ORLANDO,Fla. - Action 9 is investigating complaints against two popular Nissan SUV's that drivers claim suddenly lose power.
One local family sued Nissan after a fatal crash, blaming a defective transmission and a Kissimmee woman told Action 9 she's afraid to drive a vehicle that can't be fixed.
There was no warning when Lydia Sanchez was behind the wheel of her Nissan Rogue going 70 mph.
“The car suddenly drops to 35 mph. Right on the turnpike it starts slowing down,” said Sanchez.
She says the speed loss is so sudden anything could happen, “and somebody (could) hit me and kill me and so it's very dangerous. Very dangerous situation.”
Each time the transmission failed she stopped until the engine cooled.
When she took her 2010 Rouge to a Nissan dealer, they said there was nothing they could do.
“They cannot fix it," Sanchez said. "I want Nissan to take responsibility and repair the problem, because it's not only me."
Other Nissan drivers are making the same claims, telling federal regulators they suddenly lost speed and it's a safety issue.
Action 9 found dozens of complaints that had been filed with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration involving 2008 to 2010 Nissan Rogues and Muranos.
Owners say their mechanics blamed the specialized continuously variable transmission, or CVT, and Nissan could not fix it.
“I believe what they experienced is a design flaw that's pretty common in CVTs used by Nissan,” said William Ourand with Newsome Law.
The firm's client is suing Nissan in a wrongful death case, claiming Bruce Kuiper was killed near Orlando after the transmission in his Murano failed and left him stranded.
While waiting for help, he was run down by another driver.
“But for that CVT failure, he would not have been stranded in the middle of the road which is a hazardous condition,” said Ourand.
Nissan did not comment on the lawsuit.
But it told Action 9 that Sanchez only went to a dealer one time, so it will arrange a second inspection and consider repairs.
The automaker had extended warranties on 2008-2010 Rogues and Muranos because of CVT issues.
“They should pay because its dangerous,” said Sanchez.
Nissan issued several technical service bulletins involving CVT transmissions because many owners reported problems, and the bulletins outline repair solutions.
Yet, many owners claim those repairs have not worked.
Once Sanchez takes her vehicle to a dealer for further inspection, Action 9 will be able to see what resolution is possible.
Nissan's response on the issue:
Our Consumer Affairs team found a case from November 2016 containing Ms. Sanchez’s phone number. She had contacted CA at the time regarding sudden deceleration concerns with her pre-owned 2010 Rogue, VIN JN8AS5MT7AW024623. The CA agent advised Ms. Sanchez the vehicle would need to be inspected at a Nissan dealer and transferred her to the service department near her. Ms. Sanchez advised them that she had already contacted NHTSA. She did not take the vehicle to a dealer, though her vehicle was still within the CVT Warranty Extension* at that time, and likely still is. Our records do not show any dealer visits since the previous owner in April 2015 and I was unable to locate any more contact with CA since the November 2016 call.
At my request, our Consumer Affairs team will call her again to arrange a dealer inspection. To answer your question, “What should this vehicle owners do?” – If anyone has concerns about the safety of any vehicle, take it to a dealer. The service department will check for all open recalls, service campaigns, service bulletins and warranty extensions that apply to the vehicle.
*The CVT Warranty Extension applies to 2008-2010 Nissan Rogues and extends the warranty to 10 years, 120,000 miles, whichever comes first. The owner letter states:
“If you seek coverage for a repair under this extended warranty you will need to bring your vehicle to an authorized Nissan dealer. The factory-trained technical staff at the Nissan dealer will have the diagnostic tools and knowledge to provide you with the appropriate service and submit your warranty claim. If you have additional questions regarding this program, contact Nissan Consumer Affairs at 800-647-7261 for assistance.”
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