Un­der the hood: Head­lamps on Al­tima have a fa­mil­iar prob­lem

Lodi News-Sentinel - - WHEELS - — Nancy M. BRAD BERGHOLDT — Michael C.

I own a 2014 Al­tima SV, and the low beam head­lights are in­creas­ingly dim. My hus­band re­placed the bulbs, but there was no change. Upon fur­ther in­spec­tion, it ap­pears to us that the mag­ni­fier lens is cloudy. I’ve re­sorted to us­ing high beams when driv­ing at night. This is ob­vi­ously a safety is­sue. I did some on­line searches & find that other Al­tima own­ers are ex­pe­ri­enc­ing the same prob­lem. I had a case with Nis­san North Amer­ica, but they just re­fer me back to the lo­cal deal­er­ships. The two deal­er­ships I’ve con­tacted said they couldn’t find any prob­lem. Nei­ther both­ered to drive the car at night; in­stead, they of­fered to re­place the bulbs for a cost of ap­prox­i­mately $150! Can you of­fer any as­sis­tance?

This is a com­mon beef with 2013-2015 Al­tima own­ers! Ap­par­ently the pro­jec­tor units within the head­lamp hous­ings do a lousy job that gets worse with time to the point of be­ing a safety com­plaint. Pro­jec­tor head­lamps use a com­bi­na­tion of op­ti­cal tricks and a lens to more ac­cu­rately fo­cus ei­ther con­ven­tional halo­gen, LED or HID il­lu­mi­na­tion than larger old­school re­flec­tor type head­lamp hous­ings. At least, in the­ory they do.

I be­lieve you have two op­tions. The first is to turn up the heat with fel­low Al­tima own­ers via var­i­ous car com­plaint web­sites, con­nect with a law firm in­ves­ti­gat­ing a re­lated class ac­tion law­suit, and file a safety com­plaint with the Na­tional High­way Traf­fic Safety Ad­min­is­tra­tion. Hope­fully Nis­san will step up and do the right thing! Op­tion two is take a $200 to $300 gam­ble with a pair of af­ter­mar­ket head­lamp pro­jec­tor hous­ings or retro-fit pro­jec­tors. One pro­jec­tor brand that looks promis­ing is Mo­ri­moto, sold through “The Retro­fit Source.”

I am ex­pe­ri­enc­ing a prob­lem with my 2002 Chevy Avalanche (5.3 liter en­gine). The oil pres­sure gauge re­cently be­gan stick­ing at 40 psi when I turn the en­gine off. If I restart the en­gine, it then goes to 0 psi and then to its nor­mal range of 40 to 60 psi de­pend­ing on en­gine rpm. I took it to the lo­cal Chevy dealer and they re­placed the oil pres­sure sen­sor, but this did not help. Then the dealer re­placed the in­stru­ment clus­ter. This also did not help — the oil pres­sure still did not re­turn to 0 psi. They fi­nally opened up a tac case for as­sis­tance. The re­sults of the tac case was “that this is a rare but nor­mal oc­cur­rence for this year, make and model.” The dealer said that there was not any­thing else they could do and I would just have to live with the is­sue.

Iran your symp­toms past Mike Kin­cer, a GM in­stru­ment panel re­build­ing ex­pert (Kin­cer’s Ser­vice, Mt. Ver­non, Ky.), and the con­sen­sus is your dealer and GM are straight shoot­ing on this. 2002 was the fi­nal year of the al­most bul­let­proof air core in­stru­ment gauges, which were fol­lowed by much more prob­lem­atic step­per mo­tor gauges (a large part of his busi­ness in­volves fix­ing in­stru­ment clus­ters con­tain­ing th­ese). Air core gauges tend to float at shut­off. As long as the gauge snaps to zero at startup and reads prop­erly while driv­ing, there isn’t any­thing to fix! My Chevy Ta­hoe does the ex­act same thing.

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