Nissan Pathfinder Transmission Problems & Overview

The original 1985 Nissan Pathfinder was designed to compete with small off-roaders like the Jeep Cherokee, Toyota 4Runner, and Ford Bronco II. By the mid-90’s, nobody cared about straying from the beaten path, so the R50 Pathfinder got a little bigger and a little softer. The R51 Pathfinder returned to body-on-frame construction, which gave it considerable towing and off-road capability. <

Does something seem wrong with your Pathfinder? Let’s look at some of the most common Nissan Pathfinder transmission problems, and see what you can do to get your SUV back on the road.

Nissan Pathfinder 2012 Class Action Lawsuit Settlement

Back in October of 2012, Nissan agreed to settle a class-action lawsuit that alleged they knowingly sold vehicles with defective radiators. As a result, the transmission cooling passages inside the radiator would crack and leak antifreeze into the ATF as it flowed back to the gearbox. This chemical contamination then destroyed the 5-speed automatic transmission, forcing countless owners of the 2005-2010 Pathfinder to spend thousands on out-of-warranty transmission repairs.

Under the settlement agreement, Nissan agreed to reimburse owners for repairs they’ve already made. Plus, they will extend the warranty 8 years/80,000 miles with no customer co-pay. Between 8 years/80,000 miles and 9 years/90,000 miles, there would be a customer co-pay of $2,500. Between 9 years/90,000 miles and 10 years/100,000 miles, the co-pay would be $3,000.

2013 and 2014 Nissan Pathfinder Class Action Lawsuit

Nissan is facing yet another Pathfinder class action lawsuit. This one claims the CVT transmissions that were installed in the 2013 and 2014 Pathfinder was dangerous and defective. The suit alleges that the CVT is prone to “belt slips,” which could briefly prevent the truck from accelerating. This condition often occurs when accelerating from a full stop/lower speed, and could also involve a slight shake or shudder.

Nissan Pathfinder Recalls

No transmission-related recalls.

Nissan Pathfinder Technical Service Bulletins (TSB)

2013 Nissan Pathfinder – TSB NTB13-064


If a shudder (multiple bumps) is coming from the torque converter lock-up clutch engagement, it will happen when the vehicle speed is between 18 and 35 mph, the throttle position is about 10% open, and if more throttle is applied issue stops. No DTCs are stored. NOTE: If the shudder occurs at speeds below 18 mph or above 35 mph this does not apply.


Replace the torque converter with the updated design: part # 31100-3WX0D

2013 Nissan Pathfinder – TSB NTB13-071


CVT fluid leaking from the transmission to radiator cooler hose: at the connection of the hose to line fitting on the radiator. Or the hose became detached while driving.


If the leak is coming from the radiator, replace the radiator. If the cooler hose came off while driving, then the radiator and the transmission will need to be replaced.

2013 Nissan Pathfinder – TSB PC197


To prevent a CVT belt slip condition from occurring, Nissan conducted voluntary service campaign to reprogram the Transmission Control Unit (TCM) on certain specific 2013 Pathfinders.


In 2013, Nissan dealers were instructed to perform this TCM reprogram free of charge. Owners may contact Nissan customer service at 1-800-647-7261 (refer to campaign id: PC197).

How to Diagnose & Fix

  1. Check the OBD Codes
  2. Check the fluid level
  3. Test transmission pressure
  4. Drop the transmission pan
  5. Repair, replace or rebuild

What to Read Next

Related Forum Discussions

Over to You

Need Your Transmission Repaired? A good repair shop can be hard to find – especially on short notice. We’ll have the Cost Guide Certified shop in your area give you a call with a free estimate.

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

What Problem Does Your Pathfinder Have?

Let us know the year, mileage and problem you’re having as well as any trouble (OBD) codes you’ve found. If you’ve been given a quote or paid for a repair, we’d like to hear about that too!

Get a Diagnosis

Still not sure what the problem is? Click the green button and we’ll have the Cost Guide Certified shop in your area give you a call with a free estimate.

4 thoughts on “Nissan Pathfinder Transmission Problems & Overview

  1. I have a 1995 Nissan Pathfinder. Just recently my tire blew out and I got it replaced. They replaced the tires and after a day or two my Reverse gear stopped working. I put the car in reverse and it doesn’t move even when I press the gas. It’s like its stuck in neutral. However when I put the car in drive it works perfectly fine. I checked the transmission fluid and it’s perfectly fine. It’s an automatic transmission. I just have no idea what is wrong with it!

  2. My 2007 Nissan pathfinder has started shifting really hard. I took it to a dealer and they said fuels have crossed from the transmission to the radiator. They said both need to be replaced and quoted me $6000. Am I being taken? I’m thinking of buying a new car instead. What is your advice?

  3. My 2007 Pathfinder was purchased doing the time of the class action lawsuit from a dealer in Virginia. Little did I know in 2012 that I would be having these kind of problems because I only have 127000 miles on my SUV. But I feel pretty bad right now because I just paid this SUV off and two days later my car is doing pretty much all the things a transmission shouldn’t be doing. I took this truck to my local mechanic shop and I was quoted a price of 14,999 dollars to repair I’m so upset right now I just don’t know what to do they said I needed a repaired transmission a repaired Engine and a new radiator with some other stuff I think they just threw in there. What more can I do I had not planned on buy another car so soon. Nissan should have made people aware and not keep selling these SUV

  4. My Nissan Pathfinder had a check engine light one. I took it to Nissan and they did not recommend any repairs or said say anything about this common problem now my car is not starting and I was told that the radiator and transmission have to be changed because of fluid exchange. A job at over $6.000.00. I am without a car and I depend on it to get to work and pick up my children?…..This is very irresponsible of them….

Leave a Comment