— A Nissan Altima melting dashboard lawsuit has been preliminarily settled over 2008-2009 Altima dashboards that melt, crack, get sticky and shine under the Florida sun.
The class-action lawsuit covers Florida residents only because of the amount of sunlight and heat that damages the Altima dashboards. In the lawsuit, plaintiffs Tracy Sanborn and Louis Lucrezia claim their Altima dashboards were so shiny and melted that a safety hazard existed from the glare off the windshield.
Although the settlement helps Florida residents only, more legal proceedings may be seen in the future as attorneys say other Nissan models have problems with melting dashboards outside of Florida.
The Altima dashboards are allegedly so shiny that at least two drivers have been involved in crashes due to the glare from the windshield.
According to the plaintiffs, Nissan knew the plastic skins used in Altima dashboards weren't formulated for high levels of Florida heat and humidity and should have tested the materials in thermo-hygrostatic chambers or environmental temperature/humidity chambers.
To Nissan, the melting shiny dashboards are fine and the problem comes from “a few isolated consumer complaints about the dashboard appearance” that don't cause safety issues.
However, the plaintiffs say Nissan, at the least, should have told consumers in hot humid states about the dashboards so those customers could have done something about the dashboards while the cars were under warranty.
Nissan denies there is anything wrong with the dashboards but has agreed to settle to avoid the expense of a trial.
The lawsuit alleges the melted Altima dashboards can cost $2,000 to replace, a cost Nissan has generally been refusing to pay. According to the plaintiffs, owners also experience problems when trying to sell or trade their cars due to the dashboards.
To be reimbursed for everything other than $250, an owner will need to provide proof of payment related to the melting dashboard and submit that information with the claim form. If proof of payment cannot be supplied, Nissan says to send them the name of the Nissan dealership that did the dashboard work.
The lawsuit alleges the Nissan Altima dashboards degrade into a “soft, gooey, shiny thing” that creates a dangerous glare, something numerous Altima owners in Florida have complained about.
"The dash got sticky and shiny first and then I started seeing cracks which spread all over. I have caulked and now covered with a mat but want it replaced. I currently have only 80k miles; started seeing this about 60k miles. Nissan should cover this at no charge." - 2008 Nissan Altima owner / Lynn Haven, Florida
"It is cracking like a spiderweb and little plastic pieces are chipping off. It looks like it will cost over a thousand dollars to have fixed as the dashboard must be entirely replaced. It totally devalues the car and looks horrible. Apparently others have had the same problem but Nissan does not care. Unbelievable, as I would never buy another one if I have to pay for this ridiculous repair. Very disappointed." - 2008 Nissan Altima owner / Delray Beach, Florida
Another Florida Altima owner says that in addition to the glare, the smell of the melting plastic is adding to preexisting health problems.
"Honestly is a really dangerous situation driving like this every day to work and the reflection of the dashboard on the inside windshield is becoming a real pain in the ass and also my life into this vehicle, please Nissan dealer do something about this, been using this vehicle since day one and now it's melting everywhere and the smell of plastic also toxic, have asthma, too much money to replace the whole dash!" - 2008 Nissan Altima owner / Miami, Florida
According to the plaintiffs, Nissan knew or should have known the dashboards were defective based on a constant flow of complaints, yet the automaker failed to inform consumers about the problem.
An outside expert hired by the plaintiffs claims affected Altima owners should receive $46.6 million to $53.7 million in damages, or between $1,439 to $1,774 per owner. That's a lot of money, but the same expert estimates Nissan made about $190.7 million in profits from its sale of Altimas in Florida.
The settlement will reimburse Florida Altima owners and lessees for the cost to replace the dashboards minus $250. If an owner cannot cover the $250 cost, the consumer should take the car to a Nissan dealer for a quote to replace the dashboard and submit the written quote with the claim form.
The Altima dashboard lawsuit includes all consumers who are residents of, and purchased or leased a new or used 2008-2009 Nissan Altima in Florida.
Altima owners have until April 29, 2017, to have the dashboard replaced or at the least, Nissan must inspect and document damage to the dashboard by that date.
The 2008-2009 Nissan Altima melting dashboard lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida - Tracy Sanborn and Louis Lucrezia v. Nissan North America, Inc.
If you live in Florida and own or lease a 2008-2009 Nissan Altima, learn more about the settlement at FloridaAltimaClassActionSettlement.com.