— A Nissan power valve screws lawsuit settlement agreement has been reached for current or former owners or lessees who purchased or leased the following vehicles in California: 2001-2004 Nissan Pathfinders with VQ35 engines, and 2002-2005 Nissan Altima and Sentra vehicles equipped with QR25 engines .
The lawsuit alleges Nissan Altima, Pathfinder and Sentra vehicles have power valve screws located on the intake manifolds that can come loose and be sucked into the engines, damaging the engines that require expensive repairs. Symptoms include warning lights activating, unstable engine idling and a loss of power while driving.
In September 2004, plaintiff Adrian Fox bought a 2002 Nissan Pathfinder with a five-year warranty that expired in 2007. In 2009, Fox says he towed the Pathfinder to a repair shop because a loud banging noise made him stop driving the SUV.
The mechanic allegedly discovered two power valve screws in the intake manifold had loosened, detached and been sucked into the engine, damaging it beyond repair.
Nissan refused to replace the engine because the warranty expired before the damage occurred. Fox says he had no choice but to pay thousands of dollars to replace the engine.
Plaintiff William McMullen says he owned a 2003 Nissan Altima covered by a five-year warranty that expired in 2008. In September 2009, he heard a loud noise from his vehicle and noticed it started running poorly. A mechanic examined the engine and told McMullen that unriveted screws holding together a butterfly valve had vibrated out of place and had been sucked into the engine.
McMullen spent about $500 to attempt an engine repair but the same problem occurred a month later when McMullen's engine failed and the vehicle lost power while he was driving on the freeway. Nissan refused to replace the Altima's engine, as the engine warranty period had run out before the engine failed.
In September 2003, plaintiff Scott Winkler leased a 2003 Nissan Pathfinder LE and purchased a five-year extended warranty from Nissan, which expired in 2008. In 2005, Winkler purchased the vehicle from Nissan.
In November 2009, Winkler heard a loud noise while driving the Pathfinder and had the SUV towed to an authorized Nissan dealer. The dealer advised him that one or more power valve screws had loosened, detached and fallen into the engine, requiring it to be rebuilt or replaced.
Nissan refused to replace the engine because the warranty had expired, so Winkler had his engine rebuilt at a cost of $3,850 and spent $600 in rental car charges.
Fox filed the Nissan power valve screws lawsuit in July 2009 alleging Nissan knew the SUVs were defective and failed to tell consumers about the problems. The lawsuit alleges the engines were built using power valve screws that were prone to loosen and detach, sometimes causing engine failure or loss of vehicle control.
Nissan argues a five-year warranty lasts for five years only and the court agreed, saying alleged latent defects discovered after expiration of the express warranty period are not covered under the warranty. The court also ruled Mr. Fox failed to plead fraud and the intent to deceive, and failed to plead the existence of "vertical privity between Fox and Nissan to support an implied warranty claim."
The judge allowed the lawsuit to be amended a total of four times when finally the case was dismissed without leave to amend in 2010. But the plaintiffs appealed and the lawsuit was sent back to the trial court.
Nissan said there is nothing wrong with the vehicles and the automaker denies all wrongdoing. However, Nissan has been fighting in court for years and the company says it has agreed to settle to avoid the expense of additional litigation.
Once again, the lawsuit includes current or former owners or lessees who purchased or leased the following Nissan vehicles in California: 2001-2004 Nissan Pathfinders with VQ35 engines and 2002-2005 Nissan Altima and Sentra vehicles equipped with QR25 engines.
According to the settlement agreement, if your Nissan vehicle had engine damage because of a loose power valve screw, you may be entitled to reimbursement of engine repair costs up to $3000 for engine replacement and up to $1500 for engine repairs, provided the damage occurred within 12 years or 120,000 miles, whichever comes first, and you paid for the repair out of pocket.
However, owners and lessees are not eligible if the damage happened within the 5-year/60,000 mile warranty period or was covered in Nissan's voluntary service campaign where the repairs were paid by Nissan.
The Nissan power valve screws lawsuit was filed in the Superior Court of the State of California, County of San Francisco - Fox, et al. v. Nissan North America, Inc.
To learn more, visit NissanPowerValveScrewSettlement.com.
CarComplaints.com has complaints about the Nissan vehicles included in the power valve screws lawsuit: