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The Common 6 Nissan Pathfinder Transmission Problems & Their Quick Solutions

The gear shift is the only feature in any vehicle that allows to make transmissions smooth, make rides more pleasant; and alongside; plays a vital role to expand the longevity of the car.

Now, when that gear shifters are not able to do their magic, things happen.

Implying that, your pickup truck, precisely, your Nissan Pathfinder will not be able to produce seamless gear shifts, makes hesitations to do some moves, and that is called a transmission problem.

So, a transmission problem is, when your vehicle doesn’t avail itself to make gear shifts.

Today, we’ll be talking about this huge problem that’s been bothering some Nissan Pathfinder users for quite a while; as well as explore some solutions to put an end to it.

Stay with us, and maybe we can help you solve this problem, too.


Causes Of Nissan Pathfinder Transmission Down

Several causes influence the problem. If we know the causes, it will be easier to handle when the problem happens, and also, you will be more careful next time.

However, when you go through the causes, they will all eventually diverge at one main cause; and that’s the leakage of transmission fluid.

01. Seals gone off

The transmission has several seals that retain the transmission fluid compressed.

That if these seals disintegrate, the transmission loses pressure, and fluid drains.

02. Spin-off torque

The torque converter rotates and pushes transmission fluid into the primary transmission.

The liquid will escape from a torque converter with a fracture or underlying degradation.

03. Shoddy gasket

The transmission gasket is a further domain where a boatload of fluid potentially leaks unexpectedly.

With enough exposure and temperature, the gasket might become prone to cracking.

This may be compromised if you just refilled your liquid.

04. Off-line

Transmission and radiator are affiliated by conduits. They temper the liquid.

Your Pathfinder will leak it if these connections are ruptured.

Detecting a line leak is often arduous.

05. Inferior transmission pan

The transmission pan undergoes a lot of backlashes.

Only ever down and towards the road.

Mostly on road, it can be dented by debris or other infrastructure damage then become inoperable.

Mainly, the radiator and the transmission itself can be a problem regarding transmission problems.

And hence clutter might be solved by replacing either one of these or both.

Replacing the whole system connected might be a solution, unfortunately, that will create a lot of havoc.

So, rather than just taking a wild guess, better check out the causes and then go for a solution.

Common Nissan Pathfinder Transmission Problems

In this segment, we shall go over the symptoms, predominantly as to what you should expect when you face a transmission problem.

To be prudent, should you encounter something you’ve never noticed prior, get everything investigated out by yourself or a professional.

In the long run, how it might help you, that is, if you see that your truck is acting weird then you could recognize the problem in a snap and confirm yourself; and eventually, you will immediately take action rather than wail just to identify the problem!

01. Fire bad

Well, this isn’t about fire, but it’s the smell that initially catches our attention (Clickbait wasn’t intended!) And a burning smell is a common problem that links to the transmission.

Thermal runaway of the transmission fluid is a frequent site of a putrid sensation.

This emerges when particles and gunk decompose the fluid.

Lcky fluid won’t protect your gearbox components tidy and polished.

02. Noise

Apart from the sensation of smell, the feeling of hearing something strange from the engine is another symptom to be looked after.

There is a multitude of transmission noises that can be heard, but they commonly appear like bellyaching, pulsing, or snapping while they are active.

These noises happen due to the malfunctioning of the gearbox, it is also most likely to occur than something is stuck between the main components.

The sticking will make motors evolve slowly and provide greater friction, eventually producing noises.

Contrarily, whenever your automobile generates a thumping noise when you put it in neutral, check the transmission fluid.

It could even be depleted or filthy.

And if that is not the case, look for wretched components.

The bearings and gearings are the most common to make it possible.

03. Dancing truck

This shouldn’t be your concern if the vehicle has auto transmission and you’re just taking it for a ride the first time.

It is normal in that case for the vehicle to do some groovy moves!

However, if the case is otherwise, shaking shouldn’t be approved.

A tremble or shudder in your truck, as well as pounding, are signs that something is amiss.

Each of these characteristics suggests a problem with the transmission.

Commonest, a manual transmission will slog when shifting.

04. Cluster clutch

This problem leads to another one.

The most common clutch problem is hesitation, or simply a ‘shy truck’.

And it will be easily detected whenever you try to make gear shifts it won’t run smooth.

A sluggish manual transmission can be triggered by the clutch plate and wheel not retreating when the lever is depressed.

It’ll be challenging to change directions while the clutch remains running.

Whenever you try to shift gears, you’ll almost certainly hear a loud clunk.

05. Fluid mishap

About transmission fluid, we have talked previously about the leaking.

However, there are other complications about the fluid that might lead to a bad transmission.

If the fluid level is low, enough heat to turn on the machines won’t be generated, the system will contain one uniform entropy.

Hence the transmission will not be smooth as it will have to frag power from somewhere else.

If the fluid is dirty, the worst-case scenario will be the deterioration of other transmission parts.

Because the fluid approaches almost everything, and if it goes on for a long time with a filthy quality, other components are bound to face damage.

If the fluid is old and low-quality, you’ll face all of the problems mentioned before this, which include smell, shaking, and noise problems.

Expired fluid will be an unpleasant dark color, give out a burnt smell and you’ll notice your truck is performing slow.

On the contrary, good-quality and new fluid will be detected by its sweet smell, amber color, and better performance of the vehicle.

06. Ghostly gears

It is pretty common during a bad transmission that the vehicle hesitates to change the gear positions, but we haven’t talked about the exact opposed idea, yet.

It is also possible that gear might change without any effort.

Even though it’s common with automatic transmissions, but you’ll notice the difference yourself when the gear almost slips on its own.

The worst year model that had the most troubled transmission issues was 2005.

And to add to that note, the problems were mainly of the burning smell, which added tension to the consumers’ already robotic life.

And many wanted to give up on the truck, but it was way too costly.

However, should you want to avoid issues, make sure that you keep an eye on the engine light?

Modern technology has availed the transmission to be packed with sensors.

So, any single bouncing or any single red flag symptoms you might have overlooked, the engine light will stand by you and let it do its magic.

Also keep in mind that, transmission problems can result in any minor or freak accidents and anything in between.

We strongly suggest that you do not take it as tomorrow’s task and take action immediately if you spot any indications that might lead to a gear problem.

Faulty Nissan Pathfinder Transmission Solutions

Since there are several ways how this problem can be solved, we’ll be listing out some of the viable ones to make life easier.

Note that, these are the most common problems of a Pathfinder for any model.

01. Fuel level

This will do a small cheap replacement of the fluid.

No worries.

02. Clunking noises

That mainly happens because of the old time-belt.

Early variants of the Pathfinder’s timing chain are susceptible to tentative deterioration, especially around the 100,000-mile mark.

While it’s a massive business to change a worn timing chain, ordering a new belt is far more cost-effective.

03. No reverse transmission

Check the reverse clutches, the transmission cooler, and sensors.

Possibilities are problems that might have caused one of these.

04. High gear shift issues

The vehicle might shiver in this case.

There might be issues in the torque converter and to a higher extent, the valve.

A replacement might be needed in this case.

And the option for taking your car to the repair store is always the best suggestion.

Since transmission problems are quite serious, it will be better not to do too much guessing.

Cost To Solve The Transmission Problem

You would least want to get a part removed and replaced in a Nissan Pathfinder because it will cost a fortune.

Sadly, this might be the only option (depending on what your problem is) left for you.

Professional cost

A fairly standard Pathfinder transmission repair bill was around $4,000 for individuals.

Also, this occurred alongside when their automobile had accumulated roughly 100,000 miles and for some cases, 90,000 miles.

To rebuild a transmission, you might expect to be charged around $2500.

To purchase, however, you need to pay $1500 on average.

And the professional labor cost will be anywhere between $500~$800.

Prices may go up and down depending on your choices of the transmission changes, just double-check with the remanufacturer for knowing what options are available.

DIY Cost

As mentioned in the paragraph above, you’ll see the labor job might cost you at least $500, you can always cut that out if you do the work.

Again, varying on the problem you face, you might not even need a full change.

Rather, you might have to do some replacements for the parts you’re having problems with.

For a Nissan Pathfinder, single component replacement (such as transmission fluid) starts their range from $200.

Maintenance Tips

Maintenance is key if you want the best outcomes for aspects of your vehicle.

But on what things do you need to keep an eye on?

Check out the points below, and maybe you’ll get some idea.

  • Always lookout for the fluid specs (Can’t say that enough!). lookout for level, expiries, and quality. Don’t over-fill or over-heat.
  • Inspect the filters and sensors cohesively.
  • There’s an overlooked interconnection between the cooler system and the transmission.
  • Make sure to get a proper servicing of the cooling setup too.
  • Compare the gear shift reactions now and then. Any slight changes and take action asap.
  • Don’t let anything clutter the valve body area.

Lastly, try and make good driving habits. It’s better to have the truck servicing once a month.


You still might have some problems with your Nissan and that’s okay.

We found these questions that have appeared in a large community of customers’ minds.

We have sorted them out and also gave out possible and plausible solutions.

How do I know the current status of the transmission level fluid?

There will usually be a dipstick to check the levels, while other models might possess different options.

Keep an eye on the manual to get proper instructions.

Also, you can take your car to some local garage shop or labor shop to get the work done.

Is it a red flag if the engine light is on?

Almost certainly. Make sure to get your vehicle to a reputed local automotive shop and check that if the commands and programming are alright.

What if the transmission fluid changes its color often?

If you live in a warmer country, that’s likely to happen.

Because the color used in the fluid changes proportionately with the temperature.

But if you live in a place where everything is cool and tempered, inspect if the fluid had expired or so.

And if that’s not the case, it might be a problem of overheating things.

At which places possible leakages might occur?

Taking a look at the whole system won’t be a big deal since it’s a confined system.

Look for spaces that have little spaces, like the shafts, the sensor mounting, the filter, and lastly, the radiator.

What if my gears slip?

For that, you need to look out for two Fs. Fluid and friction.

The importance of taking good care of fluid can’t be overstated.

And about friction, that might happen in the clutching.

Now you know where to look.

Also do remember, without AI, the software won’t be able to give results that are closest to perfection.

Software issues are also a common reason for transmission slipping.

The Last Words

Nissan Pathfinder is an excellent choice of a pickup truck with a dashing interior and a humongous space, but its only drawback is the transmission issue, which is true, a major issue.

However, every problem has solutions, cheap or expensive. In this case, it’s the latter one.

Since this series of the renowned brand Nissan tends to be cursed by the transmission Gods, you better take better care of the vehicle!

But identifying and investigating the problem will get half of the job done.

Make sure to keep in regular maintenance.

We wish you all the best to fix your transmission issues!