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 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
214,015 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 4 of 4)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #18

May 142012


  • 154,000 miles


Purplish fluid in radiator, took to dealer, transmission line inside radiator had broken and coolant had mixed with transmission fliud. Paid $1300 to get new radiator, transmission fluid flush, radiator flush.

- West Topsham, VT, USA

problem #17

Feb 202012

Xterra 6-cyl

  • 53,000 miles
Secondary timing chain shoe failure. Known problem with multiple Nissan vehicles due to inferior quality product, as explained by service technician. Technician stated that multiple Nissan vehicles come in to the shop weekly with this issue. It occurs so often, the service technician had examples of the inferior and worn parts in the cabinet to show customers. Expensive and timely issue to fix. If left unfixed, will cause serious damage to engine.

- Colorado Springs, CO, USA

problem #16

Jan 192012


  • 86,500 miles
Coolant leaked from the radiator into the transmission and caused transmission failure.

- Fletcher , NC, USA

problem #15

Dec 022011

Xterra 6-cyl

  • 81,921 miles


I recently had my recalled ECM relay replaced after it failed, the very next day my service engine light came on. I found a P0430 code saying that the catalyst efficiency was below threshold on bank 2 (failed catalytic converter). I called the dealer to tell them what trouble code I had found and to see if the ECM failure was related. He said he would look into it and call me back. During that time, I did some research and found sites where people had discussed having the same issue. When the dealer called me back I told him what I had found, it was at this time, he told me that it was a common issue & that he would look into trying to get it covered under warranty even though my mileage was just over the 80,000 mile limit. When he called me back, he said that he was getting resistance from his end and that I should contact Nissan directly. I called Nissan, explained my issue, and then waited for them to get back to me with their decision. When they called they said that they would cover $300 of the $1300 cost to replace the catalytic converter. I said, only $300?? I feel that Nissan should be covering 100% because it was the failure of the ECM that caused the catalytic converter to fail. Nissan said, our engineers have not determined that the failure of the ECM caused the failure of the catalytic converter, but if at some point they do determine that, we will refund all of your repair costs. I know the cat failure was directly related to the ECM failure and feel Nissan should cover the entire cost of replacement. I called Nissan back today (12/22/11) to see if I could get them to discuss this issue further & was told that since I did not accept their offer of $300 that the issue had been closed and that I could do nothing more. Nissan will now cover none of the cost to replace the cat because I did not accept their $300 offer. This is wrong!!!

- Vista, CA, USA

problem #14

Oct 222011

Xterra 6-cyl

  • miles
I was driving thru a intersection and my Xterra lost the ability to go due to a faulty radiator assembly causing failure to the transmission the issue started at around 92,000 miles and Nissan will not do a thing to fix it saying I am out of the extended coverage! well this is a a huge safety issue had it been a night me and my wife could have not been seen and had a very serious accident!

- Birmingham , AL, USA

problem #13

Oct 052011

Xterra 6-cyl

  • 69,000 miles
My 2006 Nissan Xterra is showing symptoms of the timing chain wear that so many other Xterra owners have filed complaints about. I called Nissan with reference to their technical service bulletin #ntb09-128 that acknowledges there is a problem with the timing chain. They told me they couldn't find it in the system and I would have to take my car to the dealer and have it replaced (at cost to me). I do not know why this is not a recall - if the timing chain snaps it will cause catastrophic engine failure that could lead to significant bodily injury if the car was driving.

- Atlanta, GA, USA

problem #12

Nov 092011

Xterra 6-cyl

  • miles


At 64,765 miles, my timing chains need to be replaced, per my Nissan dealer. I was told when I purchased the vehicle, brand new, that this would never be an issue.

- Meridian, ID, USA

problem #11

Sep 292011

Xterra 6-cyl

  • 61,000 miles
Premature timing chain wear before and after 60,000 miles. Premature wear is caused by faulty design, specifically teflon coated guide-chain tensioner. Failure to the timing chain will result in engine failure and possible accident if operated on roadway. Nissan refuses to acknowledge problem and or recall. Prior service bulletin circulated by Nissan (ntb07-042A) and generated on 4/17/2009 verifies same problem with this make and model and several other Nissan years and models affected. Respectfully request investigation into this issue.

- Bethlehem , PA, USA

problem #10

Jul 092011

Xterra 6-cyl

  • 104,000 miles
Radiator is separated at top of radiator. Radiator can't support pressure when running at top temperatures.

- Lenoir City, TN, USA

problem #9

Dec 232010


  • 86,000 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Nissan Xterra. While driving approximately 55 mph, the contact stated that the vehicle shut off without warning. The dealer nor the manufacturer were notified. The vehicle was not repaired. The current and failure mileages were approximately 86,000.

- Willmington , NC, USA

problem #8

Sep 012010


  • 98,000 miles


A common problem with Nissan pathfinder/Xterra/frontiers equipped with automatic transmissions, is the radiator failing and leaking coolant into the transmission via a portion of the transmission system that passes through the radiator. This problem is most common with 2005 to 2008 model Nissan. The first sign of this failure is a slight vibration at 40-50 mph when the vehicle shifts from 4th to overdrive (5th) gear. At this point the damage, apparently, has been done. In worst case situations the vehicles can fall into "safe mode" causing the vehicle's operator to lose control due to undesired transmission operation. By visiting many Nissan owner forums and internet search engines, this is a wide spread problem for Nissan owners. It has been my personal experience that Nissan has made no offer of assistance for most customers with this problem. I feel that this problem is widespread and dangerous and is a design flaw by Nissan and/or its parts vendors and should be corrected at no cost to vehicle owners. Nissan should replace radiators on all models effected and should replace transmissions in any vehicles that have had this failure.

- Princeton, WV, USA

problem #7

Aug 102010

Xterra 6-cyl

  • 42,531 miles
2006 Nissan Xterra. Consumer states fuel gauge failed to work the consumer stated the failure occurred because of a faulty fuel level sender. Also, the serpentine belt was replaced. Recently, the consumer had to replace the timing chains on the vehicle. The replacement was required, because of the premature failure of the tensioners that held the timing chain in place. The consumer stated it was obvious, the premature failure of the adjusters were caused by wear and cracks on the parts. Updated 06/10/13

- Colorado Springs, CO, USA

problem #6

Feb 022010


  • 54,000 miles
I have a 2006 Xterra that stall out for no reason. It happens while driving at high or low speeds, or at stop lights. It doesn't happen every day and it may even go weeks without happening. Or it happens many times in one day or not at all other days. Very strange. Took it to dealer, they can't find the issue.

- Mary Esther, FL, USA

problem #5

Dec 222009


  • 83,000 miles
Heater in vehicle went out have spent $999.79 because parts melted now approx. 2 weeks after parts replaced smells as if something is burning and now dealer informs me I need a new blower that will cost an additional $414.63 and I have very little heat again. I foresee this as a possible fire hazard and Nissan needs to re-design this faulty equipment. I am talking with Nissan Consumer Affairs and service manager but they keep telling me I am out of warranty. Vehicle had 83,533 miles when took it to shop first time they also replaced the radiator because they said it was cracked.

- Fort Madison, IA, USA

problem #4

Oct 132008


  • 58,600 miles
I purchased this Xterra in may of 2006. In the past 8 weeks I have had to have my 06 Nissan Xterra towed to the dealer six times for the same issue of not starting. The first time I was told I was out of gas. Since then, I've been told the security module had gone bad, I had corrosion on the battery terminal causing it to go in to stolen mode, the fuel pump had gone bad (replaced twice), and the wiring harness to the fuel pump had a short in it (replaced twice). The dealer says they have not been able to replicate the problem and want to give me my car back without actually finding out the real issue. This is my family vehicle and I do not do any towing or off-road with it. Prior to these issues, my transmission went out at 11K miles and left me stranded on the side of an interstate for over 3 hours while I waited for a tow truck, and have had to have the fuel gauge sensor, catalytic converter, and tire pressure sensors replaced.

- Johns Island, SC, USA

problem #3

May 012008

Xterra 6-cyl

  • 12,000 miles
2006 Nissan Xterra off-road model. Vehicle had surged forward unexpectedly on a number of occasions (6) in the past while stopped or coming to a stop at intersections. Dealer had inspected the vehicle and could not find the source of the problem. This happened most recently in a parking lot resulting in a collision with a parked car. Nissan has contacted me and advised they cannot (or are not prepared) to do anything about this problem and that it has never been reported before, but I see the very same situation reported at the web site.

- Sault Ste Marie, 00, USA

problem #2

Mar 102007

Xterra 4WD

  • Automatic transmission
  • 9,460 miles
Vehicle gets 10 mpg, runs rough. Vehicle will hesitate then take off like you have floored gas pedal. Surged.safty issue as I almost lost control of vehicle. Dealer said nothing worng. 2006 Xterra or 4X4.

- Coos Bay, OR, USA

problem #1

May 042006

Xterra 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 900 miles
: the contact stated while driving 20 mph down a sloped driveway, the vehicle stalled. As a result, the brakes and power steering system failed. The dashboard lights illuminated while the vehicle was descending. The contact attempted to put the vehicle in park, but there was a grinding noise. The vehicle was shifted back to drive. The parking brake was engaged but there was no tension. The vehicle rolled to a stop. The dealership inspected the vehicle, but was unable to determine a problem.

- Kalama, WA, USA

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