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:
1 / 0
Average Mileage:
89,186 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 steering problems

steering problem

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2006 Nissan Xterra Owner Comments

problem #20

Jan 132010

Xterra 6-cyl

  • 247,151 miles


The gas gauge has been an issue not reading properly and in fact the gauge may also show the steady amber light indicating there is no gas in the tank, when it is a full tank of gas. The steering column was found metal shavings from the Nissan dealer. I had complained about the shaft having trouble. I was informed that it was a plastic pin that broke and there will be no effect on the steering. So I had brought it back after 4 years of dealing with loose steering wheel. Invoice 284857 from the valley hi Nissan tag [xxx] was repaired 03 April 2015. I feel this should have been a recall since I found there are many complaints from midas mechanic. Information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Victorville, CA, USA

problem #19

Feb 102015

Xterra 6-cyl

  • 110,000 miles
The power steering fluid entered into the transmission causing a sudden loss of power of vehicle. Nissan recognized this a problem.

- Ogden, UT, USA

problem #18

Mar 132014

Xterra 6-cyl

  • 110,000 miles
I purchased this vehicle used and found out that the fuel gauge does not work. Even after completely filling the fuel tank up the gauge shows "E", empty. It will, on occasion, show 1/4 tank when the fuel level is low. Due to this my vehicle has run out of gas on several occasions while driving at various speeds in various locations and often I have my child in the car with me. I have had to be pushed out of traffic on busy streets due to the vehicle being out of gas and me not being able to know I am running low on gas. It is very scary and quite dangerous. I have spoken with Nissan on several occasions, as there are recalls on this year vehicle for this same exact issue, but they state to me that my vehicle does not fall into the recall. I am told that the recall is for the same year vehicle but not all models. I can not afford to pay to have the vehicle fixed and am stuck with the issue. I am very unhappy with both the seller of the vehicle and the Nissan corporation.

- Abilene, TX, USA

problem #17

Mar 142013


  • 150,000 miles


Started over a year ago that while driving the motor would just stop running, would have to coast to the side if the road without power steering or brakes. I took it into the shop and they couldn't find out the problem. Now that my transmission is starting to shake and make noise, I took it to the dealer. They told me that my radiator is making into the transmission and that makes the motor quit and loss of power. I am informed that I need a new radiator and transmission. Looking online I see that there are a lot of people with this sane safety issue and that there is no recall. I think that there should be a recall because it's safety alone! I almost hit a car and a pedestrian while trying to steer off the road and stop. Please help with a recall!! [xxx] information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Menan, ID, USA

problem #16

Aug 052013


  • 170,000 miles
Steering wheel wiggles in every direction. Becoming looser everyday. Have read other complaints about this and seems to be a faulty steering bearing.

- West Topsham, VT, USA

problem #15

Aug 102011

Xterra 6-cyl

  • 163,678 miles
Steering wheel bearings went out and during a right turn the steering column froze up temporarily. Hit the curb at low speed. Took car in to mechanic and replaced steering column. Found out within the last 60 days 02-05 Nissan Xterra's have a steering column recall for defective bearings. Called Nissan and they said it was not covered under the recall so they would do nothing, "never had an incident report in the us about this. Would like to register an incident report. I am out $718.68 and could have had a serious accident.

- Cotopaxi, CO, USA

problem #14

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 #13

Apr 192012


  • 95,000 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Nissan Xterra. The contact was driving 20 mph when the steering wheel began wobbling approximately one inch. The vehicle was taken to the dealer who inspected the vehicle and found a defective bearing in the upper steering column assembly. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was notified who advised that the vehicle was outside of warranty and they could provide no assistance. The failure mileage was 95,000.

- South Easton, MA, USA

problem #12

Nov 162011

Xterra 6-cyl

  • 70,000 miles
The problem with my vehicle is as follows. The upper steering column's bearing has deteriorated so bad the amount of play in the steering is about an inch in every direction. The cost of this repair as per the my local Nissan dealer is roughly $1000. I don't see how this can be considered normal wear in tear in a vehicles life span. I find this to be a serious and very dangerous flaw in the design of your vehicle and should be rectified by some sort of recall. As you can see in the boards it is a common occurrence with the Nissan Xterra and other similar models. I await your response.

- Miami, FL, USA

problem #11

Oct 032011

Xterra 6-cyl

  • 54,500 miles
My entire steering wheel shifts vertically and laterally. I am losing control of my steering and experiencing frequent loss of the power steering especially at low speeds. I have investigated online and found out that it was a ball bearing in the steering column assembly. This apparently has been a frequent problem for many other owners. I have contacted Nissan because it is a problem with defective parts and they are giving me the usual run around. I could understand if the problem was due to my negligence but this is clearly a matter that is due to manufacture defect. In fact they asked me to get an estimate from my local dealership, which I did but because they had to open up the steering column, they have since exacerbated the problem.

- Lihue, HI, USA

problem #10

Mar 202006

Xterra 6-cyl

  • 60,000 miles


The contact owns a 2006 Nissan Xterra. The contact stated that the steering wheel was extremely loose. The vehicle was taken to the dealer, but the dealer advised that they could not locate a failure with the steering. The contact took the vehicle to a mechanic to get a front end alignment but was advised that the steering was too loose to have an alignment performed. The failure mileage was unknown and the current mileage was 146,000. Updated 12/28/11* updated 02/27/12

- New Orleans, LA, USA

problem #9

Feb 102011

Xterra 6-cyl

  • 78,409 miles
First symptoms: Occasionally when turning, steering becomes very tight, almost like loosing the power steering. Later symptoms: The steering wheel started to wobble, left-right, up-down, becoming more and more loose. The dealership technician said that the steering column shaft is broken and must be replaced. Parts replaced : 48811-ea26B column, and 48071-ea30A - coupling. I have seen many reports on forums about this type of problem.

- Ajax, 00, USA

problem #8

Jan 302011

Xterra 6-cyl

  • 91,267 miles
Nissan Xterra 2006, both front cats have failed. Dealer said due to ethanol a common problem, cost around $2300. Found cats and a mechanic for $1200. After 3 weeks check engine light returned. I am now getting a P0643. Dealer passport Nissan quoted around $700 to fix plus another $350 for belt replacement. None of the other recalls am eligible for due to being out of warranty. Also had to replace front and rear U-joints within a year of each.

- Alexandria, VA, USA

problem #7

Jul 062010


  • 59,000 miles
The steering column bearing failed in a 2006 Xterra, causing binding in the steering wheel and causing the steering wheel to become wobbly. The service department at the local Nissan dealer recognized and identified the problem right away from my description, suggesting the problem is not rare.

- Portland, OR, USA

problem #6

Feb 142010


  • 53,000 miles
2006 Nissan Xterra: Steering column ("control unit") was defective causing shorts in break/turn lights, and most importantly, steering locking up in a turn, requiring me to fight to get the wheel to turn and avoid an accident. Mechanic indicated that the parts vendor said they get this a lot with Xterras!

- Fanwood , NJ, USA

problem #5

Jun 032009


  • 28,200 miles
Attention for Nissan Xterra 2006 & up I work in a mechanic shop in the last 6 months we had received 2 Nissan Xterra with the steering column broken, what happened is the bearings that makes the steering column turn broke and all the parts goes to the shaft (the steering wheel goes crazy) is very, very dangerous. I wrote to Nissan about the problem but they never answer me the part # is 48810-EA300 both vehicle were 28,000 miles & 80,000 miles--- you need to check this very carefully!!!!!

- Miami, FL, USA

problem #4

Aug 012009


  • 55,000 miles
When pulling out into traffic my steering became tight. Almost causing me to go into the other lane. Once you drove for a few mins. The steering would get better. Then without warning the steering wheel became very loose. I could move it up and down. Took to dealer to find that my steering column was broken! 06 with 55,000 miles on it should not have a steering column to break. I had extended warranty but not covered. I call many dealerships and was told they have replaced many steering columns. Someone is going to get hurt. It was a scary day for me when you pull out and expect the steering to work.

- Fort Benning, GA, USA

problem #3

Sep 182008


  • 39,500 miles
Bearings in steering column bad as per Nissan dealership service department. The steering started to stiffen up when I drive. Most of the time it is fine and then when I turn a corner, it tightens up and will stay tight for a while and then will loosen up.

- Omaha, NE, USA

problem #2

Jul 062007

Xterra 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 31,000 miles
This is in regards to a 2006 Nissan Xterra. The vehicle had a catastrophic failure of the power steering system which resulted in the truck veering off a bridge. There were no obvious issued with the vehicle leading up to the event. The truck had just received its 30,000 mile service and was in great mechanical condition. After leaving our driveway and less than a mile from our house, my wife came to a stop at a small bridge then made a left turn across the bride. While halfway across the bridge, she heard a loud "bang" and then the truck completely lost control of the steering. The truck veered to the right and into the stone wall of the bridge, broke through the wall and landed in a ditch. Thankfully she was not terribly hurt. Now despite the fact that the vehicle simply broke in some defective manner, neither the manufacturer or our insurance company is willing to research what went wrong. They just want to repair the vehicle and put it back on the road. But what if it is repaired with the same defective materials?

- Point Pleasant, PA, USA

problem #1

Nov 092005

Xterra 4WD 6-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 10 miles
I purchased my car(Xterra 2006 off road VIN [xxx] ) from darcars of indianola Inc., on November 9, 2005. On the same day (the car had only 10 miles) I noticed the steering had a problem. When I driven over 60 mph is hard to control the car(wiggles). I took the car to different Nissan dealer for repairs but the car still the same the car has over 13.000 miles now. Updated 07/12/2012 information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6)

- Burke, VA, USA

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