Nissan Fails To Fix Altima’s Hood Latch Problem Leading To Lawsuit

Usually when a recall rolls out on a vehicle, the problem is soon fixed. The Nissan Altima, however, continues to get stuck in an unrepairable loop with its hood latch problem

CarComplaints.com reports a lawsuit for the problem, which was filed in the U.S. District court on behalf of two Altima owners who experienced the problems. 

A row of Nissan Altima cars at a dealership
Nissan Altimas on display at a dealership | Daniel Acker/Bloomberg via Getty Images

What is the lawsuit alleging regarding the Nissan Altima?

According to CarComplaints.com, a class action lawsuit has been filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California in the San Francisco division. It alleges that Nissan has failed to fix a hood latch problem on its Altima models from 2013 to 2018.

The suit goes on to say that Nissan allegedly hasn’t fixed the latch despite issuing a total of four previous recalls on the problem. They apparently have blamed many others for the issue, but, to date, haven’t come up with a viable solution to what appears to be a manufacturing defect. 

Those involved in the lawsuit say that return springs in the secondary latch, under the hood, are too weak to keep the hood from unlatching and flying up toward the windshield. If the primary latch, from inside the vehicle, disengages the hood, the secondary one should be strong enough to keep the hood in place until you unhook it yourself. 

However, the lawsuit claims that the hood on the affected Altimas would unlatch while going down the road, traveling at any speed. With the fuel door and hood latch being so close together in the vehicle, it’s easy to accidentally unlatch the hood without even knowing it. 

The history of the hood latch recalls

RELATED: It’s Clear Who Should Buy the 2021 Nissan Altima Over the Honda Accord

If the 2013 model didn’t have enough problems to deal with, one new one was added that resulted in Nissan issuing a recall. In May 2014, an investigation was started to look into the problem. As a result, Nissan concluded there were debris and corrosion in between the inner hood panel and the hood latch itself. 

This, the company reported, was the cause of the problem and so a recall was put out for 220,000 2013 model vehicles to either replace the latch assembly or bend the latch so that it wouldn’t remain open. 

Apparently, that didn’t resolve the issue because in 2015, another recall went out. This time it was for 625,000 Altimas from 2013 to 2015 model years. However, Nissan blamed the anti-corrosion paint peeling and causing corrosion on the latch. Dealers were to replace latches that didn’t move freely or apply a rust treatment if the latches moved fine. 

2016 saw another recall go out for the very same hood latch problem. This time it was 846,000 Altima models from 2013 to 2015. Nissan claimed it was another supplier’s neglect of their product that caused the hood to unlatch. 

In 2020, the fourth recall came out. This time it was for 1.8 million affected Altima vehicles from 2013 to 2018. Nissan blamed the minor crashes and injuries that resulted from the hood latch issue, but the lawsuit points out a remark the automaker made where they claim the solution is under development. 

An overview of the 2021 Nissan Altima

The new Nissan Altima doesn’t come with much convenience tech, but offers a nice amount of standard safety features. Some of those being automatic emergency braking, and cruise control. There is even more equipment you can access, but you do have to pay a bit more to get them. 

One available feature it does come with that you don’t often see in the sedan market is the all-wheel drive. This helps the vehicle grip the road better when driving in snowy or slippery conditions if you often travel in wintry areas. Under the hood is a standard 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 188 hp, which gets an estimated 32 mpg combined. 

With the new Altima, you can expect five different trim levels to choose from. There’s the Altima S, SV, SR, SR VC-Turbo, and the SL. Prices range from approximately $24,300 to $29,900 to start. 

The 2013 to 2018 models of the Nissan Altima are still plagued with the hood latch problem. If you go with the new one, you’re likely to get a reliable vehicle at a good price.