Nissan Frontier Not Shifting – What Could Be Wrong?

Your Nissan Frontier not shifting can be frustrating. If you cannot shift gears, this most likely means that something is mechanically wrong with your truck. So what could be causing this issue in your Nissan Frontier? We have done the research for you to give the possible culprits of this issue.

A common reason for your truck not shifting is that your transmission fluid level is too low. This issue will cause your vehicle to have a lack of power due to the fact that it has been overfilled with air. To fix this issue, add more fluid. Make sure you add the same type of transmission fluid, as mixing different types could cause problems.

While adding transmission fluid could solve the problem, it may not be the actual issue. This article will elaborate on all of the possible reasons why your Nissan Frontier isn't shifting. In addition, we will discuss the typical lifespan of a Frontier and its overall reliability.

A man in a business suit in the car changes gear. Nissan Frontier Not Shifting - What Could Be Wrong

Nissan Frontier Not Shifting - What Could Be Wrong?

As mentioned above, low transmission fluid is the most common reason your Nissan Frontier isn't shifting correctly. Therefore, Checking the transmission fluid level is the first thing that you should do.

Check it first because it is the least expensive thing to troubleshoot. If you find out that your transmission does have enough fluid, there are other reasons you might be having this problem.

Pickup Truck (Nissan NP300 Navara ) parked at lawn, covered with mud after passing the pond.

Bad Transmission

If your Nissan Frontier is shifting hard, it could be due to your transmission. Transmission fluid flows through the engine and helps with the smoothness of the gears.

As a result, it can provide more power and protection for your truck. And if it starts to break down, like rubber hoses or seals, you'll begin to notice problems.

For example, your Frontier not shifting correctly, shifting weirdly, not accelerating well, or slowing down when you try to go up hills could all be indicators that the transmission is starting to go bad.

If you are experiencing any of these problems, it might be time for a transmission replacement or rebuild.

Failing Engine

A poorly running engine can also be a reason why your Frontier isn't shifting.

There are many reasons why your engine may not be performing at its full potential, but it is crucial to keep in mind that certain engine parts will begin to wear out with time. For example, your pistons, rings, and cylinder walls will all experience some wear over time.

Additionally, your fuel injectors will also begin to experience performance issues. If you are experiencing engine problems due to lack of power or force, take your Frontier into a shop to have it looked at by professionals.

Bad Transmission Shifter Sensor

Another reason for your truck not shifting could be a faulty transmission shifter sensor in your steering column or ignition switch that makes the shifter think you have selected park when you have selected neutral.

If this is where your problem lies, then it can be fixed by replacing the shifter in question.

Bad or Low Battery

The next culprit for your transmission not shifting could be low power coming from the battery. This can either be due to a loose battery cable or a faulty alternator.

These issues are typically easy fixes that you can attempt yourself if you have experience with automotive work. Unfortunately, this could also be a problem with your starter. If this is so, you will need to have the starter replaced by a professional.

Bad Transmission Computer or Fuse Box

If none of these are the reason behind your truck not shifting, then it could be an electronic issue with your fuse box or transmission computer. These issues can be more difficult to fix if they are not in plain sight, but the transmission computer should be replaced to solve this issue.

Faulty Transmission Solenoid

It is also possible that you have a faulty transmission solenoid. In this case, the solenoid will need to be replaced for your truck to shift gears properly.

These issues can affect both manual and automatic transmissions. If this is where your problem lies, then replacing the transmission solenoids in question should solve it.

Do Nissan Frontiers have transmission problems?

The Nissan Frontier is a dependable truck, but there have been some reports of transmission problems. Some common issues are valve body failure which will cause it to not upshift or down-shift; it could also cause the car to slip while accelerating and making turns on slippery roads.

This should be checked by your mechanic immediately. The more time you leave these minor nuisances to go untreated (without addressing them), the greater the likelihood that they'll become much more significant and expensive problems.

The other common issue is "lost in gears" — this could be because the transmission fluid level is low. The Nissan owner's manual should tell you how often to change your transmission fluid, but it's typically around 25,000 miles.

Either way, if you are experiencing any problems with the shifting of your Frontier, take it into a shop for inspection.

What years did Nissan Frontier have transmission problems?

According to Motorbiscuit and CarParts, the 2005-2008 Nissan Frontiers were most known for their transmission issues.

The three worst problems associated with Nissan Frontiers, in general, all involve cooling systems leaking into transmissions, causing them to fail at just over 100,000 miles. Average repair costs range from $3,200-$4,300.

In addition, consumers have recently have said that the 2019 Nissan Frontier has also been having transmission issues.

old nissan np300, nissan frontier 2019

What is shift lock on Nissan Frontier?

Shift lock is a function that locks both the automatic transmission shifter and the ignition when either one of them is engaged.

This will prevent you from shifting gears or starting your Nissan Frontier until it is disengaged, which can be done by pulling up on both the shifter and the key to release them.

Shift lock is for safety reasons so that you do not accidentally shift your Nissan Frontier into gear when it is in the park or turn the engine on while the car is not in park. This feature may be available on other vehicles as well.

What is high mileage for a Nissan Frontier?

Determining what is high mileage for any vehicle can be subjective. It depends on if they are gas or diesel, how they are used, how they are driven, and ultimately how they are maintained.

Nissan makes reliable vehicles, and you shouldn't have any issues breaking the 150,000-mile mark with your Frontier.

However, after 100,000 miles is when things start to break and will need repairing. At this point, you want to keep a close eye on oil changes and overall maintenance over this mile mark.

If you're concerned about high mileage and considering a Nissan Frontier, it is best to ask the current owner precisely what has been repaired on this car in the past. It is also a good idea to check a CarFax on any used vehicle before making a buying decision.

Request a CarFax report from the dealer or private owner. The history report will give information such as the number of previous owners, accidents, whether it has a clean or salvage title, and any maintenance history.

Cars with high mileage of more than 200,000 kilometers

How reliable is the Nissan Frontier?

When it comes to reliability, RepairPal gives the Nissan Frontier a 4 out of 5. It ranks 9th out of 32 of all car brands.

So, overall, the Nissan Frontier seems to be a reliable truck provided it is well maintained. But like any vehicle, the Frontier's reliability is affected by the amount of wear and tear it goes through regularly. With more miles, more problems can occur.

This doesn't mean your vehicle will break down overnight or immediately after buying it—these issues usually accumulate over time instead of all at once.

When looking at repair cost, this is heavily influenced by the mileage as well. This can be from a brake repair, repair for tranny issues, fuel pumps, etc. And with more miles comes exponentially higher costs for both parts and labor.

Final Thoughts

Overall, no one wants truck problems like shifting issues. However, having a reliable transmission is a vital part of a vehicle's performance.

If you have problems shifting your Frontier, start with the small things like checking the transmission fluid. This is an inexpensive way to troubleshoot the problem. If that doesn't work, take it to a certified mechanic or contact a mobile mechanic who can come to you.

If you like this article, you should also check out these vehicle guides:

Do Fuel Injectors Have Polarity? [Negative And Positive]

Does My Car Have Active Suspension?

Can You Switch To 4 Wheel Drive While Driving? [Popular Off-Road Vehicles Checked]

Have you had a shifting issue in your Frontier? Let us know what year it is below!

Share this article

One comment

  1. I just bought a 2002 nissan frontier with the 3.3l sc v6 auto and while driving it home it was having issues when downshifting in cruise control its fine up to 40mph then it lugs at 3k rpm until it gets to 65mph then it shifts and revs up again. Checked it with obd2 its throwing code p0733 and there is also a noticeable smell of burning antifreeze after driving despite levels not dropping and no leaks. Other forums have said it could be shift solenoid.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *