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Under the Hood: What's up with Nissan Rogue heating problems

Brad Bergholdt, Tribune News Service on

Published in Business News

Q. I have a 2015 Nissan Rogue, which I love. I also have no problems with my dealer in Dubuque. The heater went out on my Rogue on one of the coldest days of the year. It would only blow cold air. The vehicle is still under warranty and was repaired, and my dealer got me a rental while it was being repaired. My question is this: How many repairs on this known problem have to happen to constitute a recall on the defect? I did go online, and apparently this is a known problem with this year's model. My Rogue, luckily, was still under warranty. What if this would have happened next year when the warranty had expired? It would have cost me approximately $1,600 dollars for the repairs. This would have made me very angry, because the company is aware of the problem and did not recall the problem.

I did contact Nissan customer service with this question, and basically I got the run-around. I and other 2015 Rogue owners would appreciate the information.

Susan

A. You are correct that heater/AC issues are also complained about by other Rogue owners in the 2014-2017 range. In cold weather areas this can be a safety issue due to inadequate windshield defrosting. When a certain number of complaints and/or warranty reimbursements occur for a given problem a car company will likely engineer a correction and issue a technical service bulletin spelling out how to implement the solution. They may also take a variety of actions ranging from providing warranty repairs to a "squeaky wheel" out-of-warranty assistance/policy adjustment, to a voluntary customer satisfaction campaign, or perhaps finally a NHTSA mandated safety recall.

Nissan released several technical service bulletins for improper heating/ventilation performance, including incorrect temperature output and/or air delivery location for vehicles in your range. The most recent -- #NTB15-045E, issued August 4, 2017 -- indicates certain vehicles equipped with the manual HVAC system might benefit from replacement of the "front air control unit."

I am by no means a legal expert but hope to offer a few thoughts vehicle owners might find useful. If the dealer is unable to provide the necessary correction for a problem -- or, in this case, a seeming pattern failure that might arise after the warranty period -- contact the manufacturer's customer service folks and start off nice, telling of your family history and overall satisfaction with that brand. Gently make them aware that the web is indicating more than occasional consumer concern of the issue.

Be sure to obtain written documentation of your concerns and/or repair attempts both in and out of warranty. Ask for assistance and obtain their response in writing. If you are shot down for an out-of-warranty policy adjustment, you might then join the club of folks complaining about the issue at www.carcomplaints.com, and in this case perhaps www.nissanproblems.com.

It also wouldn't hurt to get your nose into various owners' forums to see how others may be dealing with the same concern (take this info with a grain of salt). I think the more widespread the issue becomes known, the more likely a car company will take helpful action

If it's a potential safety issue one can go to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration website (use www.safercar.gov and "vehicle owners"). You can search for recalls, check for active investigations, and report a possible safety problem.

About The Writer

Brad Bergholdt is an automotive technology instructor at Evergreen Valley College in San Jose, Calif. Readers may send him email at bradbergholdt@gmail.com; he cannot make personal replies.

(c)2018 Tribune Content Agency, LLC

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