— A Nissan timing chain class-action lawsuit is working its way through the court system as the automaker succeeded in getting some claims dismissed while the judge allowed other allegations to continue.
The class-action lawsuit includes the following Nissan models:
- 2004-2006 Nissan Altima
- 2004-2008 Nissan Maxima
- 2004-2009 Nissan Quest
- 2005-2010 Nissan Frontier
- 2005-2010 Nissan Pathfinder
- 2005-2010 Nissan Xterra
Plaintiff Sarah Duncan says she purchased a 2007 Nissan Maxima in Massachusetts in 2010. Six years later in 2016 when the car had about 127,000 miles on it, a Nissan technician allegedly told her the timing chain needed to be replaced at a cost of $1,500.
Nissan told the plaintiff she would have to pay the entire amount because the car was beyond its warranties.
Plaintiffs Anthony and Judy Weissenburger say they purchased a 2004 Nissan Maxima in 2004, but in 2011 a Nissan technician told them the timing chain should be replaced, leaving the couple to pay $1,400 of their own money for repairs.
Additional named plaintiffs make similar allegations about their timing chains, and they claim when Nissan agreed to settle a previous timing chain lawsuit, that was proof the automaker knew the systems were defective.
The plaintiffs filed the lawsuit in October 2016 alleging the timing chain tensioning systems damage the engines and pose safety hazards to occupants. The plaintiffs also claim Nissan knew or should have known the timing chains were defective at the time the vehicles were sold or leased.
Instead, consumers weren't informed about the alleged defects, but Nissan did send dealerships technical service bulletins (TSBs) about the timing chains.
One plaintiff alleges a Nissan technician told her the systems are equipped with a component made of inferior plastic that wears away, allegedly a component that should "last the lifetime of the car."
According to the lawsuit, Nissan realized the plastic part wouldn't last forever so the automaker improved the material used in later models.
Nissan offers two warranties on the vehicles, a basic warranty and a powertrain warranty. The basic covers repairs during the first 36,000 miles or 36 months, whichever occurs first, and the powertrain warranty covers repairs during the first 60,000 miles or 60 months.
However, the plaintiffs argue Nissan intentionally set the warranty limits where they are because the automaker knew the timing chains would fail after the warranties expired.
In filing the motion to dismiss, Nissan argues dealers have every right to refuse warranty work when a vehicle is no longer under warranty, but the plaintiffs claim the warranty limits should be ignored because the warranties are "unconscionable" considering the automaker concealed the defects.
The class-action lawsuit will proceed after the judge refused to dismiss express warranty and breach of contract claims, along with one state (Massachusetts) claim.
However, Nissan was successful in getting certain claims tossed out, including claims of violating the Oregon Unlawful Trade Practices Act, the Colorado Consumer Protection Act, the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Consumer Protection Act, the North Carolina Unfair and Deceptive Trade Practices Act and implied warranty of merchantability claims.
Although Nissan did agree to settle a previous timing chain class-action lawsuit, the judge says that California lawsuit has no relation to laws that govern Massachusetts.
The Nissan timing chain class-action lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts - Duncan, et al., v. Nissan North American, Inc., et al.
CarComplaints.com has complaints from drivers of the Nissan vehicles listed in the lawsuit: