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.


really awful
Crashes / Fires:
1 / 1
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
159,149 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.

2006 Nissan Xterra drivetrain problems

drivetrain problem

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2006 Nissan Xterra Owner Comments (Page 10 of 11)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #23

Sep 142012

Xterra 6-cyl

  • 67,682 miles


I was driving 35 mph on a busy street when my vehicle would not accelerate. I towed my car to Nissan dealer and was told my trans was no good and it would cost 6,000 to 10,000 to fix. I contacted Nissan Consumer Affairs and they said I did not qualify for any warranties. Nissan told me there was no radiator fluid in my transmission which seems to be a common complaint. I towed my car for a second opinion and was told my trans does have radiator fluid in it and it also flooded my computer in the trans. Why did Nissan lie to me" I found that Nissan did extend the warranty on the radiators and that an E-mail did go out to Nissan owners stating they would also cover the trans if caused by radiator leakage to 80,000 miles but Nissan told me I don't qualify because I am a second owner" still waiting on a response from Nissan. This has caused a great hardship on me.

- Shorewood, IL, USA

problem #22

Aug 272012

Xterra 6-cyl

  • 103,000 miles
I was driving my 2006 Xterra on the highway when there was a clunk and it started shaking violently. Drove car to Nissan dealership for diagnosis. Dealership determined that it is a common problem - the radiator failed, leaking coolant into the transmission. Both radiator and transmission were destroyed. Nissan decided to not provide any assistance. Unable to afford repair, so had to sell the vehicle as junk at a loss.

- Jacksonville, FL, USA

problem #21

May 162012


  • 129,807 miles
Was driving my vehicle on the freeway and all of a sudden the vehicle began to lose speed. Pulled off the freeway and the car would just roll. Upon acceralting the vehicle the engine would just rev. Took car to transmission shop and the mechanic advised me that the entire transmission was ruined due to radiator coolant being leaked into the transmission. Prior to this I had the radiator inspected on several occasions in the last couple of years since the extended warranty had been placed on the vehicle and I had already surpassed the mileage of the warranty. The radiator showed no signs of wear and tear.

- San Pedro, CA, USA

problem #20

Jul 152012

Xterra 6-cyl

  • 111,850 miles


Break in transmission cooling coil inside radiator caused coolant to flow into automatic transmission. Transmission slippage at highway speeds caused vehicle to slow. Loss of coolant in radiator caused engine overheating. Result: Vehicle undrivable at highway speeds, no acceleration due to slippage, costly replacement of radiator and transmission.

- Prescott, AZ, USA

problem #19

Jun 082012

Xterra 6-cyl

  • 75,678 miles
The vehicle has a whining noise. When taken to the dealership, it was diagnosed as a worn down tensioner for the timing chain. If neglected it could cause engine damage and malfunction. The dealer claims the repair includes removing the tensioner and replacing with an upgraded part as they know the original part is faulty. Nissan is aware of the issue and issued a service bulletin in 2009 ntb07-042A, but refuses to fix this part in their vehicles. This should be recalled!

- Auburn, WA, USA

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problem #18

May 142012


  • 154,000 miles
Purplish fluid in radiator, took to dealer, transmission line inside radiator had broken and coolant had mixed with transmission fliud. Paid $1300 to get new radiator, transmission fluid flush, radiator flush.

- West Topsham, VT, USA

problem #17

Apr 172012

Xterra 6-cyl

  • 105,803 miles


Transmission failure due to issue with radiator defect. Radiator fluid leaked into transmission eventually caused catastrophic damage to transmission parts. Power train failure occurred while on the freeway almost 30 miles from home. My personal safety was definitely in peril and only due to skill and luck was an accident averted.

- San Diego, CA, USA

problem #16

Jun 072012

Xterra 6-cyl

  • 85,279 miles
On June 7, 2012, Nissan told me that my radiator failed causing my transmission to fail. I have 3 children ages 7 weeks to 5 yrs and count my self lucky that the problem was diagnosed before a potentially life threatening transmission failure on busy los angeles county streets or freeways. I was later appalled to find out that Nissan knew of the issue, but covered it up as evidenced in a NY times article dated 8/24/2011. The service advisor at the dealer informed me that my car situation was an issue that he had seen before. I am now being told that it will cost me $4000 for my car to be repaired due to a known defective radiator that would have cost a fraction of that to replace. I am still without a car after 11 days.

- Pasadena, CA, USA

problem #15

May 072012


  • 130,000 miles
My 21 year old daughter was driving our Xterra in ellensburg, Washington 260 miles in the desert when the car transmission stopped working! brought it for two reliable estimates and like all the others this is a cause from a defect in the radiator that obviously Nissan has known about for quite a long time. Do they need more bad press" I will be putting it on craigslist and any place else I can to include the back window of the truck. My daughter was stranded!!!! in the middle of a desert with no cell phone reception. Does Nissan want the liability of this" it's theres because they knew about the faulty power train and did nothing. I have added my name and filed a class action law suit against Nissan for this problem that they fail to recognize. I don't get it at all. It's the error of Nissan and they need to take responsibility for their mess!

- Vancouver, WA, USA

problem #14

May 132012


  • 97,500 miles
My wife and I were driving on the freeway on May 13,2012 going for a short ride when all of a sudden the car transmisson stopped working.we were barely able to coast over the shoulder of the road.I had to have the Xterra towed to my house being it was on a Sunday. Being on a California freeway on Sunday evening and also mother's day is no fun.I felt the danger of the cars whizzing interesting note on this subject is that the same thing happened to my son.he has a 2006 Nissan pathfinder.his transmission went out because of water leaking into the transmission. The dealership repiaced his transmission and radiator at no charge to him.I figured this is what happened to my car.the next day I had it towed to the dealership where I bought the Xterra.I told them the problem and im sure they know about this problem of water leaking into the transmission.I argued with them about fixing for no charge and they said they would send the paper work to Nissan North America if that was the problem.he said it was on a case by case basis. I am waiting to see if Nissan will approve it.if not my wife who paid for this car on her own who just finished paying for it last year will have to find 5 to 6 thousand dollars to fix a flaw in transmission line that should be a recall because that is a defective part that has happened to lots of Nissan vehicles

- San Diego, CA, USA

problem #13

May 072012

Xterra 6-cyl

  • 99,000 miles


Driving approx. 30 mph when the car stopped responding. I got it looked at, and it was determined that the transmission failed due to a failed transmission cooler which caused water from the radiator to back up into the transmission.

- Concord, CA, USA

problem #12

Feb 292012

Xterra 6-cyl

  • 120,000 miles
Due to the reported defects in these vehicles? radiators, the interior components of the radiators (internal transmission coolers) break down allowing coolant to mix with the transmission fluid. As a result of the contamination, the transmission and other drive train components are damaged and may require replacement. Our investigation reveals that Nissan typically denies warranty coverage for repairs caused by these defects even if the vehicle?S powertrain is still under warranty.

- Irving, TX, USA

problem #11

Apr 092012


  • 90,000 miles
Our Xterra has the same defect that many other Xterra owners have reported: The radiator leaked into the transmission causing the "strawberry milkshake of death" that destroys the transmission.

- Pembroke Pines, FL, USA

problem #10

Jan 192012


  • 86,500 miles
Coolant leaked from the radiator into the transmission and caused transmission failure.

- Fletcher , NC, USA

problem #9

Dec 072011

Xterra 6-cyl

  • 103,950 miles
I was traveling on the interstate when my Nissan Xterra fell on it's face, so to speak. It was like I hit the brakes and thank god no one was directly behind me. A few short moments later it regained power and sounded like I was running on the rumble strips. It seemed fine for awhile but went to pull out in traffic and it just all but came to a stop and jumped forward suddenly. I all but made it home and pulled into my garage and with my foot on the brake it jumped forward almost taking out my wall. After talking to a few friends I knew the problem was from the transmission cooler going bad and mixing anti-freeze with transmission fluid. After researching I found I wasn't alone, hundreds of people have posted the same problems. After talking to my wife's cousin she had a Nissan pathfinder with same tranny and when hers went out she lost control of her vehicle and went into the interstate median strip. I dropped it off and hamilton Nissan today and nothing is probably going to be covered. I am upset because I was almost in an accident because of this. Nissan has known about this for awhile but has done nothing. It is a clear safety issue when you just feel like you stomped on your brakes on the interstate, and pray someone doesn't hit you in the rear end. I have a 3 year old son and I don't feel safe having him in that trap.

- Berkeley Springs, WV, USA

problem #8

Oct 222011

Xterra 6-cyl

  • miles
I was driving thru a intersection and my Xterra lost the ability to go due to a faulty radiator assembly causing failure to the transmission the issue started at around 92,000 miles and Nissan will not do a thing to fix it saying I am out of the extended coverage! well this is a a huge safety issue had it been a night me and my wife could have not been seen and had a very serious accident!

- Birmingham , AL, USA

problem #7

Sep 012011


  • 131,000 miles
My 2006 Nissan Xterra (purchased new in Feb 2007) began occasional shuddering, as if driving over rumble strips, while driving at about 131,000 miles. If I let off the gas or accelerated, it would stop, but no constant trigger. This increased over a couple weeks so I decided to research online and found many users with the same issue. I took it to a mechanic and they couldn't get it to replicate. I left there and drove to trophy Nissan in mesquite and they wouldn't look at it for another 1.5 days and only after I paid them an $85 diagnostic fee (to look at something that is there fault!) I decided to be proactive and replace the radiator and hoses, hoping to catch it early enough. I took it to a mechanic 2 days later. They said the rumbling was from a torque converter lock-up and we could do a flush but that may not fix it. So, we flushed it with 12 qts new Nissan transmission oil. The problem seemed to stay the same over the next couple weeks and then the transmissions went out on my way home from work. So, now we get to replace the transmission. I called a transmission shop, (at this point I don't trust Nissan or anything they say - since they can't even admit fault on this!) and they said this transmission is an expensive transmission (with it's computer etc.) so just to rebuild it is going to run $2500. Nissan wants $4400+ just for a new part. This is ridiculous. This was very dangerous as mine completely went out when I was in the middle of an intersection. I am so disgusted at Nissan and their lack of morals / values. If they would just do the right thing and fix the issue that is their own fault, then I think everyone would feel completely different. They need to stand behind the product they sell. As of right now, I will never buy a Nissan again. Why is there not a defect investigation with as many people that are having these issues?

- Balch Springs, TX, USA

problem #6

Aug 302011


  • 99,000 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Nissan Xterra. The contact was driving 65 mph when the vehicle overheated and stalled. The vehicle was taken to the dealer who diagnosed that the coolant and transmission fluid had mixed and as a result, the transmission needed to be replaced. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure who did not offer any assistance since the vehicle was out of warranty. The vehicle was not repaired. The VIN was not available. The failure and current mileage was 99,000.

- Yardley, PA, USA

problem #5

Jul 082010

(reported on)


  • miles
2006 Nissan Xterra. Consumer complaint against manufacturer regarding faulty radiators the consumer stated the transmission cooler is inside the radiator and it is leaking, allowing anti-freeze to enter the transmission and vice versa. When the anti-freeze leaked into the transmission fluid, it destroyed the cooling system and consequently the radiator and transmission needs to be replaced.

- Saint Johnsville, NY, USA

problem #4

May 092010


  • 73,000 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Nissan Xterra. The contact stated when driving at various speeds, the vehicle would exhibit abnormally, violent vibrations. The vibrations were more intense when the vehicle would shift into third gear. The contact further examined the vehicle and found transmission fluid leaking into the coolant system and coolant leaking into the transmission system. The dealer advised that the failure was common in his model vehicle yet there were no recalls. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure and current mileages were 73,000.

- Saint Johnsville, NY, USA

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