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Discussion Starter #1
I can't see at night! Low beams...
I wanted to share with all of you, the probably-frustrated-at-night owners of this car, that there's a class action lawsuit coming and we all need to join.
You can find people having this issue all over the internet. More and more people recently. I am affected too...
I kept looking for this to happen, and I knew it eventually would:
https://classlawyer.lawyer/investigation-of-nissan-altimas-unsafe-headlights/
 

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Every car on the planet with plastic headlight lenses now has that issue and any lawsuit will likely go nowhere as the consumer is the one that drove it there, by wanting new and different styling and the reason the OEMs dropped glass headlights. They will simply blame it on customer desires and the ensuing market for sporty styling. Weight as well, the cars must lose weight to hit the later CAFE federal standards for gas mileage, and plastic lights are an instant 5-10 pound reduction in weight compared to glass. Any lawsuit is dead in the water there.

The lenses get cloudy or opaque due to the plastic reacting to sunlight and some of them have gotten worse as the OEMs figured out people were restoring them to like new light output, then they began to change the plastics again (ABS to polycarbonate) to use one that also spiderweb cracks internally in the plastic to be unrestorable. It's to get the average $150+ per headlight assembly they have gone up to and some are as high as $1000 each. EVERY brand now does it, not just Nissan.

I have been refinishing headlights to work like new for some 20+ years now but the later plastics make that harder now. The earlier ones could be made to put out as much light as brand new and with a couple other tricks even more than brand new.

Most cars will run 3-5 years (note-just past the end of warranty!) before the lens gets to be an issue, depending on things like heat and environment. Trying to run them past that is the same thing as trying to run too long on a bald tire and becomes an owner maintenance issue. There has never been a guarantee on any vehicle on earth to have safe lighting past a normal warranty period until the car enters the auto graveyard, if it were so the manufacturer would be responsible for things as basic as bulbs burning out and they aren't, the legal precedent for it has already been in existence for 75 years there. Any lawsuit there will be rendered as frivolous in a minute.
 

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If the issue is the actual bulb output of light, that gets done by changing the bulb. They all decrease light output with age and another owner responsibility. I use simple halogen only and no issues getting the amount of light I need to drive on 4 older cars and I have degenerative vitreous retinopathy, which slowly demands more and more light to see at night as the disease gets worse. I have had the issue for 25 years now and getting pretty deep into it, at some point driving at night will have to stop.

I DO have to keep at the cars to keep the lighting working that well though.
 

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Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)
Every car on the planet with plastic headlight lenses now has that issue and any lawsuit will likely go nowhere as the consumer is the one that drove it there, by wanting new and different styling and the reason the OEMs dropped glass headlights. They will simply blame it on customer desires and the ensuing market for sporty styling. Weight as well, the cars must lose weight to hit the later CAFE federal standards for gas mileage, and plastic lights are an instant 5-10 pound reduction in weight compared to glass. Any lawsuit is dead in the water there.

The lenses get cloudy or opaque due to the plastic reacting to sunlight and some of them have gotten worse as the OEMs figured out people were restoring them to like new light output, then they began to change the plastics again (ABS to polycarbonate) to use one that also spiderweb cracks internally in the plastic to be unrestorable. It's to get the average $150+ per headlight assembly they have gone up to and some are as high as $1000 each. EVERY brand now does it, not just Nissan.

I have been refinishing headlights to work like new for some 20+ years now but the later plastics make that harder now. The earlier ones could be made to put out as much light as brand new and with a couple other tricks even more than brand new.

Most cars will run 3-5 years (note-just past the end of warranty!) before the lens gets to be an issue, depending on things like heat and environment. Trying to run them past that is the same thing as trying to run too long on a bald tire and becomes an owner maintenance issue. There has never been a guarantee on any vehicle on earth to have safe lighting past a normal warranty period until the car enters the auto graveyard, if it were so the manufacturer would be responsible for things as basic as bulbs burning out and they aren't, the legal precedent for it has already been in existence for 75 years there. Any lawsuit there will be rendered as frivolous in a minute.
Completely agree with all you said, except that nothing you mentioned apply to these headlights, and if the lawsuit gets filed, it will go somewhere.
The light output was inadequate to begin. At some point, after 20, 30 in my case, 40, 50K miles, the problem gets way worse. There's no cloudy or opaque issue in the plastics, nothing visually wrong with it. As an example, which I'll show you with a pic of my own headlights, you can't see anything wrong with my headligh housing, and yet I can't see at night for more than 15 feet away.
This is a defective product. There's some theories out there. Some mechanics are saying that the projector burns inside. My own theory, is that there's an invisible chemical layer covering the plastic of the headlight housing, preventing the light to go though. I think the heat from the light bulb, plus the wrong choice in materials causes that. And I say this because at night, looking straight at the lights from 2 feet away, I don't get blinded at all, but as I move up, then I can see the light going out with no problems. All of this, again, with a completely new looking headlight housing. The weirdest thing ever.
I will mention, that I am very fortunate to have perfect vision, and I drive a lot at night. Well, I already ended up on top of a median while I was turning right into a mall. These lights are terrible, defective, and need to be redesigned. A simple replacement will not work, unless Nissan is willing to replace them as many times we need it for the whole lifetime of our car ownership.
This problem has to do with milleage, not with time. Now with more and more people reaching the 50K mile mark, the issue is getting mentioned more and more on the web.
The most disgusting part is to see how Nissan is addressing this issue; completely ignoring us. Nothing new from Nissan. My last Nissan definitely. This company, now owned by Renault etc, is not Nissan anymore. Quality is going down to hell.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I can't show it right know. I'll go to my computer, I'm having issues with the website on my phone.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
No problem with the high beams. Those are decent. Fog lights are crappy as well, but nothing wrong with them either.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
If the issue is the actual bulb output of light, that gets done by changing the bulb. They all decrease light output with age and another owner responsibility. I use simple halogen only and no issues getting the amount of light I need to drive on 4 older cars and I have degenerative vitreous retinopathy, which slowly demands more and more light to see at night as the disease gets worse. I have had the issue for 25 years now and getting pretty deep into it, at some point driving at night will have to stop.

I DO have to keep at the cars to keep the lighting working that well though.
Unfortunately, changing the light bulbs doesn't work at all, I tried that, even with high quality led ones.
 

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'And I say this because at night, looking straight at the lights from 2 feet away, I don't get blinded at all, but as I move up, then I can see the light going out with no problems. All of this, again, with a completely new looking headlight housing. The weirdest thing ever.'

Of course the new wave lighting methods can have similar trouble to the older ones.

The quote I have there though PERFECTLY describes what the new plastics that spider web crack do, from a slight distance like your pic given the headlight assembly will look pretty much perfect, yet you can tell by looking into the light output directly that the diffusion is all messed up, and any cracking then is seeable as well. The cracks are so fine they diffuse all the light sideways at wildly varying angles to spread all the light to interfere with itself instead of going out straight and true to light the road. In essence you are lighting the inside of the light assembly up to refract off itself again and again at a thousand different angles. Why you don't get blinded even though a whopping amount of light seems to be there. Get a brand new assembly and compare them back to back and if that is the issue the new one will then burn your eyes out. Very hard to tell the difference without that test though, it being hard to grasp visually what the missing light is actually doing. Start looking closer (please avoid eye damage, possible doing it) and you then can begin to see the difference the super minute lens cracking adds. Any bulb changing or bulb output upgrade with that issue is a waste of time, all you are doing is throwing around more light inside the case. Of course you can see 'some' light coming out, just much less than should be.

'The light output was inadequate to begin.'

I do not agree, the lights had to put out a certain amount of lumens at new or they would not have passed federal specs for it. ALL car designs get tested for that.

Good luck with the lawsuit, automotive lighting is an owner maintenance thing like every other thing on a car, and considered normal use and wear over time. I have also been around a lot of lawsuits including multi-million corporate ones and most go nowhere. The lawyers of course will not let you in on that part at all.

Of course you are likely aware that pretty much ALL headlight assemblies are coated with clear paint of varying degrees of quality to achieve greater clarity, I do the same when I refinish mine. At first I used to try to use a paint that did not melt the plastic, but on the spider web cracking I have actually gotten some fairly good results out now doing the opposite, or intentionally burning the plastic to slightly melt it, the paint then gets into the minute cracks to weld them in effect shut and the lenses have been coming out much better doing so. It seems to remove a lot of the cracking to be optically clean and clear. The effective lighting then goes way up as a result, a car that was before undriveable at night becomes much much better.
 

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I am certainly no expert on projector type lighting but that pic seems to show the inner small round lens as cloudy, that will be a problem to me............
 

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Discussion Starter #11 (Edited)
'And I say this because at night, looking straight at the lights from 2 feet away, I don't get blinded at all, but as I move up, then I can see the light going out with no problems. All of this, again, with a completely new looking headlight housing. The weirdest thing ever.'

Of course the new wave lighting methods can have similar trouble to the older ones.

The quote I have there though PERFECTLY describes what the new plastics that spider web crack do, from a slight distance like your pic given the headlight assembly will look pretty much perfect, yet you can tell by looking into the light output directly that the diffusion is all messed up, and any cracking then is seeable as well. The cracks are so fine they diffuse all the light sideways at wildly varying angles to spread all the light to interfere with itself instead of going out straight and true to light the road. In essence you are lighting the inside of the light assembly up to refract off itself again and again at a thousand different angles. Why you don't get blinded even though a whopping amount of light seems to be there. Get a brand new assembly and compare them back to back and if that is the issue the new one will then burn your eyes out. Very hard to tell the difference without that test though, it being hard to grasp visually what the missing light is actually doing. Start looking closer (please avoid eye damage, possible doing it) and you then can begin to see the difference the super minute lens cracking adds. Any bulb changing or bulb output upgrade with that issue is a waste of time, all you are doing is throwing around more light inside the case. Of course you can see 'some' light coming out, just much less than should be.

'The light output was inadequate to begin.'

I do not agree, the lights had to put out a certain amount of lumens at new or they would not have passed federal specs for it. ALL car designs get tested for that.

Good luck with the lawsuit, automotive lighting is an owner maintenance thing like every other thing on a car, and considered normal use and wear over time. I have also been around a lot of lawsuits including multi-million corporate ones and most go nowhere. The lawyers of course will not let you in on that part at all.

Of course you are likely aware that pretty much ALL headlight assemblies are coated with clear paint of varying degrees of quality to achieve greater clarity, I do the same when I refinish mine. At first I used to try to use a paint that did not melt the plastic, but on the spider web cracking I have actually gotten some fairly good results out now doing the opposite, or intentionally burning the plastic to slightly melt it, the paint then gets into the minute cracks to weld them in effect shut and the lenses have been coming out much better doing so. It seems to remove a lot of the cracking to be optically clean and clear. The effective lighting then goes way up as a result, a car that was before undriveable at night becomes much much better.
I really appreciate your knowledgeable explanation. I guess those micro cracks you mentioned could also be invisible. I had old cars with really fogged headlight assemblies and had zero issues seeing the road.
The main problem here is that you literally can't see for more than two cars away, and these plastics are perfect. Completely transparent. The picture only shows some light reflections, but the plastic is super clear everywhere.
Headlight assemblies have to be maintained ok, but when around 40K you can't see, and to replace this ones you have to spend 1K, then that's a big deal. No assembly ever lasted that little. And this is happening to so many people. I don't park in the sun, I drive at night, and in my case happened a year after I purchased the car, because the problem is based on "headlight running time" miles, not on time and environmental degradation.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I am certainly no expert on projector type lighting but that pic seems to show the inner small round lens as cloudy, that will be a problem to me............
I thought so too. I recently bought a new car for my wife, with projectors, and hers are more like "transparent, darker".
Maybe the mechanics who say that the projector is burned are right.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I just don't want to replace these. I can do the job, just don't want to deal with re positioning the lights, which is very difficult with this car.
 

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The fastest I've seen the outer lens go bad is maybe 3 years so under that is a problem. The cracking often cannot been seen at all unless you park the car at just the right angle in bright sunlight with lights off, then if you look close you will see at least whatever cracking lines up angle wise to refract where you can see it.

I myself have no experience with inner lenses so cannot say but not clear = bad in my book.
 
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