Nissan is recalling nearly 400,000 vehicles for a brake defect

Nissan In Talks With Mitsubishi Motors
Getty Images | Ken Ishii

The Nissan Motor Company has issued a recall of hundreds of thousands of its vehicles after discovering a defect that could cause fires.

On Nov. 15, Nissan sent notification of the issue to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, or NHTSA, to notify the agency of the problem. According to the recall notice, approximately 394,025 vehicles are subject to the safety recall. Four Nissan models are included in this recall:

  • 2016-2018 Nissan Maxima
  • 2015-2018 Nissan Murano
  • 2017-2019 Nissan Pathfinder
  • 2017-2019 Infinity QX60

Getty Images | Justin Sullivan

The defect comes from a faulty oil seal within the anti-lock braking system. The seals are meant to withstand high temperatures and keep oil and brake fluid within the system. However, the defective seal wears down faster than normal, which can lead to fluid leakage into the actuator circuit. Once this happens, the ABS indicator light on the dashboard will illuminate. The problem, according to Nissan, is if the owner ignores the light and doesn’t get the car serviced in a timely manner, this leak could cause an electrical short and, according to the recall notice, “in rare instances, may lead to a fire.”

The recall document claims only 1 percent of the vehicles of the listed vehicles might be affected by this defect. So far, only three warranty-returned parts out of the affected population of vehicles listed in the recall showed this particular defect. However, Nissan issued the notice as a precaution.

NPR noted that while Nissan didn’t say in their paperwork to the NHTSA whether the issue has caused fires, four complaints related to this issue are listed on the NHTSA’s database. In three of these four unconfirmed complaints, the owners reported that their cars caught on fire due to problems with leaks in the anti-lock brake system, and that the cars were totaled by their insurance companies.

Getty Images | Scott Olson

Any Nissan customer with an affected model will receive notification from the manufacturer starting on Dec. 2. Dealers have already been notified of the problem. Nissan owners can check your VIN for recalls on Nissan’s recall page. Infinity owners can check their VIN at Infinity’s recall page.

If you have one of these vehicles and your ABS light is illuminated on your dashboard, Nissan recommends parking the car outside and contacting Nissan or Infinite Roadside Assistance to have the car towed to the dealer as soon as possible. If the dealer finds the ABS light on, then the ABS actuator will be replaced at no cost.

For those who don’t have an ABS warning light on their dashboard, Nissan plans to replace the faulty part at no cost to the owner sometime in the summer of 2020 as replacement part supplies are filled by the manufacturer.  A secondary notice will be issued to these owners as new parts are provided to the dealers.

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Marie Rossiter

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