The Nissan Pathfinder is a midsize crossover SUV that has been in production since 1985. It is currently in its 5th generation and is available in both a 4-door and 2-door body styles. It has been a popular choice for families and off-road enthusiasts alike.
While the Pathfinder is generally a reliable vehicle, there are certain years that are better to avoid, especially if you’re in the market for one. This details the Nissan Pathfinder generations that should be avoided when buying used, as well as the reasons why.
2005 to 2008 Model Year Nissan Pathfinder (3rd Generation)
If you’re looking at used 2005 to 2008 model year Nissan Pathfinders, you might want to think twice. These model years all had common problems concerning the coolant leaking into the transmission system, resulting in expensive repairs.
In fact, there was a recall issued for this issue in 2010. The issues present were so severe that Nissan issued a warranty extension for the transmission and related parts. Both the transmission and radiator would need to be replaced if the coolant leaked into the transmission. This was a very costly fix, often totaling over $5000.
This issue was the result of a faulty coolant system component. If it erupted, it would spew coolant all over the engine and transmission, causing extensive damage. It’s important to note that these fluids (coolant, engine oil, and transmission fluid) should never come into contact with each other, as this will cause major damage to your vehicle. Unfortunately for the third generation Pathfinder, this was a common problem.
Other issues with these model years include steering problems, premature brake wear, and engine oil leaks. So while you might get a good deal on one of these used Pathfinders, it’s important to be aware of the potential risks and costs associated with ownership.
The cost to repair the coolant leak issue alone can range from $1,000 to $4,000, so it’s important to factor that in when considering a used Pathfinder from these model years.
2013 to 2015 Model Year Nissan Pathfinder (4th Generation)
Another batch of Nissan Pathfinders you might want to avoid are the 2013 to 2015 model years, as well. These model years had common problems concerning transmission that would jerk and lurch, which could result in sudden and unexpected acceleration or deceleration. This can be a jarring experience when driving regardless of your speed. In some cases, this could even lead to a crash.
In addition, these model years were part of a class action lawsuit concerning their continuously variable transmission (CVT) issues. A settlement was reached in early 2022, and a warranty extension was put in place in mid-2022.
2017 Model Year Nissan Pathfinder (4th Generation)
The 2017 model year saw a few changes for the Nissan Pathfinder. A new trim was introduced- the Midnight Edition. The vehicle also received a revised front end and an updated infotainment system.
However, this model year also had some problems with the CVT transmission. In the case of the transmission, owners reported shaking and jerking during acceleration, notably when reaching speeds of only 15 to 30 miles per hour. What’s more, issues with the transmission not engaging or disengaging properly were also reported.
Nissan did extend the warranty on the CVT transmission for this model year, so if you’re considering a 2017 Nissan Pathfinder, be sure to check and see if it’s still under warranty. Otherwise, you may be stuck with a hefty repair bill down the line. You may also want to consider a different model year altogether.
It also had issues with the accessories. These mostly had to do with interior features, such as the backup camera getting stuck on and not shutting off. Others report navigation system errors and malfunctions with the front display screen getting stuck on.
Other noteworthy problems with the fourth generation Pathfinder include engine oil cooler failures and fuel pump issues. However, the reports of these aren’t as widespread and may not be present on all 2017 models.
Potential car buyers should be aware of these issues before considering a purchase. Used car shoppers should also be sure to get a thorough pre-purchase inspection from a qualified mechanic to check for any potential problems.
One of the most common Nissan Pathfinder problems is transmission failure. This typically occurs intermittently in models from 2005 and 2017. These are essentially the Nissan Pathfinder years to avoid.
Another problem that frequently occurs is failure of a faulty fuel level sensor . This can cause inaccurate readings, making it difficult to gauge how much fuel is actually in the tank. Navigation system problems are also fairly common, especially in older models. These can range from minor glitches to major malfunctions.
These are the years when the most common problems occur. You may be able to find a well-maintained used Nissan Pathfinder from one of these years, but it’s best to be aware of the potential risks before making a purchase.
When shopping for a used Nissan Pathfinder, be sure to have it inspected by a qualified mechanic. They can check for common problems and give you an idea of what to expect in terms of future repairs.
All in all, it seems that the Nissan Pathfinder years to avoid are various models from 2005 to 2017 with the exception of the 2009 to 2012 model years.
It’s also a good idea to research the model year you’re interested in to see if there are any known issues. With a little bit of effort, you can find a used Nissan Pathfinder that will serve you well for many years to come.
Reliability can be decent if you find a Nissan Pathfinder in the right year, and one that’s particularly well-maintained.