jun 152010


  • 125,000 miles


2005 Nissan Xterra has a part which allows the transmission fluid to pass through and be cooled in the radiator. This part breaks, allowing the transmission fluid and radiator coolant to mix. This ruins your radiator, but more importantly, it burns up your transmission, because the coolant released into the transmission through the busted line does not have the constancy to lubricate the transmission parts properly. Over a very short period your transmission is ruined. This leads to slipping, shifting late, and can lead to the car not taking off at the anticipated speed from a stop sign or light, possibly causing an accident, because of being stranded in the intersection. Other symptoms can be temperature gauge reading hot when stopped, A/C blowing warm when stopped. I know this is not an isolated incident. By simply doing a google search for "2005 Nissan Xterra radiator transmission". the top results contain links with titles such as "2005 Nissan Xterra faulty radiator destroys transmission" and "2005 Nissan Xterra radiator causes transmission failure". I know there are others (many) out there. We need to organize and get results for this issue. My mileage may be relatively high, but many others were in the 50,000 mile range when the failure occurred. I have already spent $500+ on this issue. Now that I have to replace my transmission, it could be $5,000! help!

- Santa Fe, TX, USA

problem #11

Jul 052010


  • 154,000 miles
2005 Nissan Xterra faulty radiator destroys transmission. I have a 2005 Nissan Xterra which I purchased new in January of 2006. My transmission just failed and I was informed that the radiator fluid was mixed with the transmission fluid because the radiator failed. The system began stalling on Sunday and as I pressed the gas the RPM would increase but the car would not accelerate. I took the car to the Nissan dealer on Monday and they thought it was not the transmission but the ipdm. It worked for them fine and I was able to drive it home fine. As I attempted to drive to work on Tuesday the same thing happened. I managed to get the car to my driveway. On Wednesday I barely made it to the Nissan dealer and the by the time I arrived the car would no longer go in drive or reverse. I received a call stating that it was the transmission and upon further inquiry learned that the radiator had gone out and leaked fluid into the transmission - at no fault of my own. I've since done some research and see that this has happened to many people that own the 2005 Nissan Xterra. This is obviously a major problem for Nissan that has not been addressed. I certainly don't have 5K to repair a car that I am still paying a note on.

- Vallejo, CA, USA

problem #10

Jun 182010


  • 69,000 miles
2005 Nissan Xterra with 69000 miles began shuttering every now and again when driving around town. It started getting progressively worse during the next few weeks. Thought it might have been the tire balance and had it checked. Balanced the tires, the shuttering was still there and began to get worse when driving at higher speeds I.e. 60mph. The rear end would shutter very hard to the point where we couldn't drive it any longer. Taking it to the shop revealed that the transmission had radiator fluid in it which was caused by cracked radiator lines leaking into the transmission. The fluid was into all the transmission gears. Come to find out that this is a common problem with Nissan and the only way to get around this problem is to place an external cooler to the transmission. Since the 5yr/60K power train warranty ran out, Nissan has no interest in assisting a well known problem of theirs. There complaint dept takes the info and places it into a database. Well the damage has already been done to the transmission and had to be replaced and an external cooler was installed which we had to go out of pocket on ($4100).

- Sandy, UT, USA

problem #9

Jun 162010


  • 86,660 miles


Faulty radiator leads to transmission failure Nissan has know of this problem and done nothing about it cost of repair 5000 to 6000 many 2005 Nissan Xterra and pathfinders owners I know have had this problem please help!

- Cape Neddick, ME, USA

problem #8

Dec 022009


  • 80,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Nissan Xterra. While driving at 45 mph, the contact stated that vehicle would not accelerate when he depressed the accelerator pedal. The vehicle was taken to a local mechanic who stated that the transmission needed to be replaced. The failure mileage was approximately 80,000. The current mileage was approximately 97,000.

- Northfield, NJ, USA

problem #7

May 032010


  • 82,000 miles
I have a 2005 Nissan Xterra. The transmission had vibration intermittently. Transmission finally went out due to a faulty radiator. This vehicle is equipped with two coolers one air and one water cooled. I have read of many complaints for this. Nissan knows of the problem and should recall it. I bought this vehicle used from pat peck Nissan with a warranty. At 6mos I received a letter that the warranty was not valid on this vehicle and they reimbursed the cost of the warranty. I feel that they knew this was a problem.

- Grand Bay, AL, USA

problem #6

Apr 252010


  • 95,000 miles


2005 Nissan Xterra started vibrating while shifting gears and then went into "safe mode" where driver has little control of vehicle. Turns out the automatic transmission cooler lines run through the radiator. The connection failed and leaked coolant into the transmission causing it to fail and need to be replaced ($4500 fix). This seems to be a common problem with 2005 Nissan trucks/SUVS.

- South Riding, VA, USA

problem #5

Apr 042010


  • 69,706 miles
1. vibrations coming from rear of car at 35 mph. Vibration get worst when accelerating to 40 mph, shifts hard, RPM's increase then decrease(jumps all over the place). Occurs all the time. Faulty lines between coolant system and transmission. Coolant mixed with tranny fluid. Replaced, radiator, flushed engine, flushed tranny 2 times. Installed external transmission cooler and bypassed radiator, so this wont happen again, my have to replace transmission in future because of the damage done to it by the coolant mixing with tranny fluid. Out of pocket expense $1463.12 parts and labor at a local Nissan dealer. I was told that this is a common problem with Nissan 4X4 vehicles. This should be a recall. And if my transmission goes I feel that Nissan should replace it free of charge.

- Rochester, NY, USA

problem #4

Mar 122010


  • Automatic transmission
  • 80,000 miles
2005 Nissan Xterra. Auto transmission failure. Heavy vibration when od engages. With further research, this is a very common complaint.

- Belair, MD, USA

problem #3

Jan 112010

Xterra 4WD

  • 50,000 miles
I have a 2005 Nissan Xterra which I don't drive much and at around 50,000 miles the transmission went and cost me $1,600 to repair. Now at around 52,000 miles my fuels gauge stop working which caused my truck to turn off in the middle of the highway with my family in it and I see no recall on these issues from brother has a pathfinder with similar problems.

- Bronx, NY, USA

problem #2

Jan 052010


  • 120,000 miles
1) transmission was not switching gears properly 2) took the truck in to see what the issue was and I was informed that the radiator gasket had failed and leaked fluid into the transmission and mixing with the transmission fluid 3) a new radiator, transmission and fan assembly is now required to be replaced at my expense because I am passed the warranty. When I asked the service manager if I could have detected or prevented this situation he said "no".

- Quincy, MA, USA

problem #1

Nov 042009


  • miles
2005 Nissan Xterra, radiator failure, causing transmission fluid to leak into coolant and coolant leaking into transmission, causing transmission to fail. Repair cost about $5,000. A source within a dealership said it is common occurrence with 2005 Xterras and pathfinders, if caught early it can be fixed, however most customers don't know this until is too late. There is no notice from Nissan on this problem or warning.

- Burlington , NJ, USA

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