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

Find something helpful? Spread the word.
Get notified about new defects, investigations, recalls & lawsuits for the 2006 Nissan Xterra:

Unsubscribe any time. We don't sell/share your email.

2006 Nissan Xterra Owner Comments (Page 1 of 4)

problem #78

Apr 282015

Xterra 6-cyl

  • 159,650 miles


My transmission failed be cause of water entering through the cooling system account it is connected to radiator this has been a problem with this vehicle for some time.

- Blueridge, VA, USA

problem #77

Oct 232014

Xterra 6-cyl

  • 86,000 miles
Transmission, radiator problems. Car is a lemon.

- High Point , NC, USA

problem #76

Mar 312015


  • 49,783 miles
I was driving 15 mph on the local street and the slip sensor light and vehicle dynamic control sensor light came on, then the transmission started to make a grinding noise. That's it, finished at 49K miles doa. Vehicle was always garaged. Radiator cracked leaked coolant into transmission nice truck, sorry to have to let Nissan go. Truck was like new.

- Elmhurst, NY, USA

problem #75

Mar 042015

Xterra 4WD 6-cyl

  • 104,684 miles


The Xterra began overheating and driving in an unsafe manner at highway speeds. Diagnosis at a Nissan dealer was a failed cooler line allowed coolant in the radiator and that both the radiator and transmission would have to be replaced at a cost of $5800. There was no prior warning to the failure. The vehicle is just outside of an extended 10K warranty/$3000 copay Nissan offered as a result of a class action lawsuit for this issue.

- Phoeinx, AZ, USA

problem #74

Nov 032014

Xterra 6-cyl

  • 62,000 miles
Faulty radiator and transmission Nissan will not cover for damage, vehicle suddenly dies while driving, very much known problem.

- Conway, NH, USA

problem #73

Jan 152015


  • 115,000 miles
For a cracked radiator the coolant leak into the transmission destroying it. The cost of repair is around $ 6,000. The Nissan dealer to not want to assume that it is a manufacturer defect.

- Miami, FL, USA

problem #72

Dec 102014

Xterra 6-cyl

  • 110,000 miles


Transmission damage attributed to contamination by engine coolant. The source of the contamination is a cracked atf line that runs through an engine coolant chamber in the 2006 Xterra has had same issue.trans and radiator had to be replaced.

- Algonquin, IL, USA

problem #71

Jan 022015

Xterra 6-cyl

  • 82,000 miles
Upon turning a corner after coming to a complete stop at a stop sign in my neighborhood, I went to accelerate and match the speed of oncoming traffic. The gear failed to shift appropriately (transmission) and giving the car gas simply revved the engine. Luckily the approaching car responded well and slowed to avoid a rear collision while I eased off the pedal and then gently accelerated again to my local mechanic. Upon his examination of my 2006 Xterra, he determined that the transmission fluid and coolant were mixing and destroying both my radiator and transmission. A quick search on the internet revealed that this dangerous problem is common among Nissan owners! when I purchased the vehicle from smithtown Nissan in 2010 and subsequently, there was absolutely no notification or recall regarding this dangerous hazard. This is unacceptable and life-threatening. There settlement of a class action lawsuit is insufficient (a $2500 - $3K) co-pay to replace the transmission and potentially have the same defect again! my wife and kids rely on my car every day and I feel fortunate that I did not wait any longer to have the car examined, but I am extremely disturbed by Nissan's negligence.

- Kings Park, NY, USA

problem #70

Aug 212014


  • 98,500 miles
The radiator cooling water got into the transmission fluid. This caused strong vibration that we had to get off the road in the middle of a highway. The damage was required to replace the radiator and flush the transmission. It started other problems with the transmission safety switch that caused engine trouble alert. After few weeks the car stalled altogether and we now had to tow it to a garage. This is a problem that was reported before and I do not understand why Nissan does not fix the problem and repair the damaged units.

- Jacksonville, FL, USA

problem #69

Jul 012014

Xterra 6-cyl

  • miles
While driving the vehicle at 40-45 mph and 1200 rpms or 60 mph and 1500 rpms, a vibration as if running over rip bars on the side of a highway happened. At first, it was thought to be a universal; however, after replacing the part, the vibration continued but happened at all speeds above 40 mph regardless of the rpms. Research showed that there was a problem with the transmission coolant system cracking, causing coolant to leak into the transmission but no recall had been issued. A local dealership said they had no report of this type of problem. They suggested turning off the overdrive and if the problem stopped, the transmission needed to be flushed. This was the case, but before we could have the transmission flushed, it started having a roaring noise. When the transmission fluid was checked, it looked like a strawberry milkshake and so did the coolant in the radiator. Both have been flushed but apparently when the initial leak happened, it also allowed coolant to leak into the computer for the transmission. While driving the car, up a steep hill, the rpms grew but the speed decreased. Shifting down showed that the gear had been lost because the vehicle performed normally in the lower gear. Another dealership out of the area said they had several hundred Xterra's brought in for the same problem and that we would lose one gear at a time until we lost them all. This is a $3,500+ repair and if we lose gears in high traffic, we will be possibly rearended or stranded on a highway, which is not acceptable. It is now October and nothing has been resolved. A recall is needed before someone is in a serious accident!

- Keyser, WV, USA

problem #68

Aug 162014

Xterra 6-cyl

  • miles


2006 Nissan Xterra. Consumer writes in regards to transmission issues. The dealer inform the consumer the radiator and transmission needed to be replaced, because coolant was leaking into the transmission. The consumer also stated it felt as though the tires were slipping when taking off from a stop.

- Milwaukee, WI, USA

problem #67

Sep 242014

Xterra 4WD 6-cyl

  • 128,800 miles
Coolant from Nissan's defectively designed radiator leaked into my transmission. The transmission, valve body, computer, and radiator needed to be replaced at a total of $4,000. While driving my Xterra home up a steep grade it was having a problem shifting and its RPM was almost red lining so I stepped off the gas. The Xterra was at times bucking, shifting up and down rapidly making it very hard to drive it home. My vehicle couldn't go over 40mph and I had some people almost run into the back of me while limping it home. This is a major safety hazard and I pray no one has been severely injured or killed in an accident caused by this issue Nissan created. Shame on them!

- Anza, CA, USA

problem #66

Sep 032014

Xterra 6-cyl

  • 114,000 miles
This problem has been happening to my vehicle for awhile but I was unaware until last week. My truck was overheating and the antifreeze had a white substance in it. My mechanic told me it was mixed with transmission fluid. The radiator cracked and the trans cooler which is inside leaked. The two fluids mixed and has caused transmission problems. My radiator has to be replaced and the trans will be flushed several times. The extent of damage to the trans is undetermined at this time as it is still in the shop. I researched this problem and found it to be a very common problem with Nissan Xterras. The symptom's of others vehicles are exactly the same as mine. Nissan has had a very poor settlement in a class action suit but it is very poor. This shows that they are aware of the poor engineering design and/or parts. This problem is leaving people with several thousand dollars in repairs ($3800 and up) for a problem that Nissan is aware of. Even though you have maintained your vehicle routinely this problem will still occur due to Nissan poor design and parts. This problem should be covered under a recall and if an owner has fixed the problem they should be reimbursed for their expense to repair the problem.

- Naperville, IL, USA

problem #65

May 082014

Xterra 6-cyl

  • 95,000 miles
Engine cut off, rough idled, would not respond to acceleration. Attempted to re-start, rough idled, check engine light flickering, required towing. At repair shop, no problem, bad gas was the diagnosis. Repeated. Would not start. Required towing. Tow operator tried a few resets, oxygen sensors, nothing. Towed home. Next day, started fine.

- Greer, SC, USA

problem #64

May 292014

Xterra 6-cyl

  • 88,000 miles
5/29/14 check engine light came on, transmission slipping.diagnosed as radiator contaminated with transmission fluid, replaced radiator, drained coolant, flushed multiple times. 7/12/2014 on family vacation out of state engine light came on, transmission slipping, low transmission fluid.filled fluid by beach ready auto. 7/15/2014 check engine light again on interstate highway traveling at 60 mph total transmission failure. Rebuilt transmission put in out of state,8 days missed work, airline ticket home. My expenses for this defect in design by Nissan is $5900.the fact that there has not been a recall initiated by Nissan is completely unacceptable and dangerous. A failure on the company's part to stand behind their products wrong, but knowingly allowing their product to endanger people's lives is inexcusable.

- Stoneham, MA, USA

problem #63

Aug 012014

Xterra 6-cyl

  • 132,500 miles
When driving the car at 40mph/around 1000rpms the vehicle began vibrating at the back end. Upon acceleration, the vibration ceased. This behavior became consistent. A mechanic independent from Nissan found that the transmission and radiator must be replaced per his conversation with the local Nissan dealership. Also advising independent mechanic that the dealership admits to having a floor full of transmissions that need repair. I investigated the class action suit filed in 2010 and already settled, but had no knowledge of this prior as Nissan did not alert me to the persistent problem since 2005 I should expect my car to develop.

- Daniel Island, SC, USA

problem #62

Jun 062014

Xterra 6-cyl

  • 108,778 miles
Radiator fluid leaked into the transmission causing the transmission to fail and ruined the radiator. My Xterra had 106,000 miles on it at the time of the failure. The cost to replace the transmission and radiator was nearly $5,000. The cause of the failure is the same factory defect mentioned in previous complaints.

- Valley, NE, USA

problem #61

Aug 012012

Xterra 6-cyl

  • 104,000 miles
My car actually is 8 years old and has approx. 105,000 miles, hence, does not fall under the settlement of class action suit ordering Nissan to reimburse repairs. If I was under 100,000 mi, I would only have to pay a $3,000 deductible. Because I had passed the 100,000 mile before the failure happened, I'm no longer eligible for this extended warranty. As in my case 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 $5,000 dollars to fix in which I cannot afford. I replaced the radiator & had the transmission flushed twice (cost nearly $1K). This caused internal damage to transmission. I submitted a claim for out of pocket cost, never heard anything!! either way I would like to know if the problems are happening to vehicles until they go over 100K miles then why cap the assistance requirement??

- Pequea, PA, USA

problem #60

Aug 012013

Xterra 6-cyl

  • 902,000 miles
2006 Nissan Xterra: I replaced the radiator & had the transmission flushed last August(cost nearly $2K). A couple of weeks ago after going about 60 miles the vehicle was not engaging to accelerate. It was a one time occurrence. Today after about 20 miles it did not accelerate as I was attempting to merge onto the highway. I could not get it to go over 20 mph but was revving at 4rpm. Now the check engine light is on.

- Springfield, MA, USA

problem #59

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

Read the next 20 complaints »

Not what you are looking for?