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 5 of 11)

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problem #123

Jun 182014

Xterra 6-cyl

  • 115,000 miles


I bought a Nissan Xterra 06 in September 2013. It's now July 5 2014, not even a year after I bought it, and I'm having issues getting my car fixed. Something in the radiator busted and caused the coolant to leak into the transmission which means that I now need a new radiator and a new transmission which is going to cost roughly 5,100 dollars to fix in which I cannot afford. I purchased an extended warranty when I purchased my car so that if I had any major issues, like this, I would be covered financially bc anyone knows that car repairs can be quite costly. I was told that, zurich, my warranty company, would not pay for the repairs bc the problem came from the radiator and it's not covered in the warranty which leaves me to pay for the costly repairs. I believe that the dealership I got my car from should pay for the repairs as I haven't had it a whole year yet. I feel as if I've been skrewed over. Nissan also needs to issue a recall bc I'm not the only 06 Xterra owner to have this issue. Please help me, I have a 1 yr. Old daughter and I need my car fixed and don't have 5100 dollars to fix it myself. Thank you

- Dana, NC, USA

problem #122

Jul 042014


  • 137,000 miles
Driving down the road and car started shuttering and over heated got out of car and there was milky trans fluid every were.

- Proctorville , OH, USA

problem #121

Jun 182014

Xterra 6-cyl

  • 128,000 miles
When my Xterra was idling in park or at a stop light, the car was overheating. Also while accelerating, the car was shuddering when changing gears. Upon taking the vehicle to a repair garage, I was informed that this particular model Nissan is notorious for faulty radiators being installed which caused coolant fluid to leak / mix in with transmission fluid, thus damaging the transmission, possibly to the point of having to be replaced as well as the radiator. My car is sitting at a garage now waiting for the radiator to be replaced and try to run the vehicle to see how bad the damage now is to the transmission.

- Phillipsburg, NJ, USA

problem #120

Jun 092014


  • 72,000 miles


Transmission cooler, located in radiator, cracked and allowed mixture of coolant and transmission fluid. This caused internal damage to transmission. Vehicle had power loss during a merge onto a state highway, nearly causing an accident and potential harm to my wife and 4 year old son. Nissan settled a class action lawsuit which clearly acknowledges there is a manufacture defect with the radiator. No safety recall was made which has the potential to injury others who experience this failure. Research has shown this is a large scale issue and settlement is unacceptable, Nissan has a responsibility where manufacturer defects can cause harm to their customers.

- Nazareth, PA, USA

problem #119

Jun 072014

Xterra 6-cyl

  • 105,000 miles
Antifreeze in transmission causing smoke from under hood and transmission failure.

- Winthrop, ME, USA

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problem #118

Oct 252013


  • 148,000 miles
Engine coolant started mixing with transmission fluid due to broken line from transmission to radiator. Now my car shutters when your push the accelerator and is having problems shifting gears. Jerks at times when it gets hotter. Company is doing nothing about it because it has over 100K miles even though they knew of the defect. This should be a recall definitely!!!!

- Benton, LA, USA

problem #117

Apr 012014

Xterra 6-cyl

  • 94,000 miles


Transmission jerks and shudders at speeds around 40-60 mph when it shifts into overdrive. This occurs under light engine loading and while traveling up hill. Also, have noticed it at lower speeds lately. During the winter, the vehicle failed to heat properly; adding more coolant alleviated this problem, but only for a short period of time. After inspection, it is found that engine coolant is leaking into the transmission cooler and transmission fluid, causing both the engine to run low on coolant (and cause a no-heat situation) and is most likely causing the transmission to fail.

- Jonesboro, IL, USA

problem #116

Feb 032014

Xterra 6-cyl

  • 102,820 miles
Vehicle did not shift smoothly and was overheating. Mechanic determined that the transmission fluid and engine coolant were intermixed due to a leak in the transmission line in the radiator. Both radiator and transmission must be replaced due to the fluid mixing.

- Jacksonville, FL, USA

problem #115

May 162014

Xterra 6-cyl

  • 95,000 miles
Radiator is leaking coolant into transmission.

- Barrington, IL, USA

problem #114

May 022014

Xterra 6-cyl

  • 117,700 miles
When the vehicle is traveling 45-50 mph, there is an occasional and sometimes violent shake in the driving over rumble bars. Also some loss of power while accelerating and hard shifting. This is from transmission failure due to cross contamination between the radiator and the transmission.

- Waverly, NE, USA

problem #113

May 072014

Xterra 6-cyl

  • 85,000 miles


Update to NHTSA id # 10587080. Filled out VIN incorrectly. Correct VIN is above.

- Annapolis , MD, USA

problem #112

Apr 152014

Xterra 6-cyl

  • 133,000 miles
Radiator fluid leaked into the transmission. The only fix is to replace both the radiator and the transmission at a cost of approximately $7,000. This is a known issue with several Nissan models, years 2005-2010 and class action has been taken. The settlement provided no help to someone in my situation with over 100,000 miles on the vehicle and provided very limited financial reimbursement for those who qualified. This is a known, catastrophic issue and recalls or reimbursements were the proper, safe, ethical solution. This was not done, and now I am stuck with a fix that will cost 90% of what the car is worth. There was no solution given that could have prevented it, so I really had no option here but to wait for the failure and get stuck with the $7000 bill. Fortunately, I did not experience any known safety hazards with this failure, but a failed radiator and transmission could potentially be dangerous.

- Cheyenne, WY, USA

problem #111

Oct 302008

Xterra 6-cyl

  • 58,000 miles
July 2006 I purchased a new Nissan Xterra. October 2008 at approx. 58,000 miles the transmission failed. The transmission "slipped" as I made a left turn. The vehicle momentarily stopped in front of on coming traffic. Traffic stopped for me. At that time the vehicle moved forward. I initially thought that this was an isolated incident but over the next few days the problem worsened. On October 30th I took the vehicle to ricart Nissan. An initial check showed a foreign substance in the transmission fluid, the service person accused me of putting oil in the transmission and stated that Nissan would send the fluid to a laboratory for testing. Approx 6 days later I received a call from the dealership stating Nissan would replace the transmission free of charge. At 60,000 miles or a month or so later my vehicle warranty expired. The vehicle never really ran correctly after that; heavy shifting, vehicle would not warm up when stationary. I made several follow up calls to the dealership but each time I was advised that vehicle was out of warranty, or over 60,000 miles. At that point I just dealt with the rough running rough shifting vehicle. Move ahead to May 2014. Once again the vehicle's transmission slipped while turning almost causing me to have an accident. At this point I began researching my vehicle and found out that transmission problems, more specifically coolant leaking into the transmission causing failure was an on going problem, I had the vehicle inspected at pickerington Ohio Goodyear. Coolant was present in the transmission. At that time I notified my dealership and Nissan of my issue. Nissan stated that due to the vehicle age (175,000 miles) they could not assist me; Nissan reference number #[xxx]. I believe this is just as much a safety issue as a mechanical issue. If the transmission fails when turning in front of traffic an accident could take place. Information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Pickeringtom, OH, USA

problem #110

May 072014


  • 86,500 miles
SUV started vibrating badly while driving at speeds near 60 mph. This happened for about 3 months. Took vehicle to sheehy Nissan in annapolis, md to have investigated and was told coolant had mixed with transmission fluid due to a failure in radiator. I was told that a costly repair is my only option, and that while I can drive it now, a total failure at "some point later" is imminent. How can I drive this vehicle on the streets knowing that at any moment the transmission could fail??/

- Annapolis , MD, USA

problem #109

May 062014

Xterra 6-cyl

  • 54,000 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Nissan Xterra. The contact stated that the gears slipped intermittently while traveling at any speed. The failure recurred multiple times. An authorized dealer was notified of the failure more than once, who repaired the radiator and transmission to no avail. The contact had heard a humming noise when changing gears and also experienced the fuel gauge providing erroneous fuel level readings. The vehicle was included in NHTSA campaign id number: 10V075000 (fuel system, gasoline) but the local dealer and manufacturer both stated that the vehicle had exceeded the one year time frame to have the recall repair performed. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 54,000. Updated 08/11/14 the consumer would like to reimbured the payments made towards the deductible and the car rental. Updated 08/18/2014

- Williamsport, MD, USA

problem #108

Apr 212014

Xterra 6-cyl

  • 129,000 miles
Felt vibrating while driving. Stopped at a light and had no 1st gear after. I was told water got into the transmission. Called Nissan after doing research to find out this was a big problem. I was told tough luck pretty much. Nissan should recall all affected vehicles!!!

- Titusville, FL, USA

problem #107

Feb 202013

Xterra 6-cyl

  • 120,000 miles
Radiator cracked and leaked coolant into the transmission. Both radiator and transmission damaged.

- Cumming, GA, USA

problem #106

Apr 122014

Xterra 6-cyl

  • 132,820 miles
Well I was driving along and the vehicle started chugging and then it stopped moving, when I had a transmission shop look at it they told me the radiator cracked and leaked fluid into the trans and destroyed the trans, now it is going to be replaced or rebuilt. I cannot afford this but need to get it fixed since I borrowed money to buy it. I was told by the trans shop that this was a common problem and it is not supposed to happen since the trans fluid lines and radiator fluid do not come into direct contact with each other, but is a defective radiator and design that caused this problem.

- Ypsilanti, MI, USA

problem #105

Mar 302014

Xterra 6-cyl

  • 170,000 miles
While on a business trip away from home noticed the heater stopped blowing warm air. A few minutes later engine temperature spiked but then returned to normal. 50 miles later heater started working again. Took the car to a local mechanic and discovered transmission cooler within the radiator had failed, allowing the radiator coolant to mix with the transmission fluid. Paid for the replacement of the radiator/transmission cooler, system flush. Had the system flushed again 1 week after radiator replacement. Transmission now acting erratically, particular when shifting between 3rd and 4th gear. Initial assessments by mechanic suggests transmission and transmission computer require replacement. Cost of replacement exceeds the value of car even though the rest of the car is in excellent condition.

- Dobson, NC, USA

problem #104

Apr 142014

Xterra 6-cyl

  • 106,000 miles
Car was not accelerating properly and was shaking. Took it to the shop. The radiator had failed allowing coolant into my transmission and ruining my transmission. Repair will cost $4102 + tax.

- Mesa, AZ, USA

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