— A Nissan Altima hood latch class action lawsuit alleges a recall hasn't done anything to fix the cars, and neither have three other hood latch recalls for Altima cars. The class action alleges 2013-2018 Altima drivers are in danger from hoods that suddenly fly open while driving, allegedly a problem Nissan doesn't know how to properly repair.
The two Altima owners who sued allege the Hoods have primary latches located inside the vehicles, then secondary latches located under the hoods. But design and manufacturing defects allegedly cause the hoods to open while driving at any speed.
According to the Altima class action lawsuit, Nissan blames the problems on multiple sources but still can't properly repair the cars.
The Altima hood latch systems are allegedly not strong enough to perform in real-world conditions and aren't up to industry standards used for more than 100 years. The return springs are also allegedly too weak, as are the locking systems which prevent the hoods from securely latching.
The class action lawsuit also claims the primary hood latches in the cars are located too close to the fuel door latches. This causes drivers to accidentally unlatch the hoods instead of the fuel doors.
Then once the primary hood latch is pulled in the Altima, the secondary latch under the hood fails to hold the hood down, allowing the Altima hood to open while driving.
The Nissan Altima Hood Latch Recalls
Nissan Altima owners started complaining about the hood latches in 2013 and the automaker was allegedly investigating the problem as early as May 2014. The plaintiffs say Nissan has blamed the hood latch problems on customers, service technicians and several suppliers.
Then there are the Altima recalls.
Nissan Altima Hood Latch Recall (2014)
The automaker recalled more than 220,000 model year 2013 Nissan Altima cars because debris and corrosion between the hood inner panel and the secondary lever could cause the secondary latch to remain open after the hood was closed.
The 2014 hood latch recall fix required a dealership to inspect, clean and lubricate the secondary latch and make sure it moved freely. If the secondary latch didn't move properly the hood latch assembly was to be replaced. But if the latch moved freely, the technician was told to bend the latch lever using an angled pry-bar.
Nissan Altima Hood Latch Recall (2015)
Nissan issued a second Altima recall of 625,000 model year 2013-2015 cars by claiming anti-corrosion hood latch protection applied by a supplier was faulty.
“As a result, the paint may flake off leaving bare metal exposed, increasing the risk of corrosion in the affected area. Over time, the corrosion may create mechanical binding that could cause the secondary hood latch to remain in the open position if the hood is not properly closed.” — Nissan
The 2015 hood latch recall fix involved a dealer checking the secondary latch and applying rust treatment if the hood latch didn't move properly, replacing any latch that didn't move freely. Technicians were also told to apply white lithium grease to the hood latch.
Nissan Altima Hood Latch Recall (2016)
A third Altima recall was issued in 2016 for about 846,000 model year 2013-2015 Nissan cars, and again a supplier was blamed for the hood latch problem. The 2016 recall fix involved Nissan replacing the hood latch assembly.
Nissan Altima Hood Latch Recall (2020)
The fourth hood latch recall included more than 1.8 million model year 2013-2018 Altima cars because of the “front end design, anti-corrosion limitations and location of the hood latch release in close proximity to the fuel door release.”
Nissan said in 2020 it was aware of 16 minor crashes and injuries related to door latches that weren't replaced during earlier door latch recalls.
But the class action lawsuit points out when Nissan announced the 2020 Altima recall, the automaker said the “remedy plan is currently under development.”
The lawsuit also says Nissan continues to blame everyone for the hood latch failures instead of properly fixing the problem.
"Nissan could have eliminated the problem altogether back in 2013 by simply using one of the many alternative designs employed on vehicles over the past century. It chose not to, instead electing to subject its customers to repetitive, involuntary experimentation on a critical safety issue." — Nissan Altima class action lawsuit
The Nissan Altima hood latch class action lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, San Francisco Division: Miller, et al., v. Nissan North America, Inc.
The plaintiffs are represented by Kazerouni Law Group, APC, Newsome Melton, PA, and Levin Papantonio Rafferty.