Negligent Nissan Nullifies Notion to Stand Behind Troublesome Truck Transmissions

By Jacob Brown | August 25, 2011
Owners of Nissan midsize trucks and SUVs with problem-prone automatic transmissions may find a surprisingly high level of apathy from the Japanese automaker when they take their vehicles in for service. Reported to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in astonishingly high rates, owners of 2005 through 2010 Nissan Frontier midsize pickup trucks, Nissan Xterra compact SUVs, and Nissan Pathfinder midsize SUVs have said that the five-speed automatic transmission in their vehicles failed prematurely. The source of this issue, which has drawn at least 200 complaints, stems from an internal crack of a transmission cooler tube that leaks coolant into the oil in the transmission. Nissan claims this problem has affected a small percentage of its owners. Rather than extend a recall to owners of affected vehicles, the automaker has opted to extend its drivetrain warranty from three years or 36,000 miles to 80,000 miles.
“It is one of the bigger transmission problems that we see.” said Clarence Ditlow, the executive director of the Center for Auto Safety, in an interview with the New York Times. “It is costly and it can cause an immediate failure.” Nissan sent out a letter to the owners of the vehicles, and it has allowed owners of vehicles who already paid for repairs to get reimbursed. For the reimbursement, however, Nissan set a July 31 cutoff date, potentially leaving owners unaware of the offer out of luck. Under an extended warranty program, Nissan is not obligated to track down owners of the vehicles to have them repaired — unlike a recall. “The issue here is that Nissan knew that they had a faulty radiator and instead of recalling the radiator they extended the warranty knowing that the majority of the cars would surpass 80,000 miles before they started having problems with the transmission,” wrote Nissan owner Eva Saldivar of Porterville, Calif., in her complaint to the Center for Auto Safety. She noted having to pay $6000 to repair her 2005 Pathfinder with 115,000 on the odometer. Source: New York Times