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.


hardly worth mentioning
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
107,355 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 engine problems

engine problem

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2006 Nissan Xterra Owner Comments (Page 2 of 4)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #59

Jan 202015


  • 131,500 miles


As I came up to stop at a red light, the Xterra began to shudder and the tachometer started rising and falling until I finally stopped, then the tachometer dropped below 500 RPM and the truck turned off. Restarted it fine, but it stalled again. I quickly figured out that although it is an automatic, I needed to drive it like a manual. So I put it in neutral, started it again, it did not stall, then I revved the engine to 2,000 RPM and put it into drive. Off I went, and it did not do it again that day. However, over the next month it became a growing problem, until it finally was occurring every single time I stopped unless I put it in neutral. I took it to the mechanic who spent 4 hours diagnosing it to be certain of the problem. Which they said was a failing torque convertor and plate. It failed due to coolant leaking into the transmission from a broken housing coming off of the radiator (apparently a very common problem for which Nissan refuses to take responsibility). Not hard to verify their findings due to the presence of pink milkshake looking liquid in the radiator. Final verdict, at best it needs a new torque convertor and plate, but with the amount of effort to install those and unknown further damage from the coolant leak, a new transmission was recommended.

- Powhatan, VA, USA

problem #58

Apr 232015

Xterra 6-cyl

  • 93,570 miles
Timing chains issues. Specifically timing chain guides and tensioners stopped functioning. Repair cost $985. Crankshaft position sensor stopped functioning. Repair cost $590.

- Reseda, CA, USA

problem #57

Nov 152014

Xterra 6-cyl

  • 130,000 miles
Radiator, which was recalled and I was never notified about, cracked leaking coolant into the transmission ultimately causing the transmission to fail.

- Newport News, VA, USA

problem #56

Apr 232015

Xterra 6-cyl

  • 94,000 miles


The car suddenly stalled without any warning. Total loss of ability regarding steering and braking was encountered. The ignition key lock switch functions become unresponsive following the stalling engine. Meaning that when the key was turned the engine would turn over but, the engine would not remain on.

- Reseda, CA, USA

problem #55

Mar 112015

Xterra 6-cyl

  • 101,000 miles
Driver was heading at approximately 45 mph, and engine died. Had towed to Nissan mechanic. The issue was diagnosed as a timing chain failure, which led to catastrophic/un-repairable engine failure. Needed complete engine replacement.

- Washington, DC, USA

problem #54

Nov 152014


  • 150,000 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Nissan Xterra. The contact stated that the fuel gauge was not giving a proper reading level and that the vehicle stalled from low fuel more than once. The contact was not included in NHTSA campaign id number: 10V075000 (fuel system, gasoline). The vehicle was included in NHTSA campaign id number: 10V517000 (engine and engine cooling) and was waiting for the part to become available and schedule the recall repair. The vehicle was not diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 150,000.

- Houston, TX, USA

problem #53

Mar 022015

Xterra 6-cyl

  • 78,000 miles


1. engine light on - remains on, need to reset - at 77000+ miles fuel gauge is off chart when full tank is filled up fuel gauge is unreliable, need to use the speedometer to gauge gas tank VIN# is not on the recall list under fuel tank recall campaign 10V075000 VIN# id for recall=engine only=campaign# 10V517000; total recall listed = 5 for 2006 Xterra models 2. tire pressure light is on continuously=TPMS = not on recall list/campaign, can this be added"? all tires are have correct recommended psi; yet light is on continuously, reset works only temporarily TPMS - as of Oct 2014; at 75000 miles need dealer to fix all recalls, can this be done?" plse advise asap. Bought the car used/pre-owned.... thank you for your attention & time.

- Santa Clara, CA, USA

problem #52

Mar 052013


  • 70,000 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Nissan Xterra. The contact stated that the service engine warning lamp illuminated. Also, the contact mentioned that the fuel gauge was not reading properly and was providing an incorrect which caused the vehicle to run out of fuel with no warning. The contact was not included in NHTSA campaign id number: 10V517000 (engine and engine cooling). The vehicle was taken to an authorized dealer for further inspection, diagnosis and repair. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 70,000.

- Pittsburgh, PA, USA

problem #51

Feb 142015

Xterra 6-cyl

  • 118,000 miles
When it turned cold Jan/Feb 2105 our daughter told us the heat was not working. But she knew we did not have the money to repair so we did not worry about it. We own a 2000 Chevy truck & the heat has not worked for years & we just live with we never thought about the radiator/coolant being the problem. Then something major happened-our daughter was driving home from auburn al to our home in opelika al & she called us saying the car would not go over 25-30 mph. We were out of town, it was 10 pm at night so we told her to keep driving and get home to a safe place (her life was more important than stopping on the side of the road--a young lady all by herself) she got home, parked it & when we returned home we took it to a local repair shop that we trust. He called us the next day & said I have devastating news. He told us about the service report put out on Nissan Xterras in regard to the major, well known to Nissan problem of when the coolant/radiator cracks because of a faulty when in manufacturing radiator is put in it is a known by Nissan bad one. It cracks & leaks into the transmission in which the coolant mixes with the transmission fluid & creates a toxic hell stew that destroys the transmission. He said your car is worth $5,000 but the cost to repair is $7,000. I called Nissan they told me I had to take it to a Nissan dealer for their diagnosis and the diagnosis is the same. My husband is very, very sick and we have huge medical, pharmacy, hospital bills and I have had breast cancer with chemo that has caused an autoimmune disorder (almost lost my left eye) and our 15 year-old daughter goes to children's hospital in birmingham al for rheumatoid arthritis. We thought we were buying a very dependable car for $14,000 only 3 1/2 years ago and now it is 4500 pounds of junk metal. If Nissan had told us about the problem, we could have been proactive.

- Opelika, AL, USA

problem #50

Jan 252015

Xterra 6-cyl

  • 121,772 miles
Defective radiator leaked engine coolant into automatic transmission fluid (atf), causing cross-contamination of fluids that will ruin the re5R05A transmission. The engine coolant water contamination can short-circuit the low current electronic computer located on the valve body. This transmission was used in Xterra; frontier; pathfinder and armada vehicles manufactured between 2005 and 2010. Fixing the radiator and replacing the contaminated fluid with fresh fluid does not alleviate the problem, as the transmission computer has been permanently damaged. The only way to fix a damaged transmission computer is to replace it with a new one, and they are only available from Nissan as part of a new valve body assembly. ( numerous consumer reports online show that the vehicle can suddenly lose power, or even lock up the driving wheels while driving the vehicle in traffic; therefore, this is a serious safety defect issue. Suburban transmissions of gaithersburg, md 20878 (ph. 301-362-4040 or 800-353-3477) reports that: "for most trucks and SUVS, fixing the radiator problem and replacing the transmission fluid might correct this problem. However, on the Nissan pathfinder and Xterra and other models that use the re5R05A transmission?(w)E also recommend (along with radiator & transmission replacement) bypassing the radiator with an external transmission cooler to prevent this from happening again as replacing the radiator issue is likely to happen again." [web source: Link shown above.]

- Austin, TX, USA

problem #49

Jan 082015

Xterra 6-cyl

  • 122,000 miles


Transmission going out due to a problem that many others seem to be having as well. See link below for more information regarding coolant leaking into the transmission.

- Arlington, TX, USA

problem #48

Dec 082014

Xterra 6-cyl

  • 149,000 miles
The initial incident was failed timing chain tensioner guides. As indicated earlier Nissan knowingly redesigned the parts since the originals were found to wear through, causing the timing chain to rub directly on the metal post of the tensioner and contact the housing cover. During the repair the Nissan service department confirmed the failed radiator coolant contamination addressed in ODI NHTSA action number: DP12004. The timing chain and guides were replaced; the radiator was replaced; coolant was flushed; transmission was drained, flushed, and filled. The service department also confirmed Nissan, N.a. would not offer any amount of repair assistance. Total cost was $2200. The day after the vehicle was repaired it suddenly decelerated from 55mph to 30mph and the RPM's increased to 4K+ while traveling on a multi lane dark country highway at 11pm. The section of highway did not have an emergency lane or shoulder. A vehicle was in the left lane and a semi-truck was quickly approaching from the rear in the right lane. Once crossing the bridge the vehicle was jerked to the shoulder, avoiding a rear collision from the approaching semi-truck. The vehicle was turned off and restarted. The RPM's returned to 1K, the transmission was in neutral, and the check engine was illuminated. The following day Nissan service confirmed it was a failing valve body as a result of the coolant contamination. The wholesale repair cost was quoted at $1400. Again, Nissan, N.a. would not address the failure. At this time the repair has not, and will not, be completed.

- Sanford, NC, USA

problem #47

Dec 272014


  • 189,000 miles
Engine coolant is leaking into transmission. I am experiencing the same exact situation as the current investigation that is happening over the last two years.

- Miami, FL, USA

problem #46

Sep 022014


  • 133,200 miles
Check engine light came on, took to mechanic for a check and found that we were leaking radiator coolant into the transmission fluid. Had to replace parts and flush transmission at a pricey cost.

- Lakeview, OR, USA

problem #45

Sep 152014

Xterra 6-cyl

  • 94,000 miles
Began hearing a whining noise from engine, increasing with RPM. Took to dealership, who indicated it was bad timing chain tensioner shoes/guides. Service advisor indicated this is a very common issue, and Nissan redesigned the parts since the originals were found to wear through, allowing the timing chain to rub directly on the metal post of the tensioner. The timing chain system should last for the life of the engine, not require a $1700 repair only about halfway through the engine life. This is also a very unsafe situation, since a timing chain failure could quickly destroy the engine, leaving the car without engine power out on the road. This should be a recall.

- Santa Clara, CA, USA

problem #44

Oct 072014

Xterra 6-cyl

  • 117,350 miles
Vehicle suddenly stopped changing gears while on a main road where speed limit is 55 mph. Turned onto a smaller country road, could not accelerate more than 20 mph, and slowly descended from there until finally coming to a complete stop. Cracked radiator caused coolant leak into transmission fluid causing many systems to fail. In turn, had to replace radiator and completely rebuild and flush transmission several times ($4400 expense). Had I been on a major highway or interstate when this happened, there would have been a much more serious out come.

- Madison Heights, VA, USA

problem #43

Sep 282014

Xterra 6-cyl

  • 171,000 miles
While driving 70 miles an hour on the highway my car suddenly shot up to 4000 RPM and wouldn't go faster than 30 miles an hour. After my car was towed to a local mechanic friend of mine's shop he told me the radiator had cracked, leaked coolant into the transmission, fried the transmission and torque control valve, all valves and seals, as well as both catalytic converters. The cost to fix would be $6000. Nissan needs to pay for this because of their factory defect!!!

- Jacksonville, FL, USA

problem #42

Aug 112014


  • 78,000 miles
Check engine light came on so I took it to an autozone to have the code read. PO463, fuel sending unit. Did some research, called Nissan corporate to inform them of the issue and see if I was eligible for extended warranty (wasn't covered). Nissan corporate informed me that I was eligible for ECM relay replacement at no cost at a dealership, so I took the car to a dealership that quoted me lowest on the fuel sensor repair. They asked if I had other issues and I told them that my engine sometimes sounded like an rc car. They offered to look into it, called this afternoon after completing work on sensor and ECM relay to inform me that my timing chains were shot and in need of immediate replacement. Did some more research and found this is a frequent issue in Nissan cars, decided to file a report.

- Seattle, WA, USA

problem #41

Jul 192014

Xterra 6-cyl

  • 131,000 miles
The radiator leaks coolant into the transmission. Consequently both the transmission and the radiator has to be replaced.

- Conyers, GA, USA

problem #40

Jul 172014


  • 133,000 miles
I was driving on a regular one way street, when my check engine light came on and smoke came from under the hood. By the way, this happened on my wedding day. Anyways, I had the car towed to a car shop to find out the radiator burst causing the coolant and transmission fluid to mix, my transmission is ruined and needs to be replaced, my radiator needs to be replaced, the fluids got into my water pump which also needs to be replaced. The complete cost for damages is $7500. Now I am out of a car and cant trade it in because it is not worth anything at this point. After reading all the complaints I see many others have faced this problem, there needs to be a recall on these faulty radiators in the 2006 Nissan Xterras.

- Brockton, MA, USA

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