Is Your Nissan Dashboard Melting?

Center for Auto Safety Calls for Federal Action

Andy Spears
3 min readOct 11, 2021


The Center for Auto Safety (CAS)is calling for a federal government response to a melting dashboard issue occurring in a number of Nissan cars, particularly Altimas.

The CAS has notified the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) of a persistent melting dashboard issue and is asking for a coordinated response.

Specifically, complaints from consumers allege some “Nissan dashboards degrade over time in warmer environments resulting in a number of safety concerns, including a glare hazard frequently noted by drivers, the potential for interference with proper airbag deployment, or possible chemical exposure due to materials failure.”

“For a decade CAS has regularly received complaints on degraded Nissan dashboards creating issues including difficulty driving safely due to glare, interior stickiness, and foul odors,” said Jason Levine, Executive Director of the Center for Auto Safety. “Even a cursory look at NHTSA’s consumer complaints data raises significant concerns, as more than 1,000 complaints have been lodged with the agency, including over 700 complaints on 2007–2013 Nissan Altima vehicles alone.”

Nissan settled a class action lawsuit seeking replacement of defective 2008–2009 Nissan Altima vehicle dashboards in 2017, but only in Florida, only for a limited time, and only agreed to subsidize the consumer cost. Outside of court many owners report having received little assistance from Nissan to rectify their complaint.

Levine said, “CAS continues to receive numerous consumer complaints, including some as recently as this week, about Nissan vehicles with so-called ‘melting’ dashboards having origins in Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Texas, and include both Nissan Altima and Maxima models from model years 2008–2012.”

The risk from these dashboards is actually three-fold: the degradation causing glare, potential interference with airbag deployment by the modification of the dashboard’s original structural properties in the plastic substrate material properties, and potential consumer exposure to harmful chemicals like phthalates exuded from the degrading dashboard.

CAS offered several examples of the types of challenges consumers are facing with these dashboards. Here’s one:



Andy Spears

Writer and policy advocate living in Nashville, TN —Public Policy Ph.D. — writes on education policy, consumer affairs, and more . . .