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.


pretty bad
Typical Repair Cost:
Average Mileage:
103,950 miles
Total Complaints:
24 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. replace chain, guides & tensioners (23 reports)
  2. not sure (1 reports)
2006 Nissan Xterra engine problems

engine problem

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2006 Nissan Xterra Owner Comments (Page 1 of 2)

problem #24

Mar 012019

Xterra ES 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 67,000 miles


Engine in my 2006 Xterra has high- pitched whine at all RPM's. Two Nissan dealers indicated a timing chain problem with a cost to repair estimate over $3,000 . Engine has only 67,000 miles and I was told by my mechanic that this is much too early for this problem to occur. I have read several blogs stating that Nissan has refused to pay for this repair. Some owners had under 50,000 miles on their vehicles. There seems to be several active class action suits ongoing, but none filed in Connecticut where I live. I like this vehicle but I don't like the way Nissan is treating it's customers SHAME ON YOU, NISSAN.

- Robert S., Stratford, CT, US

problem #23

Jul 312018

Xterra S 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 133,400 miles

Learned that engine whine sound is the result of a known defect for Nissan with the timing chain and tension guides. Nissan did not disclose the problem although they knew of it, and modified the part in future vehicles to solve the problem. The problem is not noticeable until the vehicle is out of warranty. Unless I spend roughly $2000 on a repair, I risk serious damage to the engine and the risk of an accident on the highway.

- David D., Crawfordville, US

problem #22

Aug 212017

Xterra S 4.0L V6

  • Manual transmission
  • 164,600 miles

Hello.... I bought my 2006 Nissan Xterra (S) 6 speed manual 4.0L V6 December 5th, 2015 used, had 108,374.. It currently has 164,600...

on Monday, early morning, August 21, 2017 I was Heading to Airport at 0200 a.m. to pick up my friend who flew in from Australia, all of a sudden i heard this noise coming from front of engine.. Sounds like my fan is hitting the shroud....

pulled over and checked to see if it was, and wasn't... had to pick her up so i continued on and the noise stayed at the same constant level....

got her picked up and on the way back, it got louder and my X decided it would stop running... 75-80 mph and it turned off... well, you can guess what happened.. went for one hell of f*cking ride...

slammed into concrete barrier(s) multiple times, and came to rest in ditch....

had it towed to shop and they found out that my timing chain tensioner and guide were broke and caused the crash.....

So, Nissan Engineers and others from Nissan I want to thank you for building Timing Chain Tensioners and guides out of plastic you cheap worthless piece of sh*ts.... Just so you can make more profits and get richer... f*ck you Nissan.....

I bought a timing chain kit and replaced everything myself... replaced water pump, oil pump since i cracked my X open, might as well you're right there...

no noise at all coming from her now...

Oh, and i had to basically replace front end of my X too after crash...

she runs like a champ....

Nissan Engineers and profit holders, pay attention you worthless f*cks....

do not, i repeat, do not make any parts out of plastic that have to do with anything critical for engines... Timing chain tensioners and guides fall under that category you stupid morons....

f*cking idiots.. you will be sued for this too... mark my words...

My friend and I didn't get too seriously injured thank god...

- airborne275, Wahkon, US

problem #21

Jul 202016

Xterra SE V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 116,879 miles


I have been told by 3 shops that I need my timing chain replaced, it is going to cost me $1,800. When doing more research I see that this is a common issue on Nissan Xterra's..

- Alexa H., Auburn, WA, US

problem #20

Oct 142013

Xterra S Nissan Vq40 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 85,000 miles

The incorporation of plastic guides into the timing chain system vehicles equipped with Nissan's VQ40 engine poses a deep threat to drivers alike, whether it be used for family or recreational purposes. Defective timing chain tensioners and plastic guides were likewise prone to premature failure in an appalling attempt to increase Nissan's profit margin.

In proposing such a preposterous solution to keeping the primary and second timing chains in line, engineers of the VQ40 engine should take great shame in installing such a weak part in a vehicle built for wear and tear. The grinding of the timing chain against the compression piston produces an ear-piercing whine that masks an otherwise-perfect growl. Yet this issue is liable to evolve into more than simply a nuisance; should the primary or secondary timing chains cease, the lives of drivers (as well as their passengers) could potentially be at risk while traveling.

Moreover, it has been said that Nissan, in 2004, issued a Technical Service Bulletin with regards to this issue, thereby confirming their awareness prior to release of the vehicle. Should engine damage occur (be it to the timing chain or other critical parts), consumers receive a hefty invoice from local and dealership mechanics demanding thousands of dollars in exchange for a few new parts that are liable to face the same fate as the originals in 5-10 years' time.

The fact that Nissan has acknowledged this issue while assuming that unaware consumers would face it after their warranty expires simply displays the lengths that automotive corporations are willing to reach in order to profit. Nissan was willing to risk the lives, financial well being, and sanity of its consumers merely to increase their profit margin

- John K., Sicklerville, NJ, US

problem #19

May 012011

Xterra LX V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 50,000 miles

Here is the letter I sent Nissan...

Dear Sir/Madam:   As the original owners of a 2006 Nissan Xterra 4WD with 89,000 miles, we are writing you to ask for assistance in resolving an issue we have been dealing with for quite some time. Please know we are also a current owner of a Nissan Titan and are loyal to the Nissan brand.   In 2011 the original transmission with roughly 50,000 miles failed due to a faulty design associated with a cooler assembly. This transmission was replaced at no cost to us by Liberty Nissan located in Hanover, Pennsylvania.   After said transmission was replaced, we started to notice a constant whining that we thought was somehow attributed to the new transmission. We returned to Liberty Nissan to have them investigate the source of the noise and it was their determination that the noise was due to wore out timing belt sprockets. We explained to the dealership that this anomaly had not existed prior to the installation of the new transmission as it was and remains quite noticeable. However, this explanation seemed to fall upon deaf ears.

Subsequently Liberty Nissan informed us that if we would like to address this issue the costs would be roughly $1,200.00 dollars. This was something that we could not afford at the time and furthermore felt this was not something that would occur under normal wear and tear for a vehicle with only 50,000 miles. To this day we remain skeptical of this diagnosis. We are now left with a vehicle that lost its appeal due to this constant, aggressive whining instead of one that in the past drew positive attention from onlookers and passersby’s for its appearance.   We hope Nissan stands behind its product and repairs issue that occur prematurely at no cost. We thank you in advance for your time and consideration on this matter and look forward to your response.     Sincerely,

Scott & Diana Barnhart

- Diana B., Hanover, PA, US

problem #18

Apr 022017

Xterra SE 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 135,800 miles


Nissan knows about this and is not stepping up to fix it. Lawsuit in progress.

- Tony W., Hollister, CA, US

problem #17

Nov 032016

Xterra Off Road 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 130,000 miles

Noticed a whine when I start the vehicle and when I took it to the dealer for service, was told it was the timing chain making noise. It wasn't bad enough to say I needed to fix it right now, but would need to be done soon to the tune of about $1900. Now, I find out this is an ongoing issue that Nissan has failed to fix.

- Jason A., Indianapolis, IN, US

problem #16

Feb 112017

Xterra 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 185,776 miles

If nissan knows this is a problem with millions of their vehicles then it should have been a recall not just a service bulletin. I am working to get in on the class action lawsuit filed against nissan in the state of New York.

- marycold, Bemus Point, US

problem #15

Sep 012016

Xterra LS 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 72,000 miles

The tensioner belt snapped.. close to home..but now there is knowledge that the timing chain and guides need to be addressed.

- plover, Quincy, MA, US

problem #14

Sep 262016

Xterra SE 4L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 115,120 miles


I have seen that there has been a class action lawsuit certified for this exact issue in other states, but it does not include Idaho. Why the heck is that?? I have been to three different mechanics, one was clueless about what the problem was but gave me a printout, a PRINTOUT of issues that Nissan is aware of and timing chain was right there at the top of the list. The second one was super knowledgeable but wanted 500.00 more than the third who was the one that eventually fixed the problem. This is very frustrating because if I had even suspected this could be an issue before then I would either have reconsidered the purchase of the vehicle or squirreled away more money for repairs. Almost $2000 is super tough for most people to just be able to throw down, and I am one of those people!

- Maegan M., Idaho Falls, ID, US

problem #13

Dec 152015

Xterra V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 37,913 miles

The vehicle only had 37913 miles on it, it was driven to and from work about 3 miles away and on weekends. The dealership said it was the timing belt retainer mechanism that had to be replaced and it would cost $2030 to replace. I sold the Xterra and bought another vehicle. I was afraid if the took the vehicle apart it would never be the same. I still have the estimate from the dealer.

Update from Sep 8, 2016:

I live in Arizona, but four other states have fled class-action has been filed for New York, Florida, Maryland and New Jersey

- William M., Phoenix, AZ, US

problem #12

Feb 052015

Xterra Off Road 4.0L V6

  • Manual transmission
  • 122,970 miles

Timing chain replacement. Known issue on this engine, but no recalls. Was told that it was very rare for this to happen, but it seems to be a common problem.

- bcwest, Denver, CO, US

problem #11

Jan 042016

Xterra Offroad V6 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 45,000 miles

Low mileage (45000 miles) 2006 Xterra has high frequency whine from front of engine. I am told by 2 garages that it is the timing chain problem. I am told by Nissan dealer service rep to have it fixed as soon as possible. "If it goes, it could take out the engine, cost $1722 now to repair faulty timing chain issue." quoted about 1400 at an independent shop. Does this really need immediate attention? I can't hear the sound due to high frequency hearing loss, but my daughter can hear it.

Update from Mar 1, 2016: Asked Nissan to extend warranty due to low mileage. Nissan would not extend warranty because I had a lot of routine maintenance done at nearby garage - Oil Changes, all fluid changes. The Xterra never needed anything else. Nissan said since they could not review maintenance records at a Nissan facility, they could not extend warranty. Cost to fix is $1722.

- John M., Colorado Springs, US

problem #10

Dec 082015

Xterra V6 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 133,000 miles

The whole front of the engine has to be taken apart due to yet another manufacture defect that Nissan is REFUSING once again to cover. These are very costly mistakes that they've been making and they refuse to stand behind their products.

- DunEden C., Apache Junction, AZ, US

problem #9

Oct 152015

Xterra LX 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 145,000 miles

Tensioner guides shattered causing water pump failure leading on highway. Wife was driving heard loud noise coming from engine and upon inspection noticed extreme loss of radiator fluid. Was not aware of tensioner issues when vehicle purchased from dealer in 2008.

- Jim M., Katy, TX, US

problem #8

Feb 012015

Xterra SE

  • Automatic transmission
  • 135,000 miles

My car stopped running. Stalled many times on the freeway. Saw that a lawsuit was filed for this issue in 2013. Nissan wanted thousands of dollars to fix. Took it to a local mechanic and was fixed at 1/2 the cost.

- linjin, Acampo, CA, US

problem #7

May 052014

Xterra S 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 120,000 miles

The more research I'm doing, I'm finding out this is a common Nissan problem that should have been recalled a long time ago.... This is ridiculous. The plastic guides for the timing chain go bad and the noise is horrible.

- Karen T., Blawnox, PA, US

problem #6

May 152009

Xterra V66

  • Manual transmission
  • 55,000 miles


- heap, Avondale, AZ, US

problem #5

Dec 122014

Xterra ES 3.2L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 97,000 miles

Buzzing vibration right in the middle of the console as I start driving. Very annoying. I wonder if Nissan or Nissan dealers will ever own up

to their shortcomings.

- Marco A., Chula Vista, CA, US

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