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
Typical Repair Cost:
Average Mileage:
112,600 miles
Total Complaints:
159 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. replace radiator and transmission (62 reports)
  2. replace transmission (51 reports)
  3. not sure (30 reports)
  4. flushed trans and replaced radiator (8 reports)
  5. replace radiator and transmission fluid (3 reports)
  6. fixed it myself (2 reports)
2006 Nissan Xterra transmission problems

transmission problem

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2006 Nissan Xterra Owner Comments (Page 1 of 8)

problem #159

Jun 142019

Xterra V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 70,000 miles


6/20/2019 called Nissan directly and was told to bring the car to dealer because I do have 75,000 security plus extended warranty. 6/21/2019 my 2006 Nissan Xterra brought to service dealer that has only 70,000 mileage. 6/23/2019 Nissan service dealer in Fremont,Ca called and said that our car IS NOT COVERED and it will cost me $8,000 for repair and said that they needed to replace the radiator, transmission and coolant ?? .. Now, I have an unfixed car and needed to pay $190.00 for diagnostic fee.(wow!) I purchased a security plus extended warranty when I purchased our brand new car for our son. We kept the car in the garage, preparing the car, and save the car for our son that is turning 16YRS and we thought it’s a safe car for him until college. We saved the car and money for this car for our son, Now my son is ready for DMV but the car is NOT due to this problem.. we thought that this car is our reliable car.

2006 Nissan Xterra

Mileage: 70,000!!!!!!!

Problem: radiator leaked to Transmission


Please anyone help us out. Help please to reach out Nissan and fix the issue. Thank you very much!

- My Q., Union City, US

problem #158

Apr 262018

Xterra 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 117,000 miles

Initially, when the engine "service soon" light went on and the transmission started to slip a little, the thought was oh! the ATF must be low. But, checking the dip stick level it seemed fine. Anyway I bought a quart to have handy just in case. Days later the transmission locked up in forward (although reverse still worked which helped to get off the road), so I added the quart and it seemed fine for a few days. Within a week I added another quart. I consulted with several local mechanics who couldn't identify the problem. Finally, I traveled 60 miles to a certified shop where my Xterra is now, and they identified the problem completely. They are currently waiting for a replacement radiator, however this may only be the beginning. I read about this problem long before it hit me, so I became acutely aware of any coolant/transmission issues. This defect is not easy to detect in advance until it's too late. Hopefully I caught it in time to avoid extensive transmission work other than the radiator and thorough transmission flushing. The key symptoms in my view are: radiator coolant levels keep dropping; minor gear slippage; ATF levels remain ok, engine light goes on; leakage around the transmission/engine. As so many other owners, I too will never buy Nissan again.

- wbchadstar, Miramar, US

problem #157

Mar 152018

Xterra V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 159,537 miles

click to see larger images

coolant leaked into transmission

I loved my Xterra, and it was a really great car...until it wasn't. It's my daily driver and my K9 Search and Rescue vehicle. March 15 at 159537 miles was the beginning of the end. One minute it was fine and the next it suddenly overheated and made a loud sound under the hood on the passenger side, so I immediately pulled over. It had never broken down before and was so sudden.

Open the hood and there was pink goo exploded all over. Had it towed to a mechanic. We then found out about the Nissan issue with failure and mixing of coolant and transmission fluid. The mechanic replaced the radiator and coolant and flushed it. And they flushed the transmission. They thought it was caught soon enough that there wasn't damage to the transmission. We had debated on whether to fix it at all, but we thought we had managed to avoid needing a rebuilt transmission. It worked great and was nice to have it back.

On April 24 at 161194 miles the transmission slipped just before going through an intersection, and by the time I was on the other side of the intersection it was mostly just revving without forward motion. I pulled over. Frustrated completely, I tried to see if it would go into a parking lot. At that point all it did was rev and roll backwards. Forget it. Called for a tow truck. It now needs a rebuilt transmission.

We don't know if we will do that or not at this point. As a daily driver, it will be replaced because it just is not reliable as much as I really like it. We have some words for Nissan...

- Steph R., Baltimore, MD, US

problem #156

Apr 012016

Xterra X V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 109,000 miles


Too many issues with any Nissan I have purchased in the past. Radiator seal leaking into transmission, destroyed Transmission at 109K miles. Happened beyond the joke of an extended warranty. This is the 5th issue Nissan would not take accountability for. I am never purchasing another Nissan. I am a Toyota man now.


- Mike N., Herriman, UT, US

problem #155

Dec 302016


  • Automatic transmission
  • 138,000 miles

I bought this car from a co-worker/friend. Someone I can completely trust. This car got her through college. She was selling it to buy a new one because it did not have the technology that desired. Because I use a car to get to work, I didn't need anything other a/c, heat, and safety. This car appeared perfect. I took out a loan with my bank. I of course got full coverage insurance on it as well. My husband researched the car on Kelly blue book so we felt confident that we were getting the value. PLEASE tell me why there were no reports readily available on how this particular car is known for transmission issues? Any way BIG mistake buying this car. I am certain my friend wasn't aware that she was about to rip me off. The car didn't make it a year before the heat went out. I discovered that the radiator leaked into the transmission! I also discovered that it was common in this make and model. I got an estimate to fix it...$4900. Guess what I owe? $5400! I found out that Nissan had a law suit against them for this. Nope doesn't matter after 121000 miles and I bought it passed that!

I just do not understand how Nissan can still be in business. How do you make a car this bad? How after being sued didn't recall this car?

- Katrina R., Virginia Beach, US

problem #154

Jul 022017

Xterra Limited 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 108,000 miles

Took my Xterra to drive it out of the repair shop to find that the transmission had totally failed. Why is this happening to almost all the nissan xterras 2006 to 2010. Nissan should do something about it or this will be my last nissan car.

- Christian C., Upper Darby, US

problem #153

Jul 042017


  • Automatic transmission
  • 138,000 miles


Car would not start. No ignition. I charged the battery, just to be sure. Still nothing. I had it towed from my driveway to a mechanic. They estimated $5500 to fix. That's more than the value of the vehicle. Nissan said that I would need to tow to a dealership (17 miles) to have it examined, but that they would be unlikely to help.

- Ted H., Park City, UT, US

problem #152

Jun 162017

Xterra X V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 88,500 miles

In the Fall of 2016 I had the timing chain replaced at MY expense. The Nissan consumer affairs rep told me "sorry, you are beyond warranty" blah blah. The dealership that made the repairs did not address the grrrr noise and when questioned told me they had a master mechanic of 22 yrs that looked at it and said the car was repaired. I was told their repairs were warrantied for 12 mos. My car has less than 90k miles on it and I bought it new.

NOW July of 2017 I have a more serious more problem..the radiator apparently leaked fluid into the transmission enough that it caused the service engine soon light to come on..and today I spent money to have a real diagnostic run and was told it would cost $3500 to repair. I believe Nissan should reimburse me for the KNOWN defects. What is wrong with a company who cares more about the bottom line than the safety and loyalty of the people that own their vehicles?

I need help and advice. Do I need to join a class action lawsuit? Has one already been filed I can join? I am over NISSAN. Is there a path to the top at NISSAN? Perhaps the newly installed executive can help resolve these problems?????

- Bonnie B., Cumming, GA, US

problem #151

Jun 192017


  • Automatic transmission
  • 61,000 miles

So if Nissan knows about the problem why not offer the fix, a $300 bypass? You would think Nissan would DO THE RIGHT THING. It is a very inexpensive fix to a major problem that they have not taken responsibility for.

- David M., Norwalk, CA, US

problem #150

May 012017

Xterra 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 230,000 miles

My Nissan is in good shape. This problem just started and we parked it in the garage. I would like for the recall on this vehicle to fix my problem before it becomes a major problem. Please call me or send me the recall information please. We really need help getting this problem handled. Thanks Lenora Bell

- lenorabell, Mcintosh, US

problem #149

Apr 262017

Xterra S 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 110,612 miles


click to see larger images

coolant leaked into transmission coolant leaked into transmission

Radiator failed and allowed transmission fluid to to mix with coolant and circulate through the transmission, destroying both the radiator and transmission. Cost of repair is at least $6,000, dealer price is more like $7,000. This happened when my Xterra only had 110,970 miles and with no warning at all. This is total loss of the vehicle since it doesn't make any sense to repair at this price a vehicle with less resale value than the cost of the repair.

This problem is well known by Nissan but unfortunately not by me or I would have gotten rid of the vehicle before this happened. It is so common it has it's own acronym SMOD (Strawberry Milkshake of Death) referring to the color and texture of the transmission fluid when this happens.

There is an ongoing list of others with this exact problem at;

- Damon L., Cordova, TN, US

problem #148

Mar 302017

Xterra X 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 128,990 miles

I think Nissan dealer must tell their customer about why transmission fluid leak in radiator. How transmission leak to radiator, how the fluid leak and where. It not the only answer to repair or replace the radiator and transmission.

- Sai N., Portland, OR, US

problem #147

Nov 022016

Xterra SE

  • Automatic transmission
  • 130,000 miles

NEVER WILL I BUY A NISSAN AGAIN. it comes as no wonder as to why Nissan has terrible reviews amongst car companies. the Xterra had transmission issues and emissions issues like no other. AVOID ANY NISSAN.

- sigmon, Springhill, US

problem #146

Dec 082016

Xterra ES 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 91,913 miles

Following the failure and repair of my 2006 Nissan Xterra transmission, and radiator, due to a failure of the radiator that leaked into the transmission, a friend advised us they heard of an issue with Nissan's transmissions, dating back a number of years, that came to light just a few years back. I was never advised of this potential issue via Nissan, nor when I brought the vehicle into the local Nissan dealer did they ever mention it was a a systemic problem identified years earlier. When I found this web-site, as well as others, advising of the problem with 2005-2010 Nissan radiators failing at approximately 90,000 miles, and our failure occurring at 91,000+ miles, this should have been a recall/warranty repair whenever it occurred to the vehicle, it was a known defect! Over 10 years ago I received a notice of a head gasket issue on my Ford Windstar. When my head gaskets failed, the mileage allowance had just been exceeded. Following a few phone calls,a letter to Ford, and other customers of Ford complaining about their not covering a known defect to their vehicles, Ford extended the warranty, and re-imbursed me, fully, all of my repair costs of more than $2000.00. They did the right thing, and Nissan needs to do the same here where the defect was known, identified when it would occur, however, now basically denies they have any responsibility for it, or because it did not occurr within their previous warranty period, it is not their fault if it happens later! We took a lot of pride in maintaining this car for 10 years, and to have it fail for a known defect Nissan knew would fail at around the 90,000 mile mark, is disgraceful. These repair costs need to be re-imbursed.

- Richard C., Bridgewater, NJ, US

problem #145

Oct 172016

Xterra SE 4L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 118,000 miles

I have been dealing with this issue for a year and a half. I finally had to have my transmission replaced at a hefty cost to me. The issue is not the transmission, it is the radiator. I wondered why I keep losing fluid in my radiator, now I know where it is going. Total garbage that the manufacturer will not recall and replace it for us.

- Nicole G., Cypress, TX, US

problem #144

Oct 152016

Xterra SE 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 123,000 miles

This should be a recall, the whole world is well aware that Nissan is at fault for transmission failure, and yet Nissan is not held accountable... don't buy a Nissan!

- Matt G., Myrtle Creek, OR, US

problem #143

Sep 182016

Xterra S V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 91,000 miles

So irritating to see that this is a known problem with Nissan Xterra. Will NEVER buy another Nissan again!

- April C., Brownsboro, AL, US

problem #142

Aug 052016

Xterra LS

  • Automatic transmission
  • 87,000 miles

Car had been shuddering at 40-60 mph, when had dealership look at it, they said it would be $7500 to fix it but Nissan had a warranty to cover most of the cost and it would only be $3000. Sounds like I'm getting ripped off as had a transmission replaced on a Chrysler minivan and couple years ago and it was only $1800. So why so high? I probably would not have this car fixed but my son bought this vehicle 2 weeks before he passed away, so it is very special vehicle.

- Debra S., Holts Summit, MO, US

problem #141

Aug 022016


  • Automatic transmission
  • 100,247 miles

So now that I am aware that there is a HUGE issue with the 2006-2010 Nissan Xterra radiator leaking into transmission and ruining it at 90,000 - 100,000 miles and that NISSAN did NOTHING to forewarn people to change out radiator, I am disgusted. And why was the problem not corrected between 2006 to 2010? And when the 2011-2015 hit 90,000 miles will they have the same issue? I will NEVER buy from Nissan again, because of dishonesty and lack of corrective action! Plus, they wanted 5K to do the repairs. Are you kidding me? Luckily, I have a family mechanic that can complete the job for $1500!

- Lynn C., Jacksonville, FL, US

problem #140

Jul 072016

Xterra 3.2L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 95,111 miles

Took 2006 xterra to dealer, only to find that Nissan has known about this problem for six years. Quoted me $7600 to fix, including new transmission and radiator. Going up tomorrow to raise hell. Only has 95k miles and is paid for!

- Michael K., Tampa, FL, US

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