The Nissan Xterra is a compact SUV that debuted in the 2000 model year. This post covers the top 5 Nissan Xterra problems of the 2nd generation, years, 2005 to 2015, and their symptoms, causes, and fixes.
Top 5 Issues 2nd Generation Nissan Xterra: 2005 to 2015
1. Fuel Level Sensor Failure
Symptoms of a Bad Fuel Level Sensor
- Fuel gauge doesn’t reach full after filling up and may inaccurately drop while driving
- Check engine light for code P0463
Causes of a Bad Fuel Level Sensor
The fuel level sensor tends to fail on the 2nd gen Xterra. If the level sensor isn’t able to float with the fuel level and sends an improper reading, the fuel gauge reading might be off.
How to Fix a Bad Fuel Level Sensor
Replace the fuel level sensor, or for an easier replacement, replace the entire fuel pump assembly.
2. Faulty Transmission Coolers
Symptoms of Faulty Transmission Coolers
- Transmission slipping while driving
- Milky and pinkish coolant
Causes of Faulty Transmission Coolers
A transmission cooler is located inside the radiator. Sometimes the cooler breaks and coolant leaks inside the transmission system. Coolant then mixes with the transmission fluid and causes the symptoms listed above. Transmission fluid can swell rubber like O-rings and coolant can cause issues with the belts inside of the automatic transmission.
How to Fix Faulty Transmission Coolers
Drain out as much transmission fluid as possible and flush the transmission system and coolant system. We recommend replacing the radiator and installing an external transmission cooler, and then refilling the systems with new fluid.
3. Secondary Timing Chain Tensioners
Symptoms of Bad Secondary Timing Chain Tensioners
- Runability issues like a whining noise from inside the front of the engine
Causes of Bad Secondary Timing Chain Tensioners
If the engine is having runability issues on the 2005 to 2015 Nissan Xterra, it might be the timing chains.
How to Fix Bad Secondary Timing Chain Tensioners
Fixing the timing chains includes taking the engine apart. The timing chains and timing shoes are usually replaced together. We also recommend changing the oil and installing a new filter after this repair is completed.
4. Mysterious Coolant Leaks
Symptoms of Hard-to-Find Coolant Leaks
- Low coolant levels but no obvious sign of leaking
- Sweet smell in the air after opening the hood
How to Fix Undetected Coolant Leaks
Pressurize the system and try to find the leak. The coolant leak is probably on the lower intake on one of the outlets for the coolant system. If you remove the transmission fluid dipstick and see bubbling, the coolant may be mixing with the transmission fluid.
5. Internal Heat Problems
Symptoms of Heat Problems on the 2nd Gen Nissan Xterra
- Air blowing out of the vents is not hot, usually when idling/sitting still with the engine on and some heat may emit from the vents when revving the engine
Causes of Heat Problems on the 2nd Gen Nissan Xterra
Air inside the cooling system that traps inside the heater core won’t reach the same temperature as the hot coolant flowing through the heater core, meaning there’s less heat for the blower motor to send into the cabin.
How to Fix Heat Problems
Heat problems on the 2005 to 2015 Nissan Xterra usually stem from a coolant leak. Fix the coolant leak, flush out the coolant system and bleed out any air. An easy method to this is to chock the rear wheels, put the vehicle in park, and put on the emergency brake. Jack up the front of the truck. As the truck is jacked up, the air bubbles will rise to the top of the fluid where the radiator is, allowing you to burp out any air in the system.
2nd Gen Nissan Xterra Model Years
- 2005 Nissan Xterra
- 2006 Nissan Xterra
- 2007 Nissan Xterra
- 2008 Nissan Xterra
- 2009 Nissan Xterra
- 2010 Nissan Xterra
- 2011 Nissan Xterra
- 2012 Nissan Xterra
- 2013 Nissan Xterra
- 2014 Nissan Xterra
- 2015 Nissan Xterra
- How to Perform a Radiator Pressure Test
- The Importance of a Heater Core Flush
- How Can I Tell If I Have a Coolant Leak?
- Common Bad Radiator Symptoms