Hundreds of motorists have filed complaints that the bottoms of their older-model Nissans are rusting through, potentially putting them at risk while on the road.
Over 400 complaints about 2002-2006 Altima sedans rusting from the inside out have been filed with the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA).
This has prompted a putative class action lawsuit, where Nissan is accused of not only knowing about the defect, but hiding it from consumers.
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Experts believe that the cars have a design defect that allows water to accumulate above the floor pan and prevents the water from draining, so that the floorboards are rusting from inside out. The average rust spot is from 5 to 10 inches wide, with some owners reporting gaping 20 inch wide holes.
Although many of the consumer complaints filed with the NHTSA are from cold-weather states, consumers from across the country have reported problems. Nissan estimates that 800,000 Altimas were sold between 2002 and 2006. However, the car manufacturer claims the corrosion in older cars is not unusual and says it does not plan to issue a recall. The NHTSA has not initiated a recall of the rusting floorboards or identified a safety hazard.
Since older model cars are affected, repair costs are normally greater than the resale value of the vehicles themselves. Adding insult to injury, the car manufacturer is refusing to cover repair costs, which are thousands of dollars.
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