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 8 of 11)

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problem #63

Jul 312013

Xterra 6-cyl

  • 115,000 miles


My transmission went....the coolant was leaking into the transmission and over time ruined it. Barely made it to the transmission shop who charged $3900 that I didn't have. This is a Nissan fault and I should be compensated, even though I'm over the absurd low mileage limits. Please help!

- Eldersburg, MD, USA

problem #62

Mar 282013

Xterra 6-cyl

  • 96,500 miles
I had been noticing a whining noise associated with transmission 'flare' on acceleration for some time, but only in March 2013 was it diagnosed at 96K miles by the dealership as faulty timing chain guides, a known problem with the 4 L engine. The dealer said the faulty parts needed to be replaced soon. I contacted Nissan usa Consumer Affairs about having Nissan partially cover the cost of replacing the faulty parts. Despite having the dealership's original report and estimate, Nissan's regional rep insisted that the dealership had to reconfirm the diagnosis, which was done. The rep then refused to return my calls, and did not respond to dealership queries about the repairs either. The engine noise was getting worse, and fearing a catastrophic engine failure, I had the dealer repair the vehicle. The dealer said the timing chain was slapping and about to fail. The dealership urged me to report the problem to appropriate federal, local and Nissan officials because the problem is potentially very dangerous.

- Sterling, VA, USA

problem #61

Jun 222013

Xterra 6-cyl

  • 128,000 miles
My 2006 Nissan Xterra would lunge forward when I was traveling at 40-45 mph. It would first jerk forward when I would go from slowly moving to accelerating, like when you began to move after sitting at a red light. The light turns green, you slowly start to move and then you press the gas to accelerate and the car would jerk forward. Then the car had problems shifting out of 1st gear before I was about to get on the interstate after leaving work. I decided to take the back route because I did not want to have an accident. I stopped at 2 mechanics on the way home. Each told me I would have to take the car to the dealer. I was able to get the car to the dealer and was then told that the radiator and the transmission needed to be fixed as there was a mix of the radiator and transmission fluid due to a leak and it would cost $5050. I was totally shocked! I had not any other major problems and the vehicle was checked regularly. I specifically asked the asm guy, who checked in my vehicle and told me the specifics of what was going on after the technician looked at it, was this a common occurrence and his response was, "it happens but better than buying a new car." It just didn't make sense. I then had my vehicle towed to a transmission repair shop because it would not shift into first gear. This is when I was told of the radiator leaks with subsequent transmission failure. The mechanic said he has had numerous Nissan with transmission failures and even finding a used or rebuilt Nissan is extremely difficult to find now. I am just extremely blessed that I did not cause an accident by either ramming into another car or the car just stopping on the middle of the interstate during rush-hour traffic. If I Nissan could have notified owners by mail or during a service check, I could have had the defect fixed before this happened. Please reimburse owners for this cars defect.

- Lithis Springs, GA, USA

problem #60

Jul 292013

Xterra 6-cyl

  • 104,025 miles


I was driving down the highway with my family in the car. The car was traveling at 65mph and suddenly started to jerk back and forth and swerve side to side. Then it suddenly slowed down and we were almost hit from behind. Then vehicle continued to do this until I was able to get the vehicle off the highway and on the side of the road. Im told that the radiator had catastrophically failed inside and sent transmission fluid into the radiator causing the transmission to fail. This is extremely dangerous and is my sons vehicle that he drives daily or at least used to.

- Corning, NY, USA

problem #59

Jul 082013

Xterra 6-cyl

  • 105,000 miles
Transmission began slipping causing the vehicle to lose power at freeway speeds, usually 60-70 mph. Inspection revealed a known problem reported for Xterras, pathfinders and frontiers, 2005-2010; radiator leaked coolant into the transmission causing it to fail. This resulted in a $6,000 repair with no coverage from Nissan.

- Oakland, CA, USA

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problem #58

Jun 052013


  • 112,712 miles
Vibration from transmission.

- Naperville, IL, USA

problem #57

Jun 262013

Xterra 6-cyl

  • 91,736 miles


My vehicle at time of purchase had 91,736 miles. As I was driving it home it would not allow me to accelerate after 60mph and the rpms reach over 4500. I was in the last lane when traffic started to clear. I could not accelerate and go at the speed of traffic. I had to put my emergency lights on and get over to the last lane. This is a recurring problem when I drive the vehicle. At times when I try to accelerate the vehicle reaches high rpms and it lunges forward until it settles in. I took it to two different mechanics and they both told me it was the transmission slipping and the radiator leaked water and that is what made the transmission start slipping. I don"?T want to drive the vehicle with my children because I was scared that I will be driving 65mph and one of a sudden loss of speed and be in an accident because I can?"T accelerate. The mechanics gave me a quote F $2400 for a used transmission and $3900 to rebuild the transmission and an additional $250-300 to replace the radiator. I am a single parent with two children and I cannot afford to repair the vehicle. I am not driving the vehicle in fear that I might damage it more. I should not have to repair it at my cost, this is a manufacturer defect. I am asking for there to be an investigation and a recall due to all the similar complaints. I should not have denied the right to drive my vehicle and use another vehicle because there has not been any recalls to fix the situation. The vehicle transmission and radiator should be fixed by Nissan at their expense.

- Bloomington, CA, USA

problem #56

Jul 012013


  • miles
2006 Nissan Xterra. Consumer writes in regards to transmission problems. The consumer stated radiator coolant contaminated the transmission fluid, and now the transmission needs to be replaced.

- Washington, DC, USA

problem #55

Jun 232013

Xterra 6-cyl

  • 119,000 miles
My 2006 Nissan Xterra w/ 119,000 miles experienced transmission failure caused by a failure of the radiator. I understand this is an ongoing investigation and would like to have notice of where the investigation stands at this time. [xxx] information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Centerville, OH, USA

problem #54

Feb 172012

Xterra 6-cyl

  • 61,000 miles
About 61K miles the transmission felt like it was dragging while I was traveling at highway speed. When I got home I took it to the shop. The local shop dropped the pan and said the fluid was ok. The dragging didn't come back after a fluid change. However, later on, at highway I occasionally felt a vibration that stopped when I took my foot off the gas. I later got notice of an extended radiator warranty to 80K miles, but it didn't say anything about a transmission problem. The antifreeze never looked low when I checked the radiator, there was nothing in the driveway, so I put the sticker from the mail from Nissan on the manual and put it back in the glove compartment. On Saturday 6/8/2013 service engine light came on. At that time the car seemed to "drag". it seemed to need to rev at higher RPM than usual to get going. At one point in stop and go traffic it wouldn't move forward for a minute, and I hit almost 4000 RPM before it moved forward, very sluggishly. I took it to the shop the next day, they told me to see a transmission shop, since a code "1754" came up, indicating a defective control unit within the transmission. The transmission shop told me I needed a radiator, control unit, since the defective radiator had contaminated the transmission with antifreeze.

- Fanwood, NJ, USA

problem #53

Jun 032013

Xterra 6-cyl

  • 115,000 miles


Vehicle shudder like rolling over rumble strip. Problem is related to manufacture defect with radiator.

- Suisun City, CA, USA

problem #52

Mar 262013


  • miles
In December 2012 the coolant in my radiator bagan leaknig into my transmission, which I had fixed in April 2013. Now in June 2013 all the coolant and transmission frluid has leaked out and leaving me with no car.

- Summerfield, NC, USA

problem #51

Jun 112013

Xterra 6-cyl

  • 140,000 miles
We have recently began to notice the heat - this past winter did not want to blow warm/hot air unless we were stopped in trying to diagnose the problem, we found red/foaming transmission fluid in our radiator-what a surprise after draining and flushing the radiator system and the fact we did not need the heater any further thought we maybe just had a fluke thing happen. Now in driving our Xterra it has all of a sudden developed a transmission problem that endangers anyone who drives it. It starts our running smooth and then out of no where has no movement and then in an instant will lunge. We have been on the interstate and had this scenario happen in traffic - talk about scary when another vehicle all of sudden is in your back window and now on your has caused us to be fearful we were going to be the cause of a major accident more than once. We have a 6 year old that is with us all the time and I can tell you that we are afraid to put him in this vehicle and go anywhere. We are a two income family living from paycheck to paycheck and do not know where or how we are going to get the money for repairs. Nissan denies there is a problem but rest assured, if we are in a wreck because of this issue there will be a lawsuit.

- Old Hickory, TN, USA

problem #50

May 292013

Xterra 6-cyl

  • 9,000,000 miles
My transmission was leaking into the radiator. I need a new transmission and radiator, over $4000.

- Brooklyn, NY, USA

problem #49

May 222013

Xterra 6-cyl

  • 124,234 miles
Transmission failed due to well known issue with 2005-2010 Nissan SUV/truck transmissions. Coolant leaked into transmission fluid through coolant line causing catastrophic failure. Dealer quoted $7000 to replace transmission.

- Nescopeck, PA, USA

problem #48

May 012013

Xterra 6-cyl

  • 110,000 miles
Like countless other owners of Nissan Xterras, my radiator cracked and leaked into my transmission destroying it. My 2006 Xterra is just outside of the extended warranty. Nissan is not willing to offer any assistance other than an apology. Luckily when mine failed I was not on the interstate.

- Avondale Estates, GA, USA

problem #47

Apr 152013

Xterra 6-cyl

  • 89,000 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Nissan Xterra. The contact stated that the vehicle jolted intermittently. The vehicle was taken to dealer for diagnostic testing, who stated that there was contamination in the transmission and radiator. The transmission and radiator would both need to be replaced. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure, but offered no further assistance. The approximate failure and current mileage was 89,000....updated 07-10-13 updated 07/11/2013

- Rio Linda, CA, USA

problem #46

Apr 052013


  • miles
Cpsc: I1340159A. Nissan Xterra. Consumer stated the problem with this vehicle, is radiator fluid leaking into the transmission.

- Andover, MN, USA

problem #45

Apr 182013

Xterra 6-cyl

  • 99,000 miles
Xterra began to feel sluggish and would not change gears appropriately (it is an automatic), after driving a couple of miles. Returned home to check fluids and found that the transmission fluid did not look 'right'. car was towed to a local Nissan dealer/service department and was told that there was cross contamination of radiator fluid with automatic transmission fluid and the cause was that the radiator had failed. Correction required is that the radiator and automatic transmission assembly has to be replaced at a total cost of $8438.43. I was told that Nissan would cover 70% of the cost of the repair, however required that I pay $3000 dollars up front before they would even order the parts. Once I gave them the $3000 by credit card because a check was accepted, I was told it will take three weeks for the parts to arrive and then another two days for the installation. In addition, my extended warranty will not cover the repairs because the radiator is not a covered part according to the warranty. The fine print states that if a non-covered part causes a covered part to be damaged then they do not cover the covered part.

- Anchorage, AK, USA

problem #44

Apr 152013

Xterra 6-cyl

  • 82,000 miles
This 2006 Nissan Xterra problem has caused problems with stability of the vehicle, lurches in acceleration, near-stalls, and uncertainty about reliability of vehicle in taking trips. The problems continues to get worse and we have determined that it is caused by engine coolant leaking into the transmission and vice versa. There is very visible evidence of the coolant being in the transmission and transmission fluid in the radiator. I have checked both of these and there is no mistaking it. This problem has caused me to not be able to take two trips because of being afraid of the transmission completely failing and leaving me and my family stranded in a remote area during the trip, not to mention my everyday driving that is required.

- Bentonville, AR, USA

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