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 7 of 11)

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problem #83

Jul 062011

Xterra 6-cyl

  • 144,000 miles


We have an 2006 Nissan Xterra and the radiator leaked into the transmission and caused a cross contamination. We had to replace the radiator and have the transmission rebuilt. We participated in the Nissan class action lawsuit, but unfortunately we received a denial letter in the mail earlier this week because we were over 100,000 miles. I am highly disappointed with Nissan for being so greedy and not taking responsibility over this issue. This problem happened to occur the winter of 2011 when I would go out to start the car and it would blow cold air and never heat up unless the car was running. If I was to sit at red lights the car would blow cold air again. That spring I noticed the car jerking and driving a little rough but didn't think much about it because we had just replaced the universal C joint back that prior fall. The summer of 2011 and at first I noticed the RPM's revving up but the car wouldn't go anywhere. Then the air went out and would cool down the car. Meanwhile I am driving my kids around in a car with no ac in 100 summer heat and humidity. Eventually the car got so bad it wouldn't run. It would rev up but go no where. I finally took it into a shop when I noticed it leaking a reddish, brown/green fluid. Come to find out there was cross contamination between the radiator and the transmission. I had been driving months with this car like this it really messed up my Xterra. It cost me $4500 to fix this issue on top of many inconveniences. I't super disappointed in Nissan for not recalling this faulty part they knew about. Apparently a letter was sent out asking customers to bring the cars in to be checked. We never received this letter. All I want is Nissan to fess up and pay hard working people back the money they owe them. My Xterra was paid off and I had to sink $4500 into a 6 year old car. Nissan has lost a customer for life. Ill never buy another.

- Lexington, KY, USA

problem #82

Dec 052013

Xterra 6-cyl

  • 137,743 miles
Financing and noticed the loud whining gears when car was cold. Almost like a after market racing tranny. Truck being quick and having a powerband it seems, I went with it!! we've had truck just over a year. 6 months ago, heater only blew heat when in motion. It still does both of these things but periodically the heat works like normal. Yes, this truck is still running!!!! but when I leave in the morning, it feels like the E brake is on when its not!! serious restriction. And on freeway, over 50 mph, grinding sound gets louder by the day. The loud vibrating that if windows are up, your head seemingly could explode!!!! all the same symptoms of coolant in the tranny. Best part is, it was sold to us by a dealership with symptoms obviously Nissan knows about. Heading down to trade it in for one over 2010!!! please make it there Xterra!!!! wow. It still gets up and goes tho. Red light with a new V8 titan, green means go, Xterra wins !!! sad day because we loved this truck. Buh bye baby

- Lacey, WA, USA

problem #81

Oct 312013

Xterra 6-cyl

  • 105,168 miles
I was driving on the freeway when all of a sudden my car would not accelerate. I tried to quickly merge to my right shoulder. I had plenty of gas and my car would not provide any power past the 2300 RPM. As I was merging, I noticed the car in the next lane behind me was approaching fast. I tried to accelerate and could not, he had to quickly move to the next lane and I think he hit another car. At this time I was already in the exit lane when I looked over, got lucky I wasn't hit hard and barely made it out of freeway.

- Saugus, CA, USA

problem #80

Oct 312013


  • 105,000 miles


I was coasting on the freeway at around 50 miles, was in low RPM about 2500. I hit the gas to change lanes and as soon as I did, I have no power to the back wheels. My engine RPM shot up and felt as if I was in the neutral. Eased off immediately and tried gassing it very lightly. I was able to make it off the freeway; however, I could not gas it past the 2500rpms. Very scary on the freeway, lucky I have great reflexes to avoid an accident. Took it into the shop and verified it is a leakage from the radiator to transmission problem.

- Saugus, CA, USA

problem #79

Sep 272013

Xterra 6-cyl

  • 104,000 miles
My 2006 Nissan Xterra's transmission has been significantly damaged due to the issue of contaminated transmission fluid / radiator fluid. It started to exhibit symptoms shortly after reaching 100,000 miles, which is just out of reach of the extended warranty.

- Denver, CO, USA

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problem #78

Aug 012013


  • 101,000 miles
Bought 2006 Nissan Xterra used on August 1st, 2013, had problem the evening after I bought it. Transmission was not changing gears properly and was causing high RPM's. took it to Nissan dealer and they said the transmission and radiator would need to be replaced due to anti-freeze mixing with transmission fluid cause by broken cooler tube.

- Coeburn, VA, USA

problem #77

May 222013


  • 108,000 miles


The contact owns a 2006 Nissan Xterra. The contact attempted to shift into reverse however, the vehicle produced a loud noise. The vehicle was taken to the dealer for inspection where the contact was informed that coolant leaked into the transmission. He was then advised that the transmission needed to be repaired. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the issue. The approximate failure mileage was 108,000.

- San Diego, CA, USA

problem #76

Sep 272013

Xterra 6-cyl

  • 92,000 miles
My Xterra experienced the dreaded " cracked radiator leaked into transmission" problem that many other Nissan trucks have experienced. It happened all of a sudden while driving through a parking lot, and the car down shifted and would no longer excel. Because it happened at a little over 92,000, I had to pay the $3000 deductible that was determined from the class action lawsuit earlier this year. That money covered a "reman" transmission (not even a new one) and hopefully a new radiator (it was not specified). The radiator should have been a recall from the get-go.

- Irvine, CA, USA

problem #75

Sep 212013

Xterra 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 83,400 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Nissan Xterra. The contact stated that while driving 50 mph, the vehicle came to a complete halt as all the warning lamps illuminated. The vehicle was not taken to the dealer. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure mileage was 83,400 and the current mileage 83,487. Updated 11/13/13 the consumer stated while driving, the transmission went into neutral and the vehicle stopped moving. All the indicator lights on the dashboard began flashing. He shut off the vehicle and re-started it. The vehicle began moving, but it was stuttering badly. He stopped put it in reverse and backed up and the lights began flashing. The vehicle was towed to the dealer. An inspection revealed an extensive repair was needed. A new transmission was needed as well a computer. Updated 11/19/13

- Ashburnham, MA, USA

problem #74

Sep 252013

Xterra 6-cyl

  • 93,000 miles
Transmission was having hard time to engage, took it to jb automechanics in des plaines, ill to find out that transmission fluid is mixing with coolant on the radiator and had possible transmission damages.

- Mount Prospect , IL, USA

problem #73

Sep 132013

Xterra 6-cyl

  • 1,000,350 miles


On 9/13/2013 I took my vehicle to alan webb Nissan to investigate some transmission slipping that I had experienced the previous day. On 9/16/2013 I was informed that my transmission had become contaminated with radiator coolant and my transmission and radiator would have to be replace at the cost of $5300 plus applicable tax. I was further informed that this was known problem with this generation vehicle but that Nissan only provided repair assistance for vehicles with less than 100K miles on them and I was therefor required to pay the full amount. It was only later through online research that I discovered that a class action lawsuit had been the only reason they provided any repair assistance. I also noted that the vastt majority of reported cases were for vehicles over the 100K mark. 1. if this was a known defect that affected millions of vehicles why wasn't Nissan forced to perform a recall and replace the radiators. 2. why was I not as a minimum informed of the defect when I purchased the vehicle with 74K miles on it. With less than 80K on them Nissan would repair the problem at their cost. 3. if the problems are not as a rule happening to vehicles until they go over 100K miles then why cap the assistance requirement. 4. now that it is recognized by the courts as a known failure why are the consumers paying anything to do these repairs whn it could have been avoided with a $200 radiator and an hours labor. I find this very dishonest that Nissan was not forced by the courts or the NHTSA to do a full recall or disclosure to owners. If so many vehicles are on the road which can have a major transmission failure at any time why hasn't the NHTSA forced Nissan to do something about it? this may not be as hazardous as fuel tanks rupturing but I would think that a vehicle that has a transmission failure at highway speeds should be of concern.

- La Center, WA, USA

problem #72

Sep 212013


  • miles
While driving our 2006 Nissan Xterra at speeds between 40 and 65 mph the vehicle started losing power and not shifting between gears correctly. At stop signs it would start out and rev high and then not shift again. The transmission stopped working while on the freeway. After letting it sit for a period of time the trainsmission would engage for a short time and stopped again. Finally had to have the vehicle towed how over 50 miles. Waiting until Monday (happen on a late Saturday) to get vehicle to family mechanic. Tried to speak to Nissan dealerships and got no help. We had the vehicle looked at by family mechanic at least twice before for the vehicle have symptoms of power loss and sluggish gear change and it was so intermitent that nothing could be detected in the past.

- Dixon, CA, USA

problem #71

Sep 142013


  • 118,000 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Nissan Xterra. The contact stated that while driving 50 mph, the vehicle stalled without warning as smoke emerged from under the hood. The vehicle was towed to an independent mechanic for diagnosis where it was stated that the transmission needed to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired and the manufacturer was notified. The VIN was not available. The approximate failure mileage was 118,000. Returned by usps on 11-6-2013. Second attempt on 11-19-2013 failed.

- Jackson, NJ, USA

problem #70

Sep 032013


  • 120,000 miles
The transmission is failing due to the transmission cooler inside the radiator allowing coolant to get into the transmission causing a catastrophic failure. It is my understanding that this is a common problem and that Nissan knew it was from a defect in the radiator. I've seen online that many people with a 2005-2010 Xterra, frontier and pathfinder with the 4.0 V6 engine are having this problem

- Murfreesboro, TN, USA

problem #69

Jun 072013

Xterra 6-cyl

  • 123,000 miles
Back in January our 2006 Nissan Xterra, on occasion, started making a sound like it was running over several road bumps. It would stop shortly thereafter. I took it to our family mechanic thinking it was a U-joint or something along those lines. He couldn't figure it out. It began to happen a bit more often so we stopped driving it until our house sold. Finally, the house sold and when we were bringing it to our new condo it overheated. We had it towed to Nissan who informed us that the transmission fluid had cross contaminated with the radiator fluid, destroying both. The estimate was over $14,000. The service person informed me that Nissan was having problems with this and a couple of other makes. Now it is in a class action suit, and my car sits while I continue to pay it off. What can I do to join the lawsuit? this is clearly a situation that Nissan needs to fix. I would never had bought the car if I had known there was even the most remote chance that this could happen. They have stated they "can't" do anything until the lawsuit is resolved. Its unfathomable to me that they simply wouldn't have these cars fixed during each and every incident. Thank you for your help.

- Tacoma, WA, USA

problem #68

Sep 022013


  • 95,000 miles
2006 Nissan Xterra with 95000 miles. Felt a vibration at 40 mph and after doing research online, took it in to have the transmission and radiator flushed. Found out that the radiator leaked coolant which found its way into the transmission and has all but destroyed it. Currently at the transmission shop looking at a $5K plus bill to replace the transmission and radiator. This has happened enough that the national transmission shop sells a package for Nissan vehicles to correct this issue. Not happy. Was recently considering buying a second Nissan but not anymore as they are failing to address this well documented issue.

- Manassas, VA, USA

problem #67

Aug 242013


  • 130,000 miles
2006 Nissan Xterra 4X4 - bought new - only owner - perfectly maintained after reading all the information from Nissan we thought since we hadn't had issues that we were safe. Not to mention that our Xterra was over the mileage that would qualify us for the extended warranty. Our transmission just quit leaving us stranded away from home with our two children. 130,000 miles on the odometer. We contacted Nissan only to get an email saying they could not help us with our issue. This is a known issue! an internal crack on the oil cooler tube so why are they not standing behind their vehicles? we have been die hard Nissan fans since purchasing our Xterra in 2006! we even own a titan too. We were contemplating adding a Nissan juke to our Nissan collection. However now we do not feel we can trust Nissan nor do we like the fact that they are not standing behind their vehicles. We wont purchase another Nissan ever.

- Long Island, VA, USA

problem #66

Apr 242013


  • 152,000 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Nissan Xterra. The contact stated that coolant leaked into the transmission, causing the vehicle to stall while driving. The contact took the vehicle to the dealer for a diagnostic test. The dealer stated that the transmission and the radiator needed to be replaced. The contact did not have the transmission or the radiator replaced. The failure mileage was 152,000.

- Violet, LA, USA

problem #65

Aug 232013

Xterra 6-cyl

  • 149,365 miles
Transmission started to slip abruptly and with imminent failure. Checked complaints and discovered a well known issue with transmission/radiator fluids intermixing due to a failure in the transmission cooler. Mechanic verified this was my problem as well. Nissan quoted $8500 repair. Service adviser at Nissan North (Ohio) confirmed that this is a very common problem. Apparently Nissan acknowledged this in a class action lawsuit settlement in 2012 but did not notify any of the owners of potential failure without any previous symptoms.I had my car serviced at the dealer 3 months prior and they did not notice/notify me of any potential issues. Transmission failed on a trip to New York. I'm looking at a repair bill that potentially exceeds the value of my automobile. Nissan has a moral and a implicit obligation to notify owners of problems such as this. This should have been a recall, as it would have prevented the failure and saved numerous owners outrageous repair bills and possible loss of vehicle.

- Grandville, MI, USA

problem #64

Aug 152013

Xterra 6-cyl

  • 96,560 miles
My 2006 Nissan Xterra with 96,560 miles experienced transmission failure caused by a crack in the transmission cooler inside of the radiator.

- Cuyahoga Heights, OH, USA

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