Nissan Xterra Years To Avoid (Best and Worst)

Nissan Xterra Years To Avoid – This popular SUV has been a go-to choice for adventure seekers and off-road enthusiasts for decades. However, not all Nissan Xterra years are created equal. If you’re considering purchasing a used Xterra, it’s important to know which years to avoid.

This SUV has gained a reputation for its exceptional off-roading abilities and reliable performance. While it’s disappointing that Nissan discontinued the Xterra line in 2015, there are still plenty of used options available. When shopping for a used Xterra, reliability is key.

Nissan Xterra Years To Avoid

The Nissan Xterra is a reliable off-road SUV. Nissan had ample time to refine its manufacturing process before discontinuing the model.

In this post, we will explore the worst years to avoid when it comes to the Nissan Xterra, ensuring you make an informed decision when purchasing this adventure-seeking SUV.

Nissan Xterra Reliability Ratings

The reliability ratings of the Nissan Xterra are impressive, with an overall rating of 59 out of 100. This makes the Xterra a very reliable SUV.

Nissan Xterra Reliability

When compared to other cars, the Xterra ranks above the average overall rating of 57.

It’s important to note that these figures may differ from ratings found in publications like J.D. Power or Consumer Reports.

Those publications often rely on reported issues in the first few months of ownership, while this study looks at real-world repair costs and frequencies from repair shops and wholesale auction data.

Nissan Xterra Years To Avoid

It’s important to know which years to avoid to ensure you’re getting a reliable vehicle.

According to RepairPal, the least reliable Nissan Xterra years to avoid are the 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, and 2008 models. The Xterra as a whole is known for its reliability, these specific years have had more reported issues.

However, newer examples, as well as Xterras built from 1999-2003, tend to be more reliable options.

Don’t just settle for any Xterra – make sure you choose one that is known for its reliability and performance.

If you want a Nissan Xterra that you can count on, it’s best to steer clear of these model years.

2004 Nissan Xterra

The 2004 Nissan Xterra may not have the best reputation, but it still has some redeeming qualities. Car Complaints gave it a “Pretty Good” seal of approval with only 124 complaints, which is relatively low compared to other model years.

However, there are a few issues to consider. One major problem is the cracked radiator that leaks fluid into the transmission system, particularly in models with high mileage.

This can be a costly repair, averaging over $4,000. Additionally, some owners have reported issues with the transmission failing after reaching 80,000 miles or more.

Safety is also a concern, as the 2004 Xterra has less-than-perfect crash test ratings. The 2004 Xterra has its drawbacks, but it is still a reliable and good car for those willing to address these specific issues.

2005 Nissan Xterra

If we’re talking about the number of complaints alone, the 2005 Nissan Xterra is one of the worst years to avoid. With over 400 complaints and six recalls, it seems to be the most problematic year for this SUV model.

One of the major issues with the 2005 Xterra is a widespread radiator defect, where coolant leaks into the transmission system and causes transmission failure.

This issue also affects other Nissan models like the Pathfinder and Frontier, resulting in a class-action lawsuit. Additionally, some owners have reported jerking and jolting while shifting into gear, and some even couldn’t shift out of first gear.

It can cost an average of $2,500 to fix these issues.

Despite these problems, newer Xterras and those built from 1999-2003 are more reliable and make for a good car.

2006 Nissan Xterra

The 2006 Nissan Xterra, while an improvement over the 2005 model, still has its fair share of issues. With 225 complaints and five recalls, it is more reliable but not without its flaws.

One persistent problem is the leaky radiator, where coolant leaks into the transmission fluid. This leads to transmission failure and requires a costly radiator replacement, averaging around $3,950.

Another issue that plagues the 2006 Xterra is the faulty timing chain, with users reporting a high-pitched whine from the engine.

Despite these issues, the 2006 Xterra is more reliable than its predecessor, but it’s still important to be aware of these potential problems.

2007 Nissan Xterra

The 2007 Nissan Xterra is a model year that you should avoid if you’re in the market for this SUV. It has inherited several significant issues from previous iterations and has received 219 complaints and two recalls.

It has earned the “Avoid Like the Plague” dishonorable badge from

One major issue with the 2007 Xterra is the coolant leaking into the transmission system, which has become so prevalent that it has been nicknamed the “strawberry milkshake of death” or SMOD.

This refers to the pink coolant liquid that causes a significant design flaw and can lead to transmission failure. It took Nissan some time and several iterations to adequately address this problem.

Additionally, the 2007 Xterra may experience shuddering and vibrations as the vehicle accelerates, particularly at speeds above 40 mph. Repairing this issue can cost over $2,700.

The 2007 Xterra is not a reliable option due to these significant issues. It’s best to look for other model years or consider a different SUV altogether.

2008 Nissan Xterra

If you’re considering a 2008 Nissan Xterra, there are a few things you should know. While it has significantly fewer complaints compared to other years, it still has a notable issue known as SMOD (strawberry milkshake of death).

This refers to a coolant leaking problem that typically occurs around 110k miles.

Buying a used 2008 Xterra means you’re likely to encounter this issue, which can be costly to repair, with an average cost of $5,100. If possible, it’s best to avoid the 2008 Xterra and explore the other models we have recommended below for a more reliable option.

Read Also: Cars Similar To Nissan Xterra

Nissan Xterra Best Year

You may be wondering which year is the best in terms of reliability and performance. Since the Xterra was discontinued after the 2015 model year, your options are limited. However, it’s important to consider the most reliable years when purchasing a used vehicle.

The Nissan Xterra is known for its ruggedness and off-road capabilities, making it an excellent choice for those seeking adventure. It’s a compact SUV that offers excellent towing capabilities and is designed to be a more affordable alternative to the Pathfinder.

Unfortunately, the Xterra’s discontinuation in 2015 disappointed many fans. However, if you’re interested in purchasing a used Xterra, it’s crucial to prioritize reliability.

Today, we will guide you through two generations of the Xterra and highlight the models that are worth considering, whether used or not.

Let’s explore the most reliable years of the Nissan Xterra and provide insights on what makes them stand choices.

2013 Nissan Xterra

Nissan Xterra Best Year

If you’re looking for a reliable off-road SUV with a touch of the classic Jeep CJ, the 2013 Nissan Xterra is the perfect choice. This model offers the best of both worlds – a rugged exterior and impressive reliability.

The 2013 Xterra is a body-on-frame SUV that is built to handle any off-road adventure you throw its way. With its modern safety and tech features, you can feel confident and secure on your journeys.

When it comes to reliability, the 2013 Xterra has an impressive track record. With only two complaints and no recalls on, it’s clear that this SUV is a reliable and trustworthy vehicle. So if you’re in the market for a solid off-road SUV, look no further than the 2013 Nissan Xterra.

2015 Nissan Xterra

Nissan Xterra Best Year

The 2015 Nissan Xterra is often regarded as the epitome of the Xterra experience. This model received high praise for its reliability, with experts and customers alike singing its praises.

Not only is the 2015 Xterra known for its dependability, but it also offers impressive overall quality and resale value.

Under the hood, the 2015 Xterra packs a punch with its powerful 4.0-liter V6 engine. This engine provides ample power for everyday driving and even more demanding off-road adventures.

Additionally, the Xterra offers a Pro-4X trim level, which provides even more capability for off-road enthusiasts.

Inside the cabin, the 2015 Xterra offers a comfortable and spacious interior. However, it’s worth noting that there is a heavy reliance on plastic finishes, which may be a downside for some buyers.

One area where the 2015 Xterra falls short is its fuel economy. With only 16 miles per gallon in the city and 22 miles per gallon on the highway, it’s not the most efficient SUV on the market.

However, for those who prioritize reliability and ruggedness, the 2015 Xterra is still an excellent choice.

The 2015 Nissan Xterra is widely regarded as one of the best years for this SUV. With its reliability, impressive performance, and desirable features, it’s easy to see why this model is highly sought after by Nissan fans.

Read Also: Why Did Nissan Stop Making the Xterra?

Nissan Xterra Problems

The Nissan Xterra, revered for its robust off-road capabilities and above-average reliability, remains a sought-after SUV among adventure enthusiasts.

However, like any vehicle, it harbors a set of known issues that potential buyers should be aware of before making a purchase.

Nissan Xterra Problems

Let’s explore the common problems associated with the various model years of the Nissan Xterra.

Defective Fuel Level Sensor

A prevalent concern among Xterra owners revolves around inaccurate fuel gauge readings attributed to faulty fuel level sensors.

Picture this: assuming a half tank of fuel when it’s perilously close to empty due to sensor malfunctions.

This issue primarily plagues Xterra models produced between 2001 and 2011, leaving owners perplexed by misleading fuel gauge indications.

Leaky Radiator

The 2005 Xterra stands out for a notorious issue—radiator leaks persisting even after attempts to rectify the problem by tightening the cap.

Swift action might limit the repair scope to the lower intake manifold.

However, overlooking this issue could cascade into more severe consequences such as transmission failure, amplifying repair costs, and vehicle downtime.

Transmission Failure

One of the most dreaded concerns associated with the Xterra, particularly prominent in the 2005 model year, is transmission failure.

Shockingly, the root cause traces back to the aforementioned radiator defect.

Addressing this predicament often necessitates the costly rebuilding or outright replacement of the transmission system, posing a substantial financial burden on owners.

Fuel Injector Failure

Various Xterra models have grappled with malfunctioning fuel injectors, manifesting in engine misfires, power loss, hesitations during acceleration, and excessive vibrations.

The vehicle’s check engine light serves as an indicator, signaling the presence of a faulty fuel injector, prompting immediate attention to avoid exacerbating the issue.

Timing Chain Problems

Unaddressed concerns related to the Xterra’s timing chain tensioners, guides, and shoes could lead to engine rattling and acceleration irregularities. In extreme cases, these issues might precipitate engine failure.

This problem gained such traction that a class-action lawsuit was filed against the automaker, underscoring its prevalence and impact on owners.

The Nissan Xterra, renowned for its off-road prowess and commendable reliability, is not immune to a handful of recurring issues that demand prospective buyers’ attention.

Awareness of these common problems with the Nissan Xterra empowers buyers to make informed decisions, ensuring they are prepared to tackle potential challenges associated with this otherwise exceptional SUV.

Are Nissan Xterra Reliable?

Are Nissan Xterras reliable? Absolutely! While the Nissan Xterra was discontinued after 2015, that doesn’t mean you can’t find a reliable one on the used market.

Newer examples, as well as Xterras built from 1999-2003, tend to be more reliable.

However, if you’re looking at the 2004-2008 model years, be aware that they are known to have more problems.

So, when shopping for a Nissan Xterra, it’s essential to be selective and do your research on which years are the most reliable. Don’t settle for just any Xterra – find the ones that have a reputation for dependability.

How Many Miles is Too Many for a Nissan Xterra?

You might be pleasantly surprised. These SUVs are known for their ruggedness and can often handle a high number of miles with proper care. On average, you can expect a Nissan Xterra to last between 200,000 and 300,000 miles, or even more, before encountering any major mechanical issues.

Of course, this lifespan is dependent on regular maintenance and responsible driving habits. By taking care of your Nissan Xterra, you can enjoy its reliability for many years to come.

With the right attention and care, the Nissan Xterra can continue to be a reliable and durable SUV for years to come.

Why Did Nissan Get Rid Of The Xterra?

Why did Nissan get rid of the Xterra? It’s a question that many fans of this rugged SUV have asked. Unfortunately, the Xterra was discontinued in the U.S. after the 2015 model year.

Several factors led to this decision.

  1. Poor fuel economy was a significant concern for the Xterra. As gas prices continued to rise, consumers were looking for more fuel-efficient options. The Xterra’s lower mileage ratings made it less appealing in a market that was becoming increasingly focused on efficiency.
  2. Declining sales played a role in Xterra’s discontinuation. As the SUV market became more crowded with competitors, the Xterra struggled to stand out. Its outdated design and lack of modern features made it less appealing to consumers who were looking for a more advanced and refined vehicle.
  3. Mandated upgrades to safety and emissions also played a part in the Xterra’s demise. Meeting the increasingly stringent safety and emissions standards would have required significant investments from Nissan.

With declining sales and a shrinking market share, the company made the difficult decision to discontinue Xterra instead.


The Nissan Xterra years to avoid, it’s clear that some model years are more reliable than others. While the overall reliability of the Xterra is commendable, there are certain years to avoid if you want a trouble-free SUV.

The 2004-2008 model years, in particular, have been known to have more issues.

However, newer examples and Xterras built from 1999-2003 are generally more reliable options.

So, if you’re in the market for a used Nissan Xterra, be selective in your shopping and choose a model that is known for its reliability. That way, you can have peace of mind knowing The Nissan Xterra years to avoid your adventure-seeking SUV.

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