Tuesday, July 9, 2013

2010 Nissan Armada Headlights - Moisture

Last fall I noticed that there was some moisture inside the passenger side headlight assembly of our 2010 Nissan Armada.  The vehicle was out of warranty by about 8 months and 10,000 miles, so I didn't have much hope of getting it resolved by the dealership.  I hoped that over the winter, it might "resolve" itself, but that didn't hold true.  So I called the dealership in Olathe, Kansas to get an estimate.  They told me that I should come in to have it looked at, but typically those assemblies run about $400 plus labor.  FOUR HUNDRED BUCKS for a headlight that should have lasted a decade, that failed after less than 4 years.  Needless to say I was a little upset.  I emailed Nissan USA's customer support and after a couple of days hadn't heard anything.  So I took some pictures of the headlight, and posted it to the Nissan USA Facebook page, along with my story.  Within 20 minutes the posting was removed and a marketing manager responded with a private message on Facebook.  Later that day, after some back and forth messing, a customer service representative named Kim called me.  She said that she was going to assist me and opened a case for investigation.  She said that in order for her to proceed, I would need to take the vehicle to the dealership to be officially diagnosed and have a work order produced.

I live about 40 miles from the closest Nissan dealership (or at least the one that I bought from) so I don't get up there all that often.  I VERY much like the maintenance and sales guys at McCarthy Nissan and would recommend them to anybody.  Jason, the sales manager, was a high school soccer teammate of mine and is extremely laid back, trustworthy guy.  The people in the maintenance department go out of their way to help and are extremely professional.

With that said it took me a few months before I was able to take time out to stop into the dealership to have it checked out.  In the mean time the OTHER headlight has now developed some moisture inside it as well.  When I got up to Olathe, and talked with the customer service guy in their shop, he said this almost NEVER happens.  This tells me there is some sort of failure of this set of headlights.  In my opinion, regardless if I am out of warranty, this is a manufacturing failure, and I shouldn't be responsible.  The final estimate for BOTH assemblies is now at a whopping $1013.90.

I submitted this information back to Kim at Nissan USA and after a couple of days she contacted me and said that they would reimburse McCarthy Nissan for the headlights after the work was performed, but I would be responsible for the labor.  I called McCarthy and they told me the labor would be about $250.  So now I'm looking at paying out of pocket for the labor, plus 160 miles of travel for both trips to the dealership, several hours of my time spent sitting in the waiting room, all because a headlight assembly failure that is obviously a manufacturing flaw.  This still doesn't feel right to me.

I called a local body shop that I trust, here in our home town.  He said they could do it for about $125 if I can get Nissan to send me the parts.  So now I've called Kim back at Nissan USA and asked if that was an option, or if I could negotiate a more reasonable rate at the Olathe dealership for the labor.  To be totally honest, I don't want to pay anything.  I've already spent my time, energy, and GAS dealing with an issue that is not my fault and shouldn't have happened.

I'll post the pictures of the headlight below.  I'm not talking about a little bit of condensation.  I'm talking about a small rain forest growing inside the headlight.  During the winter, the moisture would freeze and it actually degraded the performance of the headlight dramatically.