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:
2 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
91,206 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

problem #14

May 082012

Xterra 6-cyl

  • miles


2006 Nissan Xterra. Consumer writes in regards to vehicle brake system failure while driving and sudden acceleration. The consumer stated she was unable to stop the vehicle using the brake, and the vehicle accelerated at a high rate of speed. The consumer stated she was struggling for ways to stop the vehicle. She tried to stop the vehicle by using the emergency brake, but to no avail she was forced to try and maintain control of the vehicle while in the lane of other vehicle. The then placed the vehicle in neutral and it finally started to slow down.

- San Jose, CA, USA

problem #13

Oct 012014


  • 130,200 miles
The accelerator started not switching gears as I was merging onto the freeway. Then, the transmission gave out. The fluid from the transmission leaked into the radiator and both need to be replaced. It is estimated to cost $4,000 to get fixed.

- Moorpark, CA, USA

problem #12

Aug 302015


  • 94,522 miles
On Sunday, August 30, 2015, while driving from Maryland to Virginia, on a speed limit of 55, vehicle slowed down and transmission wont engaged while accelerating the gas pedal, RPM was going to the higher number/red zone and car will not move faster up to the noted speed limit. When we stop at the light, and the lights turn green, the vehicle will not move and make loud noise and RPM going higher to the red zone numbers. This caused traffic behind us back up because of speed too slow in a 55-mile per hour speed. I was afraid it could have caused an accident. This happened several times during a 200-mile travel from Maryland to Virginia. I read that there were several complaints about Nissan vehicles about radirator water leaks to the transmission and causing it to malfunction. According the price transmission experts, this is the same problem and the cost to repair will cost $4,400 I would like to have Nissan pay the repair cost.

- Norfolk , VA, USA

problem #11

Apr 012015


  • 150,000 miles


While driving and trying to enter a major highway at about 40 mph and trying to accelerate, I had to pull out to the shoulder because the truck wouldn't shift to a higher gear...I had to get out of the highway because the truck wasn't able to accelerate and remained on 1st shift struggling to get to 2nd and then 3rd....I got home and heard the engine or radiator make bubbling noise....after 3 or 4 hours I opened the radiator and saw all sorts of gunk like was still warm and it oozed out falling all over my driveway...I payed a mechanic $300 to change the radiator thinking it was the problem...only to find out it was much more and more money also....I looked for another mechanic and he said it would cost $4000 to fix everything... I've wasted more than $3000 trying to figure out what the problem is.. now the mechanic says that a new transmission module valve is many more trucks breaking down or complaints until this issue is resolved.... I was lucky that when I was on the highway no cars were coming full speed...because without being able to accelerate I would of caused an accident and gotten killed...I loved my truck and miss riding it...please look into this... thank you..

- Del Valle , TX, USA

problem #10

Apr 282015


  • 45,000 miles
These vehicles seem to have a safety flaw. When depressing the brake pedal the amount of travel is such that it is a common occurrence to depress the gas pedal at the same time causing the car to lurch forward. I have had two different Nissan dealers (henderson, Nevada and boise, Idaho) inspect my vehicle and was told in both cases there is nothing that can be done...its the way the automobile was manufactured. During my last dealer inspection in boise, Idaho the mechanic brought a new 2015 model into the garage and put the two cars side by side. The difference in brake pedal travel was approximately 1/8 of an inch, so the problem has evidently never been addressed by the manufacturer. Today, my vehicle lurched forward when braking because the gas pedal was depressed while braking. It is paramount that one's foot is centered on the brake pedal; if your foot is off to the right side just a little, the gas pedal will be depressed while braking causing an unsafe situation. I have had many very close calls because of this issue.

- New Meadows, ID, USA

problem #9

Jan 302015


  • 112,056 miles
Driving home from work my vehicle started to tremble and shudder at speeds above 30-40 mph. Eventually after much hesitation and loud engine revving I decided to pull over and turn the vehicle off. Turned it back on and got about a few hundred feet down the road when the same problem occurred. The transmission wasn't responsive with the engine causing me to cut someone off just to pull of the road safely. I have heard the common issue with Nissan's transmission/coolant contamination and decided to look further into the issue after getting towed home. $100 down the drain. Sure enough my coolant reservoir and radiator cap were smothered in a thick goop known as the infamous "smod". there is trans fluid mixed into my coolant and more than likely, coolant in my transmission. This is design flaw in Nissan. This problem should be resolved completely by Nissan with no fault to their dedicated customers. Warranties need to be extended past 100K because that's when the issue is occurring in most Xterra, pathfinder, and frontiers. I'll be damned if Nissan only partially cover my cost repair leaving the bulk to me. I am a student working a full time job trying to pay for their education bit by bit. This is not what others in similar situation need to deal with and neither do I. remember, Nissan is only successful and wealthy because of us, the consumer. Give back to those who helped you build a reputable auto manufacturer.

- Alexandria, VA, USA

problem #8

Jan 022014


  • 137,000 miles


My transmission began slipping all of a sudden and I lost all ability to accelerate despite my ability to rev the engine. Luckily I coasted into my local "kwik kar" at the end of the street. They looked at the car and informed me that they believe the radiator is leaking into the transmission and that both the transmission and radiator would need to be replaced to make the vehicle functional again. Had this occurred on the highway my life would have been in serious danger.

- Denton, TX, USA

problem #7

Nov 252013

Xterra 6-cyl

  • 94,673 miles
The vehicle would stall or rather the transmission would not shift mostly out forth to fifth, or even third to forth. The engine seems fine. Pull the transmission dipstick, the fluid is dark and smells burnt.

- Broken Bow, OK, USA

problem #6

Dec 022002


  • 98,000 miles
In Dec 2012 I had to take my 2006 Nissan Xterra to the garage, there I was told that my radiator had cracked in 3 places and that I had coolant in my transmission. I had to replace the radiator and have the transmission flushed several time. Then on April 10 I was driving home. While getting on the interstate my check engine light came on and my vehicle did not want to go (like it wasn't getting any gas). Took the Xterra back to the garage and was told that I needed to rebuild or replace my transmission. I feel that so many people have had problems with this that Nissan needs to do recalls and reimburse everyone that has already had this problem. If they were any kind of "good" company that is exactly what they would do! very disappointed!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

- Atkins, VA, USA

problem #5

Apr 012013


  • 125,000 miles
I stopped at a stop sign, when I accelerated it was like my vehicle was not getting any gas. I almost got hit due to the lack of power. I took my Xterra to the dealership where they informed me that my transmission fluid and coolant mixed due to a crack in the radiator. The radiator and transmission are ruined. I was advised that it will cost around $8000 to fix. At least I didn't have a wreck, although it was close.

- Leander, TX, USA

problem #4

Mar 012013

Xterra 6-cyl

  • 119,440 miles


The transmission fluid and engine coolant are mixing causing my transmission to lock in 1st gear.

- La Puente, CA, USA

problem #3

Dec 312012

Xterra 6-cyl

  • 118,000 miles
I was going aprox. 15 mph on a straight way off of a dirt road and started to slow down before approaching a stop sign a little way from it, applied the brake like normal, when I heard my engine sound like the accelerator was being romped on, and realized it was in fact speeding up rapidly. I then started thinking fast, put my other foot on the brake too and pulled up the emergency brake. I knew I couldn't make the turn at the stop sign onto a hwy. I woke up after being unconscious for around three hrs. Due to several injuries caused by the airbag that apparently inflated at the first large tree impact. Proceeding to hit several others before it came to a stop and alot of shaking around and fortunately I had my seat belt on or otherwise would have been ejected thru the windshield on the last impact for sure hitting the largest tree of all, stopping me from entering into a creek about 5 feet away, when I was taken to the site the next day I still didn't realize just what happened, and could only remember that sound of the engine revving so loud while I was trying to slow down seeing the stop sign a ways up ahead and then realizing the vehicle did not want to slow down and was trying to accelerate more as I then was holding both feet on the brake and had pulled the emergency brake and knowing I would not be able to make that turn without rolling and was no where to go but straight if I couldn't get it to stop, and at that time it was going way faster than I was originally going quite a way before the stop sign only maybe 15mph when I applied the brakes as usual but it failed like others I have researched have done. There should have been a recall on this a long time ago, but Nissan has lost their honesty and blew off their responsibilities over very, very many probable failures that should have major alerts and recalls for the safety of human lives.

- Dover, AR, USA

problem #2

Feb 172009


  • 42,000 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Nissan Xterra. While depressing the brake pedal to park the vehicle, it suddenly accelerated uncontrollably and crashed into a parked vehicle. There were no warning indicators illuminated on the instrument panel. The driver was not injured, but both vehicles sustained damages. The police was called to the scene and a report was filed. The vehicle was driven from the scene and taken to an independent mechanic for diagnostic testing. The technician was unable to duplicate the cause of the failure. The speed and VIN were unknown. The failure and current mileages were 42,000.

- Monkton, MD, USA

problem #1

Dec 062006

Xterra 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 11,000 miles
2006 Nissan Xterra lunges forward while applying the brakes. This has happened several times now. While coming to a stop at intersection and after applying the brakes the motor seems to speed up and the car moves forward a foot or more.

- Quincy, MA, USA

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