A car that calls people by itself. Lights that flash on and off like a disco. And a discreet e-mail to my husband asking him if I was implanted with some kind of chip. (I’m serious) These are just a few of the things I experience when I purchased a sleek black 2016 Nissan Murano in November of 2019. What followed was a case of everything that could go wrong, going wrong, and stretching into five months of used car buying hell. I posted a bit on Facebook about it as it was happening, but figured I’d just post the whole story here since every once in a while somebody asks what happened to that nice looking car and the story is actually a bit CRAZY!
So let’s start at the beginning…
My previous car was a GMC Acadia. I really enjoyed it until everything started to fall apart all at once. I did have it for about 10 good years at least! But once it started failing, it went downhill fast. When the brakes started feeling funny, I took it in for yet another repair and after a thorough check-up they came back and said, “Ma’am, this car is not safe for you to drive home.”
The car had multiple issues besides the brakes, and I’d been wanting to trade it in soon anyway, so I asked to look at their used cars. I did a few test drives and liked the Nissan Murano right away. The car place let me take it home and try it out while I decided if I wanted to fix or trade-in my current car. After a few days of driving in sleek black leather luxury, I knew I wanted to keep it and started the car buying process.
You should take a guy with you
My husband, who was stationed in Iraq at the time, was hesitant and thought I should just wait and use his truck for a bit so he could go with me to buy a car. He drives a big Toyota Tundra that makes me feel like I’m not even within the lines on the road. It stresses me out to try and drive his truck and I didn’t want to deal with that for another couple months. I told him I was capable of buying a car on my own. He suggested I take our neighbor, so I’d have a guy with me. I talked to my mom and she asked if I had any guys I could take with me. I got a little pissy about everyone suggesting I couldn’t buy a car without a male escort, and decided I was going to go buy the car I wanted.
So I did.
It all went so smoothly, I even wrote a snarky little blog post titled “I’m Female and Managed to Purchase a Car on My Own.” I didn’t publish it, but it made me feel better to write it. And then everything went terribly wrong and that post is now in the trash.
The start of the fall of the Nissan Murano
During my test drive, the radio screen glitched on me, and then cleared up. It seemed a little touchy, but I attributed that to “user-error” since I didn’t really know what I was doing yet. It didn’t mess up at all after that, but just in case it was anything weird, I purchased an extended warranty and asked if it covered electrical issues like the radio. The person told me it did, so I felt secure that if there was anything wrong down the road then it would be fixed.
Everything was great with the car at first. I drove it to Sarasota and back (a five hour drive) and then got stuck in the worst Thanksgiving traffic ever on the way home (a now 9 hour drive) and experienced no mechanical problems at all. I did, however, discover the Murano has a MAJOR issue with the sun glaring off the top of the hood. The way the hood is made, the part near the window tilts back and causes the sun to constantly beam you in the eye. It was so bad I had spots in my eyes and considered pulling over. But I liked the car so much I started googling how to fix it, and ran across other people with the problem who had added flat painted strip to cut down on the glare. I’m really surprised they continue to make the car this way with that major design flaw.
I had the car about three weeks when the navigation screen started acting possessed. It started with small things- I start up the car and it would start trying to check stocks. So I’d poke at it and try the navigation screen. It wouldn’t be able to find my location and kept insisting I was driving in the ocean. Then it would start dialing random strings of numbers. Then find movies and try to navigate me to the theater.
It started doing it ALL the time. It was so distracting at night that I taped a piece of black paper over it to stop it from flashing like a disco party in the car. I also started getting the sinking feeling I’d bought myself a real pretty lemon.
So let’s get it fixed. Easy, right?
First I took the car to Nissan. They checked it out, ran the diagnostics and made sure the system was updated. They couldn’t find anything wrong with it. It was acting just fine. So I drive it back home and hoped it had been fixed.
But no, two mornings later it started going crazy again on the way to school. The navigation system kept saying I was driving in the ocean (we live at the beach) and then insisted I needed to look at today’s stocks. Then it started dialing random strings of numbers again. So I called the car dealership and told them it needed to be fixed.
This starts five month long saga of me driving a tiny black loner car with a giant yellow “Demonstrator” sticker across the windshield while the dealership kept insisting the car was fixed, only to have me return it and insist it was not.
Sir, does your wife have a chip?
My husband in the Army Special Forces and was in Iraq at the time this was happening, but he was in contact with the dealership through e-mail, as I felt the need to bring in some reinforcements in my efforts to get the car fixed. No matter what the people at the dealership tried, they couldn’t get the car to act up and do the things I said it was doing. They knew what it was doing, because I sent them plenty of videos of it going crazy. So they became convinced it was something to do with ME that was causing it to go crazy! This resulted in an e-mail to my husband, where they honestly asked if I was implanted with some kind of chip, like a tracking device that might be interfering with the car system. They promised not to tell me if it was true. This is how desperate they were to solve the problem.
After my husband assured them I was not chipped, they kept the car a few more days to test it and then called to tell me it was fixed.
It was not.
I got in the car, turned it on and everything seemed fine. As I started to drive away, the screen flickered and looked up local movie times. I turned the car right back around and called the car guy to come out see it in action. He sat in the passenger seat and the screen flickered on and off and scrolled through the options as if it was possessed. He couldn’t believe he was finally seeing what I’d been talking about. He recorded his own video. He also asked me to get out of the car and walk away to see if it still acted up. So obviously, they still didn’t believe that I was not actually chipped and causing the issue!
One thing after another
After that, they decided the whole radio/nav system needed to be replaced. The warranty place wanted to try and find a used one, so they stalled for a while until one could be found. Then I got a call telling me the wrong one was sent and they would have to find another. By this time, it was February 2020, and my husband was home from Iraq and COVID was just starting to spread across the US. So of course the garage fixing the car shut down, we were stuck in a holding pattern, and I hadn’t gotten to drive my new car three months. I barely remembered what it looked it. By March, I was ready to give up and I told my husband I just wanted a different car. I didn’t want to deal with that terrible glare on the hood anyway.
So, as the US went into quarantine and “sheltering in place,” I sent my husband off to the dealership and told him, “You know what I like, just pick me out something in blue or silver.” The dealership was only too happy to set me up with a new car and great deal. I ended up with a silver GMC Terrain that I actually love! It’s the sport package with the turbo boost and it has great pick-up and is rugged enough to handle a kid and a dog and all the mess that comes with them. The plush Murano was honestly not the best choice for me, and it all worked out in the end.
So that’s the whole story! My husband still promises I’m not chipped and thankfully I’ve experienced no crazy issues with the new car.
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About the Author
Candy Keane is a digital content creator and long-time cosplayer, most well-known for being on the cover of the Star Wars documentary Jedi Junkies. After making costumes professionally for over a decade, she now writes about about geek culture and mom life, and continues to cosplay for fun, while sharing her love of costumes on Instagram @SewGeekMama. Her first children’s book, I’m Going to My First Comic Convention, was published in 2020 and won a Story Monsters Approved award for Excellence in Literature.