Drivers with sticky or melting dashboards in their vehicles.
What's the Problem?
Hundreds of drivers in Florida, Texas and other hot-weather states have complained that the dashboards in their vehicles cannot withstand typical weather conditions and can melt in the heat. Sticky, melting and/or glossy dashboards can create a blinding glare on the windshield when driving in the sun.
Which Cars Are Affected?
Affected vehicles include, but are not limited to, certain Toyota Camry and Yaris models; Mazda 3 and 6 models; Lexus IS300, IS250 and IS350 models; and Nissan Altima models; Nissan Altima models; Corvette; and Subaru models.
Why Are the Dashboards Melting?
Several motor vehicle companies may have used low-quality or defective materials when designing or manufacturing the dashboards for their cars.
Has a Lawsuit Been Filed?
Yes. Mazda Motor Corp., Toyota and Lexus are currently facing class action lawsuits over their allegedly defective dashboards; however, attorneys want to hear from people who own or lease vehicles made by any car manufacturer and experienced problems with their dashboards, as they believe additional lawsuits could be filed.
Type of Lawsuit
Attorneys are investigating potential class action lawsuits on behalf of drivers who had to replace or repair melted dashboards in their vehicles. Hundreds of drivers have complained that their dashboards were manufactured with low-quality or defective materials that could not withstand the heat of hot-weather states, such as Texas. As a result, these drivers claim that their dashboards and other interior panels melted and became sticky and shiny, making the dashboards difficult to clean and casting dangerous glares on their windshields. While several vehicle manufacturers have been notified about these issues, none have issued recalls, leaving drivers with no choice but to spend thousands to replace their damaged dashboards.
Consumers Complain About Melting Dashboards in Nissan, Toyota, Mazda, Lexus, Subaru and Corvette Models
On both consumer report websites and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s website, drivers have complained that the dashboards in their Nissan, Toyota, Mazda, Lexus and Subaru vehicles have melted under normal weather conditions. In addition to cosmetic problems, drivers claim that the melting dashboards may also pose a safety hazard. Some of their complaints can be read below.
“The dashboard is literally melting away. There is a horrible sticky, gooey substance that is oozing out of the entire dashboard. You cannot touch or clean it, and when driving in the direct sun, it creates such a reflection on the window that you can hardly see. I am not sure what the substance is; however, I believe that breathing it may be a health hazard. I have approached Toyota on this issue several times, only to be told that they have never heard of this and that the reason the dashboard is melting is because I live in Florida.” – Driver of a 2007 Toyota Camry in Coconut Creek, FL
“The dashboard on my 2008 Nissan Altima coupe is melting away because of the sun. I have read blogs online saying I’m not the only one with this problem. It makes it very difficult to drive during the day because of the reflective glare on the windshield. I’m afraid it may cause an accident. I limit driving during the day because of this issue. Please help!” – Driver of a 2008 Nissan Altima in Miami, FL
“The dashboard is so melted I can barely see with the glare. Called Nissan about it and they said that there was no known problem or recall, so there was nothing I could do…except buy a whole new dashboard from them. What a solution!” – Driver of a 2008 Nissan Altima in South Texas
“My dash has turned shiny and like a glue that never cures. It doesn’t stick to your finger, just like adhesive. It seems to be where the sun is most intense.” – Driver of a 2007 Subaru Legacy in West Palm Beach, FL
“After the airing of two ladies owning Camry’s with dashboards and steering wheel issues on KHON, I called into Subaru’s Customer Care line. The problem they were experiencing was that after sitting in the sun for a short period of time, their dashboards and steering airbag would change from a soft tacky ‘grayish’ rubber to a molten, shiny black sheen...What’s bothering me is that my car goes basically from my garage, to my covered garage at work, back home to my garage…it spends very little time in the sun at all. The problem only occurs when the car is in the sun for any length of time…I cannot clean my dash either cold or hot…I do not use any sort of Armor All or any other cleaning agents…my steering wheel airbag is the same. I’ve been experiencing this for a while now…and I just lived with it…yesterday, I went to honk my horn and my hand got stuck to the wheel…” – Driver of a Subaru in Oahu, HI
"The center console of my 94 has a coating that melted and get black marks on anything that touches it. I bought a replacement panel and the same thing happened. I've been told by all the big parts companies, Mid America, Corvette Central, etc that there's nobody out there making a replacement panel that is not covered with the soft touch coating that always melts. " – Driver of a Corvette in Deerfield Beach, Florida
In many cases, drivers claimed that they had their damaged dashboards assessed by their local car dealerships, only to be blamed for allegedly using chemical cleaners that caused the sticky reaction. Others claimed that the dealerships would not cover the cost to repair or replace their dashboards unless their vehicles were still under warranty, forcing them to spend thousands to replace their damaged interiors.
In 2014, a local news network in Florida, WPTV, launched an investigation into these claims. In a series of broadcasts, reporters showcased the stories of several drivers who claimed that the melting persisted even when using tinted windows and sunshades. One Toyota dealership, in West Palm Beach, even requested that Toyota issue a formal recall for the “defective” parts, and four accidents have since been attributed to the dangerous glare of melting dashboards.
While Toyota, Nissan and Lexus have acknowledged these complaints, the companies have yet to issue recalls for the affected vehicles.
Lawsuits Filed Against Toyota, Lexus, Mazda Over Melting Dashboards
Toyota, Mazda and Lexus are currently facing class action lawsuits over melting dashboards.
The lawsuits allege that the material used on the dashboards and other interior panels in certain vehicles is defective because it cannot withstand hot weather, particularly in Southern states, and can melt under normal conditions. As a result, the plaintiffs claim that their vehicles’ interiors became sticky, oily, shiny and cracked. Furthermore, in the Mazda lawsuit, the plaintiffs allege that the melted dashboards can cast dangerous glares across their windshields, inhibiting their vision and posing a safety hazard to others on the road.
The lawsuits claim that Toyota, Lexus and Mazda knew for years about the problems with dashboards in their vehicles, but failed to issue any recalls. In 2011, Lexus sent dealerships a service bulletin about the problem, instructing them to repair or replace interior panels of 2006 – 2008 IS250 and IS350 vehicles that exhibited “sticky or poor” appearances; however, these repairs were only performed on vehicles that were still under warranty.
In these cases, the plaintiffs allege that the vehicle manufacturers refused to cover the cost of replacing melted dashboards in vehicles no longer covered under warranty, forcing drivers to pay hundreds, if not thousands, to replace their damaged dashboards.
Vehicles that are named in the lawsuits include:
2007 – 2009 Toyota Camry
2006 – 2008 Lexus ES
2006 – 2008 Lexus IS
2009 – 2011 Mazda 3
2009 – 2011 Mazda 6
The lawsuits are seeking compensation for the cost of replacing the allegedly defective dashboards and reimbursement for the reduced value of the affected vehicles. The plaintiffs are also seeking punitive damages, which a judge may award to punish the defendants and discourage other companies from acting in a similar fashion.