WEST PALM BEACH - A local car dealer calls out car makers wanting them to step up and take care of customers with melting dashboards.
Consumers know what they want manufacturers to do about their melting dashboards. A car dealer is joining them in their fight.
"There needs to be a recall," said driver Mike Rios.
"In my opinion they should be compensated 100 percent," said Toyota dealership owner Earl Stewart.
Stewart wants car makers to handle cases consistently and completely. Right now, some drivers tell us they get a new dashboard for free, other pay half, and some get nothing.
"Unfortunately, it's not a level playing field," explained Stewart.
Stewart wants manufacturers to issue what in the business is called a Technical Service Bulletin or policy that gives dealerships direction to fix the problem.
Lexus issued a service bulletin in 2011 for some 2006-2008 IS250 and IS350 cars that may "exhibit sticky interior panels that have a shiny/degraded appearance. This condition may be present on the Instrument Panel Pad and/or the Door Panel Trim." The manufacturer wrote in its bulletin that it "revised interior panels" to address the problem.
Stewart wants out of warranty cars to be fixed.
"I believe warranties should cover anything that is a defective part and that's what this is, a defective part," explained Stewart. "If a part is defective when you manufacturer the car or whether it fails within warranty or out of warranty it shouldn't make any difference."
Drivers feel the defect is unsafe, and shine a light on the issue with videos taken from their point of view. Now we've learned the safety issues may go even deeper.
"Because this dashboard has the airbag inside on the passenger side I wouldn't feel safe in a car that had a cracked dash," explained Stewart. "Anything that would make an airbag go off too soon or go off too late would be very serious."
The federal agency that oversees safety issues has only received a handful of complaints. Hundreds more are complaining on social media.
We asked Stewart if he thinks the manufacturers are going to step up soon to cover repairs.
"I think so with the safety issue being raised. It's really going to get Toyota's attention and Nissan and all the other manufacturers. They tend to get nervous about safety and they should," explained Stewart.
Now drivers hope the car makers will listen to their concerns.
"The more voices we hear, the more the manufacturer is going to pay attention to us to replace the product," explained Rios.
"Be firm, be aggressive. Talk to the manufacturer. Go to the owner or general manager of the dealership," Stewart advised drivers.
You should also report the safety issue to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration .
Toyota and Lexus have not issued statements despite our repeated calls.
Mazda sent us a statement that read, "We are aware of a few instances of the dashboard changing texture in severely hot weather states and we are looking into it.”
In a statement Nissan said, "We have become aware of a few isolated consumer complaints about the dashboard appearance in their vehicle. Our Consumer Affairs group is working with the two customers you identified to resolve their concerns.”