Q: 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?
— Nancy M.
A: 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 old-school 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.”
Q: 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 then 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.
Fortunately they only
charged me 1 1/2 hours labor; no charge for the oil pressure sensor,
and re-installed my original instrument cluster. This is absolutely
driving me crazy. Hopefully you can provide some insight.
— Michael C.
A: I ran 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.