So I woke up this morning and called around to find a cheaper tow truck (the one the dealership forwarded me to was $85. I found one for $65). Since I was leaving out of town I worked with the tow truck driver to set it up so I could pay him and leave the keys in the car for him to transfer to the dealership. I left a check and the keys in an envelope and left the door unlocked. After flying from Charleston to Maryland I received a call from my wife who informed me that the Tow truck driver was there and that the driver was able to start my car! Excellent news! I talked to the driver and asked if the Key light was still on and he said no. Whatever the issue was with the key may not have been related to the Steering lock.
After I got off the plane I called the dealership to determine what to do next and learn more about the Steering Lock issue. The service rep told me to still bring the car in to get it checked out. When I get home I will bring it in. I asked the Rep another question that I think is key to the Steering Lock issue that I had been brainstorming all morning. I asked him “When you replace Steering Locks on cars with that issue do you replace the part with the same part or a new part which does not have the issue”. The service rep replied that he was not 100% positive but he believes that the part was newer and did not have the same issue. I also asked him if my car was ok, was there anything I could do to prevent the Steering Lock to fail the way it has for so many others. His response was not what I wanted to hear. He claimed that the Steering Lock was all electronic and that there is nothing I could do to prevent the issue from happening 😦 ! WTF! So in short, I am (and you are if you are a 2009 Nissan Altima driver) driving a ticking time bomb!
On the way to my destination I called 1-800-Nissan1 to talk to a representative. I pretty much summed up my situation thus far and asked them to provide me any details they could about the part in my car (they have my VIN number from a previous call). The woman pretty much said that there was nothing that they could do until I took my car to the dealership to get it looked at. I asked them for any statistics on the issue, any formal position, who is in charge of QA for this vehicle, what is the process Nissan uses to determine that there is an issue and a recall is necessary. As could be expected, she had no knowledge on any of these items.
In short my goal is to get Nissan to replace this part with known issues. From my research so far they appear to have had a recall for the same part in other cars and they took the part out of their 2010 model. Both signs point to a known issue. Even is my current issue with my car has nothing to do with the Steering lock I do not want to drive my car knowing that it has a faulty part in it. To move forward I have to get an analysis from the dealership including costs to replace the Steering Lock. Once I have that they will assign my case to a regional rep who will work with me on the “Escalation”. I expect that the escalation will have zero success but so far I have had one surprise. Maybe they will give me another.
Once I take in my car and learn details on the current Steering Lock part number and the part number of the part that they would replace it with in the event that I did have a faulty Steering Lock I will update this blog again. In the mean time, I am going snowboarding 🙂
After learning that the Warranty has been discontinued as of January 1st 2016 I have learned that everyone’s only hope is to file a complaint with the National Highway Traffic Safety administration. This is step one to teiggering a recall. Make sure you detail the dangers of this defect (e.g if the defect happened in the wild you could have died). If enough people share this level of detail they may open an investigation on this issue and demand a recall. If a recall is performed all users who paid for the repair will be refunded. Here is the form. Anyone can submit so have all members of your family at risk due to this issue submit.