Passenger Airbag Light Off with passenger seated in seat
RIVIERA BEACH, FLORIDA -- We purchased a new 2010 Altima 2.5 S March 27th. April 9th, 2010, we noticed the passenger airbag off light illuminated with an adult passenger seat-belted and sitting properly in seat while driving. During the weekend, we found sometimes the airbag would function correctly other times it would come on for no apparent reason with no particular pattern. We called Napleton's Nissan to report problem. Went in on the following Monday and the service technician said no codes showed anything was wrong and the car was working fine. We told him 3 people had witnessed it occurred and it appeared to happen intermittently. The technician agreed to take it for a test drive and I asked if I could go with him since I was the passenger in the seat when it occurred. He had his computer with him and thankfully, the light came on (showing the airbag wasn't working) exactly as we'd described. We asked why didn't the codes show it the error and he didn't know but said they'd replace the bladder in the seat to correct the problem. They did the repair days later, we went on another test drive, everything was fine yet when we were driving back home, the airbag light came back on again. We went back to the service department and told them the light had come on again. The technician (who was very helpful and concerned) said he'd call Nissan engineers to discuss the problem with them and suggested we file a complaint so they'd get on board with what was going on.
We brought the car in days later so they could check out the car again. They had other techs get in and out of the car and couldn't duplicate the problem. A regional specialist also says there is nothing wrong with our car. When asked if there was nothing wrong with it, why didn't the error codes ever show up from the beginning, how did they explain the service tech saw the malfunction occur himself and why had the bladder been replaced then? Regional specialist's answer was she's not a technician and she wasn't there to see it happen and there's nothing wrong with my car!) Oddly enough, this dealership rented me another Altima (2009) while mine was being checked out and the light came on just like mine did. When I reported that to the service manager (John) his response was it must have to do with my weight distribution (I'm 5'5" tall and weigh 150 lbs.)and since I'd had the problem in 2 Altimas, he believed they could pick out 5 Altimas at random off the lot and the light would go on in each one of them. I said lets try it but of course he didn't. (I must have a magic butt/legs that causes airbag light to come on I guess.)
The service manager also told me within the past 2 weeks, they had another customer who had purchased a 2010 Murano from Napleton's Nissan in Riviera Beach, FL, (same as me) and they had the same issue. The service manager told me the light came on when he (mgr) was sitting in the seat because he shifted his weight. (If his airbag system is like mine, shifting your weight does not cause the light to come on - or is that another malfunction with my airbag?) The service manager believed it was due to the man wearing leg braces that caused his weight distribution to not meet with the seat properly so that was causing his problem. When I asked how receptive they were to his explanation, he said they accepted it. The service manager admits there may be a problem in a few cars but as far as they are concerned, the car is working properly as Nissan designed it. Furthermore, the service manager told me I was not to bring the car back in for service for the same problem (my Nissan manual clearly states the car needs to be serviced if that occurs) and it is working exactly as Nissan designed it. They also had a new Nissan field representative who checked out the car (according to the service mgr, Larry, the new field rep, had encountered a similar problem with Cadillacs and he was going to see if Nissan would listen to what he came up with to solve that problem.) I received a call today from the Nissan Regional Spec., who said the field representative had determined there was nothing wrong with my car and it was working as Nissan had designed it.
I don't want anyone to think I hate my Altima. I like the car - my problem is I have a new car with a malfunctioning airbag system, codes are not recording what has occurred ever, my life is at stake in the event of a crash and Nissan (or the dealership) does not give a damn. I'd love to hear from others who've dealt with the same problem.