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Nissan to repair melted or cracked dashboards per class action lawsuit settlement

By | Published October 26, 2016

Repairs for Florida resident owners of 2008-2009 Nissan Altimas.

Nissan melted dash board

Last February we reported that we had been receiving complaints from Nissan Altima owners here in Florida and the other hotter Southeastern states about cracked and melted dashboards in their cars. Under the out of court settlement of a class action lawsuit, Nissan has agreed to pay for most of the cost to replace your dashboard, without admitting any guilt.

How do I know if my Nissan Altima melted dashboard is covered?

That is the big question that is probably on your mind right now. Sadly a lot of you will not be covered under this repair offer. But read below to see how to determine if you are a member of the defined class which this repair settlement applies to. If you don't object by the objection cutoff date, you will automatically become a class member, you'll have to accept the settlement offer, and lose your right to sue Nissan on your own. Both the Plaintiffs in this case and Nissan agree that accepting this settlement is in all parties best interest.

Current Status of this Nissan class action lawsuit

Back in 2014 two Florida resident plaintiffs filed this class action lawsuit here in Miami against Nissan alleging the dashboards in 2008 and 2009 Nissan Altima cars began to either crack, or melt. The lawsuit is known as Sanborn, et al. v. Nissan North America, Inc., No. 0:14-cv-62567. Many of our CarBuyingTips.com visitors who own Nissan vehicles have complained to us about sticky and shiny dashboards causing distracting and glaring reflections off their windshields. We often get at least 2 or 3 complaints every week from Nissan owners, many of them are afraid to drive their cars due to the windshield glare from the shiny melted dashboards.

We have seen this problem before because when exposed to the prolonged high heat and high humidity here in Florida, car makers often fall short with melted parts. We had this same issue with our Lexus GX470, and luckily for us Lexus covered the full $2,400 repair with a special enhanced warranty on our 11 year old SUV that was 7 years outside the original manufacturer's warranty.

Plaintiffs of the Sanborn class action are asking for Nissan to pay the expense of replacing these cracked and melted dashboards. But during pre-trial arbitration, Nissan and the plaintiffs came to agreement which will benefit all members of the class action.

Nissan will replace melted and cracked dashboards less a $250 deductible

Part of the preliminary court approval of this settlement is that Nissan will pay for the repair of your dashboard if you are a class member, less a $250 deductible. You will pay the Nissan dealer $250, and Nissan will pay the remainder directly to the dealer. The actual court hearing to approve this settlement is on January 5, 2017.

Am I part of this class action lawsuit?

Not every Nissan with a melted dashboard will be repaired under this class action settlement. The court has decided that only specific people fit into this class action and to be a member of this class,

What if I already paid to have my Nissan dashboard replaced at my own expense?

If your dashboard was replaced at your expense, you can file a reimbursement request by submitting it electronically or by mail but do it now, do not wait. The deadline is June, 2017 but you don't want to wait until the end when they are busy working on everyone else's request. Avoid the anguish that many Lexus owners are currently going through after a year on the waiting list.

You can file your claim electronically on the Nissan Altima Settlement Web Site.

I prefer to do things electronically via the link above but if you are old school you can send your completed Nissan Dashboard Claim Form with proof of your $250 payment:

Sanborn v. Nissan North America Settlement Administrator
P.O. Box 30244
College Station, TX 77842-3244

Nissan's offer to replace dashboards is for Florida residents only

I know a lot of you are going to contact me asking what you should do or why your model isn't covered, or you live in Georgia, Louisiana or South Carolina. But you are on your own with this one. My best advice would be to visit local Nissan car dealer and talk personally to the service manager to see if your car qualifies in any way for a repair or secret warranty.

I am not a class member based on the court's criteria, how do I get my dashboard repaired?

If you don't live in Florida or if you have a Nissan model other than the 2008 or 2009 Altima, there's not much else you can do other than what I mentioned above for other states. You might have to file your own class action lawsuit in your state just like the 2 plaintiffs did here in Florida.

You should seek legal counsel on this or contact the counsel for the Florida lawsuit and see if they can refer a lawyer in your state or if they can file it in your state.

There is an expiration date on this class action lawsuit settlement

You better heed my warning on this, because this class action settlement expires April 29, 2017. So your Nissan Altima dashboard must be repaired by then, or you need to apply at the dealership to have your ruined dashboard documented by Nissan. Either of these must be done by April. After that, too bad, so sad.

If you fail to do it by then you are out of luck, and don't come crying to me looking for help because I warned you and there is no other way out. We warned lots of our fellow Lexus owners last year and many waited too long to get on waiting lists, and I am still hearing this week from many of them who have been on their waiting list for a year and still no end in sight.

Don't let this happen to you, learn from the Lexus owner's mistakes, get in there now to your Nissan dealer and get your car documented and repaired.

Summary of our tips for you to ensure your Nissan dash is repaired:

  1. If Nissan or the settlement administrator sent you a letter file it in safe place
  2. Call your Nissan dealer ASAP and ask if they have started a will call list
  3. Get your name on the list, ask when dashboards will be in
  4. Write down name of service writer you spoke to
  5. Have them confirm all your car's VIN# info in their system
  6. Confirm your car is eligible under this settlement
  7. Do all of this now, don't wait a day, you'll end up at the bottom of a rapidly growing list
  8. Call dealer often for status updates on date they expect dashboards in
  9. Re-confirm they still have your name on the will call list
  10. Don't wait until April 29, that is the last day to get repaired or documented for repair

Be sure to read these articles we posted last year about the Lexus dashboard problem and see what all us owners went through, and how you can avoid painful waiting in line to get yours repaired. Read the comments on our blog posts below from Lexus owners and you'll get a taste for the frustration that awaits you going forward, and why you really need to put the pedal to the metal now.

Be sure to let us know below in the comments how your crusade to get your Nissan dash repaired is going.

Author Jeff Ostroff

About The Author: Jeff Ostroff is a consumer advocate, Founding Editor and CEO of CarBuyingTips.com overseeing a team of expert authors. For over 17 years, he's been the recognized authority on car buying, leasing, used cars and financing. He developed sophisticated spreadsheet tools to help consumers negotiate on a level playing field. He is a widely sought out guru, cited by the press for his expertise in savvy car buying and preventing consumer scams. Jeff has been quoted in CNN, Bloomberg, MSNBC, Wall street Journal, Consumer Reports, NY Times, Reader's Digest, and many live call in radio shows. He has covered the automotive space since 1997. Jeff also has extensive experience and expertise in selling used cars for clients on eBay and Craigslist. Connect with Jeff via Email, Twitter or on Google+.

CarBuyingTips.com has affiliate referral relationships with multiple web sites. This means that for many of the links you see on this site, we are paid referral fees for leads generated from visitors that click on links or fill out forms on this site. In some cases we are paid a commission for a purchase made on a site that is linked to from CarBuyingTips.com. Please view our advertising policy page for more information.