This article was written by Brian Jones, trusted ASE Certified Master Tech and Lemberg Law Expert Automotive Contributor
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Problems with the Brakes
When a driver puts their foot on the brake, they expect the car to slow down and stop. This is one of the basic safety systems included in today’s vehicles, and it must work properly. Sadly, Altima owners aren’t finding that to be the case.
One reviewer wrote on the NHTSA website, “I drive a black 2018 Nissan Altima SR Special Edition. My car currently has 24,000 miles on it. As I was driving down the street, my automatic braking system was activated and my car slowed down and tried to stop on its own. I understand that the purpose of the ABS is to assist drivers in safely stopping the vehicle when they are too close to an object and/or another car in front of them. However, there was no car in front of me when this occurred. It is now happening consistently and I’m afraid to drive it, especially with my two-year-old son in the car. This could be very dangerous and potentially fatal if it happens at the wrong time.”
When looking through the 57 manufacturer communications listed, we don’t see anything related to the braking system. On the other hand, the company has spent 28 service bulletins talking about various equipment such as the navigation system or microphone not working correctly. Apparently, brakes are far less important to them.
Here are some actual complaints logged with the NHTSA about the 2018 Nissan Altima Braking Problems:
I BOUGHT MY 2018 NISSAN ALTIMA SR MIDNIGHT EDITION AROUND OCTOBER 2018. WHEN I REACHED ABOUT 8,500 MILES THE CARS FRONT RADAR SENSOR WENT OFF, AND MY ALTIMA WOULD SAY FRONT RADAR UNAVAILABLE DUE TO OBSTRUCTION, AND THIS WOULD GO ON AND OFF THE WHOLE WEEK. I CALLED THE DEALER AND THEY TOLD ME TO COME AND WELL TAKE A LOOK AT IT. THAT WEEK I WENT TO THE DEALERSHIP AND THEY TOLD ME THAT ITS COVER BY WARRANTY AND THAT THE FRONT RADAR SENSOR NEEDS TO BE RECALIBRATED. WAITED THE WHOLE DAY FOR THEM TO FIX IT. WHEN I LEFT THE DEALERSHIP 10 MILES OUT THE FRONT RADAR WENT OFF AGAIN, AND I WAS FUMING THAT MY NEW CAR IS DOING THIS. I CALLED BACK AND TOLD THE THAT THE SENSOR IS DOING THE SAME THING AGAIN. THEY TOLD ME THAT THEY WILL ORDER AND NEW SENSOR FOR YOU AND WILL FIX IT WHEN THE PART ARRIVES. TWO WEEKS LATER THE DEALERSHIP NEVER CALLED OR EMILED ME. I CALL THEM UP AND THEY SAID THAT THE PART IS HERE AND TO BRING THE CAR IN ANYTIME. SO I GO IN TO THE DEALERSHIP AND THEY CHANGED THE PART. DAY 1 WAS GOOD NO ISSUES. DAY 2 WAS GOOD NO ISSUES. DAY 3 THE CARS ABS SYSTEM KICKS IN AND BRINGS MY CAR TO A FULL STOP FOR NO REASON WHAT SO EVER. THERE WAS NO CAR IN FRONT OF ME, NO PEDESTRIANS NOTHING. THE WEATHER WAS A CLEAR SUNNY DAY AND I DRIVING IN MANHATTAN WITH A CLIENT IN MY CAR GOING 25 MPH. THE WHOLE CAR WAS SHAKING I HEARD THE TIRE SKID AND THE WHOLE CAR WAS SHAKING, I GOT SOO SCARED. THE CAR BEHIND ME ALMOST HIT ME AND THE GUY COMES OUT HIS CAR ARGUING WITH ME ON WHY I STOPED SUDDENLY FOR NO REASON. I TOLD HIM IT WASNT ME THE CAR STOPED ON ITS OWN, BUT HE DIDNT BELIEVE ME AND GAVE ME A COUPLE CUSS WORDS. I WAS IN RAGE, AND SCARED AT THE SAME TIME. I CALLED THE DEALERSHIP AGAIN AND TOLD THEM THE ISSUES, THEY TOLD ME COME IN AND WELL LOOK AT IT FOR YOU. IM SO ANGRY BECAUSE I COULD HAVE BEEN IN AN ACCIDENT FORM THE SAME THING THAT IS SUPPOSED TO PREVENT AN ACCIDENT.
Problems with the Forward Collision-Avoidance System
Part of the way that today’s cars remain “modern” is to include sophisticated safety systems, including forward collision avoidance. This valuable tool helps drivers to avoid a collision when everything is working correctly.
Here is what one user had to say on the NHTSA website, “Purchased Nissan Altima S 2018, the AEB “Automatic Emergency Braking” does not function at any time. The computer will not establish a code for it not working either. It’s either a faulty computer not establishing a code or the AEB is faulty.”
Again, we see nothing related to these valuable systems listed through the automaker’s service bulletins. We wonder why they don’t feel it’s necessary to work out the safety systems and braking components to ensure that collisions don’t occur. It might be bold and modern looking, but its systems aren’t on par with what you would expect from a newer vehicle.
Here are some actual complaints logged with the NHTSA about the 2018 Nissan Altima Forward Collision Avoidance Problems:
PURCHASED NISSAN ALTIMA S 2018 , THE AEB “AUTOMATIC EMERGENCY BREAKING ” DOES NOT FUNCTION AT ANY TIME, THE COMPUTER WILL NOT ESTABLISH A CODE FOR IT NOT WORKING EITHER. IT’S EITHER A FAULTY COMPUTER NOT ESTABLISHING A CODE OR THE THE AEB IS FAULTY. WILL NOT ATTEMPT TO STOP FOR A PEDESTRIAN CROSSING IN THE CROSS WALKS, WILL NOT APPLY MORE BREAKING PRESSURE IF I’M NOT APPLYING ENOUGH. HAVE TALKED DEALERSHIP IN SHELBY, NC. HAVE TALKED TO NISSAN CORPORATE , BOTH DENIE THAT ANYTHING IS WRONG,SIMPLY BECAUSE THE COMPUTER WILL NOT THROW A CODE. THE FACT OF THE MATTER IS “IT WILL NOT OPERATE” CODE OR NO CODE. THIS IS A SAFETY FEATURE I WANTED ,REASON FOR PICKING THE CAR OUT. HAS PEOPLE AGE THEIR REFLEXES GET SLOWER ON SOME INDIVIDUALS, AND SOME PEOPLE TAKE THEIR EYES OFF THE ROAD TO MAKE AN ADJUSTMENT TO SOME OTHER FEATURES AS MIRROR ADJ. CRUISE CONTROLS ETC. WILL NOT GIVE ME A CAR THAT THE FEATURE WORKS ON. EXCHANGED CARS ON ME AFTER I TOOK A TEST DRIVE THAT THE FEATURE DID WORK .DEMANDED IT BE FIXED OR FIRST PAYMENT WILL NOT BE MADE ,TO COME AND GET IT IF NISSAN WILL NOT FIX CAR OR REPLACE CAR.
Problems with the Steering
Many drivers don’t think that the steering is considered a safety feature, but when these parts fail, it becomes impossible to remain accident-free. We see the same situation occurring with the steering as we did with other components.
Here is what one driver had to say when they filed a report with the NHTSA. “The contact owns a 2018 Nissan Altima. The contact purchased a lemon (2017 Nissan vehicle) and swapped it out for a 2018 Altima. The contact stated that the steering wheel in the 2018 Altima made clicking and popping noises when turned, which possibly were caused by the linkage in the steering wheel. The vehicle was taken to several unknown Nissan dealers, but they claimed that there was nothing to repair. The contact believed that the original dealer (Don David Nissan, 1320 I-20 Frontage Road, Arlington, TX 76018, (877) 415-3218) was conducting unethical business practices with her vehicle transactions. The contact had been in touch with several agencies, including the Better Business Bureau, to plead her case. The failure mileage was 3,400.”
What a fiasco for this owner. First, she owned a 2017 Nissan, which turned out to be a lemon. The process of dealing with a lemon car can be overwhelming, so we can only imagine what she had to go through to get an upgrade to the 2018 Altima. However, once she received her brand new Nissan, she only ran into more trouble.
In the service bulletin marked with reference number NTB19-008a, there is one steering concern that has nothing to do with the above-mentioned complaint. In this report, the automaker talks about how an unsuccessful key registration after BCM replacement causes the P161D code to set once the ignition is turned on. The possible causes listed include improper key registration, defective electronic power steering control unit, malfunctioning intelligent key control unit or faulty BCM. Clearly, this isn’t what the owner of the lemon Nissans was experiencing, but it’s all that the company is willing to talk about – publically anyway.
Here are some actual complaints logged with the NHTSA about the 2018 Nissan Altima Structural Problems:
TL* THE CONTACT OWNS A 2018 NISSAN ALTIMA. THE CONTACT STATED THAT THE STEERING WHEEL IN THE 2018 ALTIMA MADE CLICKING AND POPPING NOISES WHEN TURNED, WHICH POSSIBLY WERE CAUSED BY THE LINKAGE IN THE STEERING WHEEL. THE VEHICLE WAS TAKEN TO SEVERAL UNKNOWN NISSAN DEALERS, BUT THEY CLAIMED THAT THERE WAS NOTHING TO REPAIR. THE CONTACT BELIEVED THAT THE ORIGINAL DEALER WAS CONDUCTING UNETHICAL BUSINESS PRACTICES WITH HER VEHICLE TRANSACTIONS. THE CONTACT HAD BEEN IN TOUCH WITH SEVERAL AGENCIES, INCLUDING THE BETTER BUSINESS BUREAU, TO PLEAD HER CASE. THE FAILURE MILEAGE WAS 3,400.
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