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 2 of 11)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #183

Feb 022016


  • 165,000 miles


Transmission cooler cracked causing water/anti-freeze to leak into the transmission. Car still runs, but according to mechanic, transmission doesn't have much life left. Estimate to repair is $4700.

- Crestview, FL, USA

problem #182

Mar 012016


  • 118,000 miles
My 2006 Nissan Xterra began shuddering as if the car was riding on rumble strips, while I was trying to maintain speed. When the od is off it does not shudder/rumble. After an inspection and research we determined that coolant was leaking into the transmission fluid and causing the car to shudder. We have taken great care of our car and this is a manufacturer defect in the radiator and it should not be paid for by the consumers!

- Perrysburg, OH, USA

problem #181

Mar 152009


  • 120,000 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Nissan Xterra. While driving 55 mph, the vehicle stalled and was unable to be restarted. The vehicle was towed to an independent mechanic who diagnosed that there was contamination of radiator fluid and that the radiator and transmission needed to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The failure mileage was 120,000. The VIN was unavailable.

- White Springs, FL, USA

problem #180

Mar 252016


  • 133,400 miles


I was driving on the interstate when I started hearing a weird sound coming from the car an it started to slow down. I about got hit when all the cars were flying pass me and I was trying to get over. I called the dealer and found out it was the transmission and after almost getting killed all they had to tell me was it wasn't there problem an that it would cost me over 3000 to fix. I just got this car used and still owe over 8000 on it. I cant even drive it. This is so unsafe somebody is going to end up dead because of this problem. If it hasnt already killed some people.

- Winchester, TN, USA

problem #179

Jan 102015


  • 102,000 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Nissan Xterra. While driving 40 mph, the vehicle stalled without warning. The contact discovered that the fuel tank was empty and the fuel gauge displayed incorrect reading levels. The vehicle was taken to a dealer where it was diagnosed that there was radiator coolant inside the transmission. The transmission needed to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. In addition, the contact mentioned that the air conditioner and heating system became inoperable. The vehicle was not diagnosed nor repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The VIN was not included in NHTSA campaign number: 10V075000 (fuel system, gasoline). The failure mileage was 102,000.

- Littleton, CO, USA

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problem #178

Jan 072016


  • 194,000 miles
I was driving down the street and my truck RPM started to go up to 4000 RPM. I pulled over because I thought that a belt had broken. After checking all the belt were good but the truck would not go in gear so I knew it was the transmission. After researching the issue on the Nissan site it was confirmed that this was a know issue with most Nissan vehicles. It caused me $3000 to get my truck fixed being that this is my only means of transportation. I don't understand how Nissan has not recalled vehicles because of this issue. I could have been involved in a major accident if I had taken my normal route and went on the interstate. With the way the truck just stopped it would have called a major accident.

- Memphis, TN, USA

problem #177

Mar 032016


  • 80,806 miles


While driving home from work on busy streets in the pittsburgh area, our 2006 Nissan Xterra lost forward power while navigating a right turn onto another busy street. Vehicle never lost electrical power, but had no mechanical power. There were other vehicles driving opposite me as well as vehicles behind me. It was like the vehicle was forced into neutral. I had the vehicle towed to a Nissan dealership for them to investigate, they stated that this is a known problem with Nissan Xterras and frontiers that the radiator communicates with the transmission creating a resultant need for a rebuild of the transmission and replacement of the radiator and coolant flush. For this to occur while driving is dangerous not only to the driver and passenger of the vehicle, but it poses a public risk as well and could have resulted in serious injury/death. Nissan usa should be responsible for repairs, but more importantly should be held accountable for such repairs as they constitute a safety concern while driving their vehicles.

- West Mifflin, PA, USA

problem #176

Feb 162016


  • 176,953 miles
Check engine light came on, took my truck to the dealer to have a diagnostic check, was told by the service staff that the transmission was contaminated with coolant that had leaked from the radiator. Upon further research, I discovered that other Nissan makes, models between 2004-2006 had a design flaw which caused the problem in which I now face.. I contacted Nissan for some financial assistance on the repair on my transmission, since it appears that the issues related to my problem are from a flaw in the designs of the vehicle. I was told that because my mileage was over a 100,000 miles and past the warranty, that there wasn't anything that could be done as far assisting me with the repairs. I will never buy another Nissan product again.... it should be also noted that there was a class action lawsuit again Nissan regarding the very problem that I'm faced dealing with...

- Ferguson, MO, USA

problem #175

Sep 152015


  • 145,300 miles
I bought the Nissan Xterra last year and unfortunately the transmission when out at 145,300 miles I talked to a Nissan representative but they said that Nissan only covers only before the 100,000 miles but that is completely unacceptable because be are not responsible for the factory defects that should been fixed within the first days of production now I had to pay 4,500 dollars for get the transmission fixed a fits just a pain in the neck because I could use the money to feed my family or pay my rent but no I had to pay for a car that Nissan doesn't take any responsibly over the 100,000 miles that it's unbelievable I want to et reimbursed by Nissan what I paid for the transmission repairs I have all the documentation

- Gaithersburg, MD, USA

problem #174

Jan 222016


  • 112,000 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Nissan Xterra. The contact stated that the vehicle was taken to the dealer where it was diagnosed that the radiator leaked fluid onto the transmission and both components needed to be replaced. There were no warning indicators. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was not notified. The failure mileage was 112,000.

- San Antonio, TX, USA

problem #173

Oct 172015


  • 112,000 miles


Noted transmission slippage and vehicle running hotter than normal. Radiator looked as though it had been filled with a lime smoothie. Suspected blown head gasket but my mechanic stated there was a problem with Nissan which involved intermingling of coolant and transmission fluid. Researched online and discovered class-action lawsuit relative to the problem. Unfortunately, although my vehicle was not 10 years old as yet, it had 112K miles on it. Nissan refused to do anything to repair the problem they knew about but on which no recall was ever done. They offered me a crappy discount to buy a new vehicle. Considering how much they stood behind their product that I owned, I didn't choose that option. If I couldn't afford to pay $6K to replace the cooling system and transmission, what made them think I could afford to buy a new vehicle? I had to use the Nissan to get to work, the grocery store, doctor appointments, etc., knowing that at any time the vehicle could fail or seize up. Had to shift into neutral each time it stopped to keep it from boiling over. Very stressful, particularly as I am handicapped and more vulnerable than many.

- Baltimore, MD, USA

problem #172

Feb 012015


  • 102,000 miles
The radiator cracked causing intermix with transmission fluid I found after the occurances. While driving the transmission started slipping out of gear while in motion in the middle of traffic on city streets. The next time I drove it seemed okay. I entered a curving onramp and suddenly the transmission slipped out of gear, the engine revved high, and jerked hard back in to gear, spinning the wheels and causing me to go sideways near another vehicle. I quicklyquickly regained control, and continued driving to the nearest exit. The transmission slipped a couple more times, causing me to slow down but no loss of control. This could have caused a fatal accident, and though I was lucky enough to be okay, I had to pay $3700 to fix it. This occurred at 102,000 miles and happens to every Xterra, pathfinder, and frontier from 2005-2007. Their should be a recall before this results in deaths. It will inevitability cause fatalities.

- Meridian, ID, USA

problem #171

Aug 112015


  • 87,000 miles
I was driving on the interstate at about 70 miles per hour went my car starting losing power and jerking. The cars behind me were getting right behind my car and slowing down, they were yelling at me to speed up and, I was so scared one of them would hit the back of my car and cause a accident and kill me, I tried to get the car to the to the side of the interstate but had a hard time crossing traffic, I was praying to make it across with out getting.nission knew that my xteria was was recalled for this issue but did not send me a recall notice or anything in the mail, now they want me to pay the first $3000 to fix my transmission. But they build the car that way so I think they should fix it. I had a guy who worked on my car before and he said that due to a cracked coolant leak into my transmission, my transmission went out. I sure wish no one else went through the same thing on the interstate, it was bad., I am disabled and cannot afford the $3000 so my car is now useless and I have no way to go to the doctor.

- Marrero, LA, USA

problem #170

Sep 122015


  • 129,893 miles
The transmission failed during heavy commute traffic hwy at 60mph creating a near miss multi vehicle collision. No injuries or accident occured because of the malfunction. The vehicle lost power and was pulled safely to the side of the road. The cause of the transmission failure was diagnosed to be transmission failure due to contamination from engine coolant. A common problem with this make and model as thousands of consumer complaints have been filed but ignored by the NHTSA and Nissan. The factory radiator has a known defect which caused the intercooler tubing from the transmission to the radiator to crack and fail thus causing cross contamination of tranmission fluid and engine coolant from the radiator to mix and destroy the transmission. The failure requires replacement of the radiator and replacement or rebuilding of the transmission at a cost of $5,500. In over 45 years of driving all makes, years and models of vehicles both foreign and domestic, I have never had one failure of this type before, even in vehicles with over 300,000 miles of use. In my humble opinion, this is nothing less than an engineering defect either purposefully designed as built in obsolescense, or overlooked and denied by Nissan as a materials defect in manufacturing. Anyone can use a search engine on the internet to find that this is a common occurance but no recall has been enacted because there has been no deaths reported yet. Because my vehicle is out of warranty, but of this low milage, it was not a maintenance issue, as it is a 2 wheel drive vehicle not used for off road but standard paved roadway use. Oil changes and inspections were completed as recommended.

- Olympia, WA, USA

problem #169

Sep 132015


  • 148,000 miles
We were pulling a light 18 foot trailer up a steep hill, at low speed due to the grade. It was on hwy 89, about 5 miles w of garden city, Utah. The RPM of the car raced up to 4,000, it lost power and lugged. We were fortunate that there was a turn off a very short distance ahead. We were also fortunate that the failure did not occur when we were turning left in front of on-coming traffic. The engine was smoking hot, even though the radiator didn't show any heat. It took a while to recognize the issue.

- Sandy, UT, USA

problem #168

Aug 302015


  • 94,522 miles
On Sunday, August 30, 2015, while driving from Maryland to Virginia, on a speed limit of 55, vehicle slowed down and transmission wont engaged while accelerating the gas pedal, RPM was going to the higher number/red zone and car will not move faster up to the noted speed limit. When we stop at the light, and the lights turn green, the vehicle will not move and make loud noise and RPM going higher to the red zone numbers. This caused traffic behind us back up because of speed too slow in a 55-mile per hour speed. I was afraid it could have caused an accident. This happened several times during a 200-mile travel from Maryland to Virginia. I read that there were several complaints about Nissan vehicles about radirator water leaks to the transmission and causing it to malfunction. According the price transmission experts, this is the same problem and the cost to repair will cost $4,400 I would like to have Nissan pay the repair cost.

- Norfolk , VA, USA

problem #167

Aug 172015


  • 117,400 miles
The first incident was a couple months ago when my car just decided to stop in traffic all the sudden. Just shut down. Then yesterday I was driving to work and a car in front of me decided to slow down. When I hit the breaks to slow down the car would not accelerate back up it decreased. I could not get it to go. I restarted the car and it turned on and went again. I looked at this website and saw all the complaints.I have had all the same issues with stalling, not starting, and no acceleration. I took it to a transmission shop and they could not detect anything wrong as no codes and of course it did not do it for them when they test drove it. I took my car to the Nissan dealership showed them the print out from this site and told them I am having all those problems within the last couple months. They told me since my VIN was not included in the recall they basically could not help without charging me $900 for a radiator plus the engine control module $78. I had to pay $100 just for them to look at it. They told me a whole new transmission would be $9000. This is a horrible problem this vehicle is having and is very dangerous for your car to just turn off while driving. I have a small child in the car with me. Very scary would could happen. I do not care what the mileage is on the vehicle. Nissan needs to include all Xterra's no matter what the VIN is for the time frame! all these complaints need action. I little to quinky dink they are all happening now! Nissan dealership told me they would recommend: ECM relay $78, radiator $740, plus some other maintenance stuff. When I went to leave after having them replace the. ECM I had a lovely letter stating they did a complimentary appraisal of my vehicle. They did everything to confirm it is the problem, but offered no help unless I fork out the $$$$$.

- Sandy, UT, USA

problem #166

Apr 302013


  • 110,000 miles
Tramsmission was beginning to make noise and shifting roughly. I took it to the Nissan dealer and they said the radiator was leaking into the transmission fluid causing damage to the transmission. They said it was not covered under warranty and it cost me over $3500 to repair.

- Leesburg, FL, USA

problem #165

Dec 032014


  • 186,000 miles
I had just exited the interstate and was stopped at a traffic light. My transmission had been making a noise but I did not know why. When I attempted to pull away from the light my transmission would not engage into gear. My vehicle had to be towed to the repair shop where it was determined fluid from my radiator which had cracked the previous month had moved through the coolant lines into my transmission and causes its failure. If this had happened while still on the interstate I would have been at high risk for a fatal wreck to have occured

- Murfreesboro, TN, USA

problem #164

May 252015


  • 102,000 miles
I am writing this in regard to the radiator cracking and leaking coolant into the transmission fluid. This problem completely ruins transmissions and there is no way to tell the problem is occuring. I have had the vehicle inspected regularly and maintained to all manufacturer specifications. I received zero notification from Nissan about this issue. This is my primary vehicle I use to Transport my child. I was left stranded on the side of a back road in extreme heat due to this defect. The cost of repairing this issue is well over the worth of the vehicle itself.

- Mount Pleasant, PA, USA

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