Nissan ignition problem costs man $1,000 in repairs

ATLANTA — Japanese automaker Nissan says it has fixed an ignition problem that has drivers from coast to coast complaining.

For the cars still out there that haven't been fixed, consumer investigator Jim Strickland discovered time for a repair is running out; Nissan extended warranty coverage to cover the problem with the 2009 Nissan Altima for six years. Cars built in 2008 are already out of warranty again.

An Atlanta man who owns one  suffered an expensive case of bad timing.

"Right at Christmas time it's like, 'Hey, come up with $1,000 to fix your car or you won't have a car that works,'" said Alex Llambes, of Northeast Atlanta.

"Pushed my button like I always did, put my foot on the brake and it wouldn't start," he recalled as he told the story of being stranded in a post office parking lot.

The malfunction in a steering column electronic lock can leave the car unable to start.

Internet car sites also have plenty of complaint postings; One owner at carcomplaints.com wrote: "Nissan needs to be held accountable."

"It makes no sense when you send something out that's wrong; You make a mistake, you own up to that mistake," said Llambes.

Nissan's extended warranty posting online calls it a "manufacturing irregularity." Llambes just calls it expensive since his car is one month too old for warranty coverage.

"I was in shock," Llambes said.

Capital City Nissan owner Pat Hoban told Strickland that in the past year Nissan has tightened up substantially, paying for what are called "good will" repairs. The term refers to work outside the warranty done to satisfy the customer.

Llambes bought his Nissan used, which is another factor in denying his warranty claim.

Llambes says this mess will factor into his next buying decision.

"My next car was going to be a Nissan; Not anymore," he said.

Nissan officials told Strickland they are researching Llambes' case.