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.


hardly worth mentioning
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
101,360 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 transmission problems

transmission problem

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2006 Nissan Xterra Owner Comments

problem #18

Nov 182014


  • 198,400 miles


The contact owns a 2006 Nissan Xterra. The contact stated that while driving at an unknown speed, a grinding noise emitted from the front end as the transmission overheated. The vehicle was taken to the dealer. The technician diagnosed that the radiator fluid penetrated the transmission causing the transmission to fail. The transmission was not replaced. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The failure mileage was 198,400.

- Belleville , IL, USA

problem #17

Aug 012014


  • 170,000 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Nissan Xterra. The contact stated that when depressing the accelerator pedal, the vehicle failed to accelerate. The failure occurred on multiple occasions. The vehicle was taken to an independent mechanic, who diagnosed that the transmission needed to be replaced. The vehicle was repaired. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 170,000.

- Novato, CA, USA

problem #16

May 022014


  • 118,000 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Nissan Xterra. The contact stated that while driving approximately 55 mph, the engine slipped out of gear and engaged from drive to neutral independently. The vehicle was taken to an independent mechanic, who indicated that the radiator and transmission needed to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the defect. The approximate failure mileage was 118,000. Kmj

- Rohnert Park, CA, USA

problem #15

Mar 052012

Xterra 6-cyl

  • 78,000 miles


We brought our Nissan 2006 Xterra in to the boardwalk auto center. Redwood city, ca - Nissan to have them check on what we thought was another transmission issue (Nissan replaced the transmission, at their expense over $8000, once and the fuel gauge twice plus a couple of other recall items). When we picked up the car they told us we needed a new timing chain for about $2000 (we have heard these are not normal items to be replaced and should last the lifetime of the car). We can't believe there is yet another major expensive problem part with this car! when does this car become a lemon and how many major items are going to need to be replaced" what is happening to Nissan? has the timing chain issue been investigated and how many other people are having this problem"

- Foster City, CA, USA

problem #14

Sep 012011


  • 131,000 miles
My 2006 Nissan Xterra (purchased new in Feb 2007) began occasional shuddering, as if driving over rumble strips, while driving at about 131,000 miles. If I let off the gas or accelerated, it would stop, but no constant trigger. This increased over a couple weeks so I decided to research online and found many users with the same issue. I took it to a mechanic and they couldn't get it to replicate. I left there and drove to trophy Nissan in mesquite and they wouldn't look at it for another 1.5 days and only after I paid them an $85 diagnostic fee (to look at something that is there fault!) I decided to be proactive and replace the radiator and hoses, hoping to catch it early enough. I took it to a mechanic 2 days later. They said the rumbling was from a torque converter lock-up and we could do a flush but that may not fix it. So, we flushed it with 12 qts new Nissan transmission oil. The problem seemed to stay the same over the next couple weeks and then the transmissions went out on my way home from work. So, now we get to replace the transmission. I called a transmission shop, (at this point I don't trust Nissan or anything they say - since they can't even admit fault on this!) and they said this transmission is an expensive transmission (with it's computer etc.) so just to rebuild it is going to run $2500. Nissan wants $4400+ just for a new part. This is ridiculous. This was very dangerous as mine completely went out when I was in the middle of an intersection. I am so disgusted at Nissan and their lack of morals / values. If they would just do the right thing and fix the issue that is their own fault, then I think everyone would feel completely different. They need to stand behind the product they sell. As of right now, I will never buy a Nissan again. Why is there not a defect investigation with as many people that are having these issues?

- Balch Springs, TX, USA

problem #13

Aug 192011

Xterra 6-cyl

  • 99,200 miles
I am the owner of a Nissan Xterra I purchased back in Feb 2006. I was happy to make my last finance payment in February. Last week while driving home from work my car's check engine light turned on then started to overheat. Later I found out my car was leaking a white substance which was difficult to get off my driveway. I was surprised since I regularly keep up with the maint and never had any problems in the past. I had my car towed to Nissan in to find out what was wrong. The dealer informed me that the car had a leak and the coolant and transmission fluid began to mix to create the white substance which ruined my transmission. After doing some research online, I was disappointed to find out this was a common issue with the Xterras and that Nissan made a design change to fix it in later Xterra models. Told me that I needed to replace my transmission, radiator, upper/lower radiator hose. Their initial estimate to fix my car was $8500. After I heard the number, I priced each of the parts out online for approx $1500. Provided a new estimate for $5,500. Because this was a known issue, I would have thought Nissan would have done the right thing to fix it as part of a recall. When a person buys a car there is an expectation the car will last more than 5 years. It is unacceptable the extended warranty once you exceed 85,000 miles is no longer valid. Because of the experience with the dealer and the quality of cars you provide, I will never purchase a Nissan again. In addition, I am planning to share my Nissan experience with online forums and friends about the quality of service Nissan does not provide or stand by their products. If you have any questions please feel free to contact me. Ex-Nissan owner - information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6)

- Pa, PA, USA

problem #12

Jun 132011

Xterra 6-cyl

  • 105,000 miles


I have a 2006 Nissan Xterra and driving my car it started driving like in neutral so I had my car towed and the shop told me there was a crack in the radiator hose that caused fluid to go into transmission and ruined it. I had my car towed to a Nissan dealer and they said yes they knew about this and had issued an extended warranty to 80,000 miles my car has 100,000 miles on it so it wouldn't be covered. I felt since they clearly had a design flaw in the radiator hose connection that could cause the transmission to give out and be dangerous it should have been a recall issue. It shouldn't matter how many miles you have on the car it was a defective design by Nissan and should have been corrected. All you have to do is search on the internet and you will find many many pages of complaints about this issue. I find it hard to believe that a car company could be aware of a design flaw that is more likely to occur than not but not stand behind the vehicle and take care of it regardless the miles. It is over $5,000 to fix and it is wrong for Nissan not to have recalled this. Why when it is repaired does the new radiator have a different hose connection?? because they know it was a defective design first time around. Just wrong, I will never buy another Nissan again.

- Bonney Lake, WA, USA

problem #11

Jul 142011

Xterra 6-cyl

  • 87,000 miles
My daughter (17 years old) was driving the 2006 Nissan Xterra and the transmission went inoperable and the vehicle would not move. No warning and no indication of failure. Nissan stated that the radiator leaked into the transmission and they would warranty it if it was under 80,000 miles. This vehicle has 87,000 miles and the dealer said that no warranty can be granted but they would be happy to take a $5000 charge to fix it.

- Littleton, CO, USA

problem #10

Jun 192011

Xterra 6-cyl

  • 95,000 miles
I purchased my vehicle brand new in 2007 and have had it regularly maintained since this time. I was driving down the highway at about 60 mph, when the vehicle began to shake violently. I was in fairly heavy traffic and had difficulty maintaining control of the vehicle as I struggled to pull it to the side of the road. I had it towed into my local dealership who informed me that the radiator had cracked and coolant had worked it's way into the transmission. I am being told that I need to replace the radiator and transmission which will cost me $5500 in parts and labor. In addition to this, transmissions for this vehicle are on backorder and I must wait even longer for the repairs. Of course, I have 95,000 miles on the vehicle and that means I am outside of the warranty coverage. My biggest complaint is that this problem is likely a manufacturer defect and seriously puts owners at risk of injury or even death. I wish Nissan would be more accommodating in reimbursing the repairs and warning owners about this problem in the future.

- Missoula, MT, USA

problem #9

May 122011

Xterra 6-cyl

  • 92,000 miles
My 2006 Nissan X-terra transmission and radiator failed radiator cooling lines for transmission failed and leaked into transmission causing complete failure of transmission.$4,000 to repair.

- Oklahoma City , OK, USA

problem #8

May 112011


  • 117,984 miles


I have a 2006 Nissan Xterra and noticed it was driving rough off and on. I took it into the dealership as there was a recall on the ECM relay and asked them to check the rough driving. I was called and advised that my radiator broke which caused fluid to leak into my transmission and would need to replace both. I was quoted $9200 which is unacceptable. I use my truck strictly for commuting, don't even use 4WD. The truck isn't even paid off yet. There is no recall on this, yet as I do research I have found that this is a common problem, yet Nissan is doing nothing about it. I called aamco and was advised it would cost $2800-3200 for them to fix and that they see this with Nissan way too frequently. My personal mechanic advised he can fix it for around that same price as well. I depend on this vehicle for getting to work and safely getting my children to school. What a let down for such an expensive purchase.

- Guerneville, CA, USA

problem #7

Apr 082011

Xterra 6-cyl

  • 93,000 miles
My 2006 Nissan Xterra started shaking violently while driving at 40mph all of a sudden, to the point I thought I hit something or was dragging a branch, I stop to find nothing and kept on driving, and the cart did it again, so scared of going any faster and loosing control. I took it to the dealership and they informed me that due to a design flaw cracked radiators are causing coolant to leak into the transmission and mix with the transmission fluid. Once the coolant (antifreeze) is in the transmission it kills the valves, seals and torque converter and eventually renders the entire transmission useless. It seems to be a common occurrence on '05-'06 Xterra. But I was never informed nor other Xterra owners. To correct this I have to replace the radiator & transmission at an outrageous price. Although Nissan hasn't conducted a recall or acknowledger there's a problem, they did extend the power train warranty from 60K to 80K. My vehicle has 94K miles, so I'm hoping my extended warranty covers it. This is very dangerous, imagine driving at 60mph and loosing control due to strong shaking. I just cant believe with the overwhelming amount of people complaining they haven't started a recall.

- Stillwater, PA, USA

problem #6

Nov 152010


  • 91,000 miles
My 2006 Nissan Xterra started shaking when driving at around 60mph. It would do this for 3-5 seconds as I sped up or slowed down. I was told by the Nissan dealership that there was a leak between my radiator and transmission. I was also told that both needed to be replaced. My vehicle is at 91,000 miles and even though I purchased the extended warranty to 100,000 miles, I was told it would not be cover unless I provided paperwork showing I flushed the radiator at 30,000 and 60,000 miles. I was able to provide the paperwork and they still have not agreed to cover it under the warranty.

- Acworth, GA, USA

problem #5

May 102010


  • 40,000 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Nissan Xterra. The contact stated that while on an incline facing upward and when the vehicle was in drive it will rolled backwards. The dealer informed the contact that it was a common feature on all their vehicles. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure mileage was 40,000.

- West End , NC, USA

problem #4

Sep 012010


  • 98,000 miles
A common problem with Nissan pathfinder/Xterra/frontiers equipped with automatic transmissions, is the radiator failing and leaking coolant into the transmission via a portion of the transmission system that passes through the radiator. This problem is most common with 2005 to 2008 model Nissan. The first sign of this failure is a slight vibration at 40-50 mph when the vehicle shifts from 4th to overdrive (5th) gear. At this point the damage, apparently, has been done. In worst case situations the vehicles can fall into "safe mode" causing the vehicle's operator to lose control due to undesired transmission operation. By visiting many Nissan owner forums and internet search engines, this is a wide spread problem for Nissan owners. It has been my personal experience that Nissan has made no offer of assistance for most customers with this problem. I feel that this problem is widespread and dangerous and is a design flaw by Nissan and/or its parts vendors and should be corrected at no cost to vehicle owners. Nissan should replace radiators on all models effected and should replace transmissions in any vehicles that have had this failure.

- Princeton, WV, USA

problem #3

Jun 072010


  • 140,000 miles
1: 2006 Nissan Xterra started having shifting problems and started leaking milky rainbow colored oil. 2: happens in first gear all the time now. Took it in to shop when it started. 3: repair shop said it needs a new transmission because radiator has leaked into the transmission. $7000. Got a quote for $5700 and will be taking it there tomorrow.

- Brentwood, CA, USA

problem #2

Jan 122010


  • 70,000 miles
I bought a new Nissan Xterra from sloane Nissan in 2006, after 70+ miles, the car vibrates at around 40mph while shifting automatic gear (I did not know why it was vibrating). Finally aft 80+ miles, I took it to the dealer to only find out that the radiator blew the transmission. That is a shame, I just finished paying for the car and now I have to spend more money to fix it. It seems to be a very common problem with Nissan Xterra, pathfinder & frontier. The radiator is junk and needs to be recalled.

- Yardley, PA, USA

problem #1

May 042006

Xterra 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 900 miles
: the contact stated while driving 20 mph down a sloped driveway, the vehicle stalled. As a result, the brakes and power steering system failed. The dashboard lights illuminated while the vehicle was descending. The contact attempted to put the vehicle in park, but there was a grinding noise. The vehicle was shifted back to drive. The parking brake was engaged but there was no tension. The vehicle rolled to a stop. The dealership inspected the vehicle, but was unable to determine a problem.

- Kalama, WA, USA

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