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Nissan Pathfinder Problems – Avoid The 2005 Model Year!

Nissan Pathfinder Problems

The Nissan Pathfinder is a sport utility vehicle both manufactured and produced by Nissan, a Japanese prominent car company, since 1986. First sharing the compact truck platform, the Pathfinder is now in its fourth generation that began in 2013. The first generation of Nissan Pathfinder ranged from 1986-1996, with the second from 1996-2004, the third from 2005-2012, and the fourth and current generation from 2013-present. 

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The class of the Nissan Pathfinder was first a compact SUV, then a mid-size SUV from 1995-2012, and finally a mid-size crossover SUV from 2012 to present. The layout is now a front engine four-wheel drive vehicle, and has been since 1985. It also comes in a front engine, front-wheel drive that has been produced since 2012. 

2005 Nissan Pathfinder problems


This year of the Nissan Pathfinder is by far the worst, with this model year earning the most overall complaints, and being ranked the worst year due to the high repair cost, the onset of the issues, the severity of the Nissan Pathfinder problems, and the frequent safety issues that have plagued this year. The most reported problem with this Pathfinder is the coolant leaking into the transmission.


The top categories of concern from users regarding the Nissan Pathfinder problems in 2005 deal with the transmission, fuel system, engine, body and paint, and the exhaust, while the NHTSA lodged the most complaints about the drivetrain, engine, fuel system, and transmission.

Transmission Nissan Pathfinder problems


The top customer concerns regarding the transmission problems in the Pathfinder include the coolant leaking into the transmission. The 2005-2007 Pathfinder has a widespread defect with this issue, causing an average transmission failure at around 90,000 miles, with the repair costs being very hefty at around $3,500. 


The other concerns besides the coolant leaking into the transmission delay with the transmission failing, the transmission shaking while driving, the whining sounds coming from the transmission, the valve assembly failure, and the transmission hose rupturing. The typical repair cost comes to around $3,910 for these transmission issues, with the most common solution being to replace the transmission and radiator at around 102,000 miles. 

Fuel System Nissan Pathfinder problems


The top concerns regarding the fuel system of the Pathfinder include the gas gauge reading incorrectly, the fuel filler door breaking, the fuel pump faili,  ,the fluid nozzle detaching from the vehicle, the fuel filler door flapping while driving, and the miles per gallon decreasing during use. To remedy the gas gauge, the typical repair cost comes out to around $530 to replace the fuel sender unit in the fuel tank at an average mileage of around 90,000 miles. 

Engine Nissan Pathfinder problems


The main engine concerns from Pathfinder owners include the timing chain problem, the engine stalling or shutting down while driving, the timing chain tensioner failing, the engine turning over but not starting, the service engine light remaining on during use, the timing belt breaking, the camshaft chain tensioner rattling, the engine cutting out at low speeds, the serpentine belt tensioner and pulley failing, the engine running rough, the head gasket failing, and the oil pressure being low. 


To fix the timing chain issue, the repair cost is very expensive, coming in at an average of around $2,240 to find the solution at around 120,000 miles for most users. Owners of the Pathfinder reports that these Nissan Pathfinder problems in the timing chain category deal with the timing chain needing to be replaced very early, the transmission leaked, the timing chain and water pump broke, and the radiator had issues. 

Body and Paint Nissan Pathfinder problems


Regarding the body and paint in the Nissan Pathfinder problems, the top concerns from owners focused on the paint peeling off, the paint chipping away, the rust forming on the rear hatch, the trim falling off, and water leaking into the vehicle. To fix the paint peeling off and chipping on the car, the typical repair cost comes to nearly $3,000 to fix this issue, with the problem occurring at an averageof  around 72,000 miles. 

Exhaust System Nissan Pathfinder problems


The last category that had the most complaints from owners in the Nissan Pathfinder produced in 2005 focused on the catalytic converter failing, the hose clamp missing on the heat shield, and the loud vibration sounds occurring from the exhaust. Since the catalytic converter is such an expensive part, the typical repair cost of this issue comes out to nearly $1,200 with the most common solution being to replace the catalytic converter

Drivetrain Nissan Pathfinder problems


The NHTSA lodged an extremely high number of complaints in the drivetrain category, focusing on the u-joint failure, front differential failure, powertrain, driveshaft, and the transfer case in the 4-wheel drive vehicles. The powertrain concerns caused 5 crashes, 4 fires, and occurred at around 106,000 miles, with owners stating that the engine revs and accelerates unintentionally, the radiator causes fluids sto mix, the coolant caused the transmission to fail, and the car gets stuck in first gear while driving. 

2006 Nissan Pathfinder problems


The top categories of concern regarding the Nissan Pathfinder problems include the transmission, engine, fuel system, and the body and paint category. The main transmission concerns focus on the coolant leaking into the transmission, the transmission slipping, the car stuck in fail safe mode, the car shuddering and vibrating, the car dying during use, and the transmission vibrating while in gear. To fix the coolant leaking into the transition, this is a hefty replacement price, with the typical repair cost coming out to over $4,000 on average, with the most common solution being to replace the entire transmission and radiator at around 110,000 miles. 

2007 Nissan Pathfinder problems


Regarding the following year of the Nissan Pathfinder problems, the issues still remained in the transmission system, with the widespread defect of the coolant leaking into the transmission still prevalent in this model year, causing transmission failure at an average of around 90,000 miles. 


The other category of concern from users in the 2007 model features the engine, with the complaints dealing with the timing chain breaking, the crankshaft breaking, the check engine light turning on during use, the engine turning over but unable to start, and a loud noise coming from the timing chain. To fix the timing chain, the typical repair cost comes to around $1,730 with the most common solution being to replace the timing belt at around 76,000 miles. 

2008 Nissan Pathfinder problems


Unlike the previous years, the transmission concerns about the coolant were fixed in this model year, with the 2008 Nissan Pathfinder problems being much less frequent and severe than the previous 3 model years. The top user concerns in 2008 dealt with the transmission minor issues, the engine, the interior accessories, and the AC and heater. 


The transmission issues were minor compared to before, with the car having fewer “radiator leaking into transmission” complaints. Unfortunately, the Nissan company extended the radiator warranty to include this model year, increasing the warranty to 8 years or 80,000 miles.


The main engine problems in this 2008 model year include premature timing chain wear, high pitched noises coming from the engine, the car dying while driving, and the car having a rough idle. The premature timing where can be remedied by paying nearly $1,300 to replace the timing chain shoes and the tensioner at around 105,000 miles. 


The last category with the highest Nissan Pathfinder problems featured the interior accessories, with owners citing the gas gauge did not read properly, the horn and steering wheel controls did not work, and the horn went off unintentionally during use. The gas gauge can be fixed by spending around $800 to replace the fuel gauge at around 93,000 miles. 

2009-2012 Nissan Pathfinder problems


The Nissan Pathfinder problems significantly declined in the following model years, with the 2009-2012 having very few complaints from both users and the NHTSA. Even with few complaints, the complaints themselves were minor, showing how Nissan remedied the prevalent transmission and engine concerns that plagued the 2005-2008 model years. 


The top concerns in the 2009 Nissan Pathfinder problems include the brakes, exterior accessories, and the body and paint, with owners citing that the brake pedal intermittently depressed all the way to the floor and the master cylinder stops working during use. 


The 2010 Nissan Pathfinder problems feature the brakes, engine, transmission, and the seat belt and air bags, with the NHTSA citing issues with the engine and the seatbelts. The seatbelt and airbag category has issues with the airbag light staying on during use and the airbag module being short. 


The brake concerns in the 2010 Pathfinder include the ABS engaging, the brakes failing, the brakes squealing during use, and the brakes will not release after the car comes to a complete stop. Lastly, the engine issues have owners citing that the engine stalls out while driving, the engine makes excessive noise, the motor mounts fail, and the timing chain makes noise. 


The 2011 Nissan Pathfinder problems were relatively minor, with the highest problem category focusing on the engine, with owners stating that the timing chain breaks, the car vibrates roughly at idle, and there is a loud tapping sound during startup. 

2013 Nissan Pathfinder problems


Although there were very few issues during the previous model years, the 2013 had some more major problems creeping back up again. The 2013 has a growing number of transmission complaints at a very low mileage – way sooner than any problems should be occurring. These issues were actually part of a lawsuit that claimed the transmission shook excessively while the driver was accelerating between 15 to 30 miles per hour. 


It comes as no surprise in this case that the main Nissan Pathfinder problems focus on the transmission, the interior accessories, and the engine. The transmission concerns focus on the transmission jerking, the transmission not engaging, the shifter getting stuck in park, the transmission slipping intermittently, and the car slipping out of park. 


Regarding the interior accessories, there are reports of the sun visor falling down, the inside door handle breaking, the seat material wearing out, the gear shifter locking up, the backup camera not working correctly, and the NavTraffic not showing the correct road conditions. 


Lastly, the Nissan Pathfinder problems with the engine focus on the acceleration being suspended, the engine stalling or shutting off while driving, the excessive oil consumption, hesitation during acceleration, shuddering while driving, sudden loss of power, and the belt tensioner breaking. 

2019 Nissan Pathfinder Problems & Reliability 


Although the Nisan Pathfinder had a few years of relatively high problems, especially regarding the transmission and engine, the car bounced back in the later years. The 2019 Nissan Pathfinder earned middle of the pack rankings across the board, earning #18 ranking in both the 2019 Affordable Midsize SUV and 2019 AFfordable SUV with 3 Rows category, along with earning a #20 spot in the Used SUVs with 3 Rows $25K to $30K category.


Along with these good rankings, the Car US News Scorecard gave the Nissan Pathfinder a 7.4 overall, which shows how some of the Nissan Pathfinder problems have been fixed. The critics’ rating came out to a 7.3, with the performance earning a 7.1, the interior coming to 6.87, the total cost of ownership being 8.6, the safety a whopping 9.2, and the JD Power reliability rating coming to 3 out of 5 stars. 

2020 Nissan Pathfinder Problems & Reliability 


Similar to the previous year, the Nissan Pathfinder problems were put to the side this year, with the 2020 model year earning average and good rankings across the board. Although not earning the best score in terms of the lackluster interior and the reliability rating of just 2.5 form JD Power, the 2020 earned a #19 ranking in both the Midsize SUV and the SUVs with 3 Rows category. 


The pros of this Pathfinder Include a powerful and agile V6 engine, a roomy and comfortable interior, and comfortable front seats for long rides. However, the Nissan Pathfinder problems for this model year include a firm and stiff ride, an outdated cabin styling and technical features, and a low reliability rating. 


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