Nissan Is Recalling Nearly 400,000 Vehicles Over Potential Fire Hazard
Nissan is recalling nearly 400,000 vehicles in the U.S. because of a braking system defect that could cause them to catch fire. Owners are advised to park affected vehicles outside and away from structures if the anti-lock brake system warning light comes on for more than 10 seconds.
The Japanese automaker says a pump seal may become worn down and cause brake fluid to leak. "If the warning is ignored ... the brake fluid leak may potentially create an electrical short in the actuator circuit, which in rare instances, may lead to a fire," the company says in documents sent to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
The recall affects four different models in the U.S.: the Nissan Murano SUV, model years 2015 to 2018; Maxima sedans, model years 2016 to 2018; and the Infiniti QX60 and Nissan Pathfinder SUVs, model years 2017 to 2019.
Nissan says in a statement emailed to NPR that it is working on a fix and that owners of affected vehicles will be notified beginning in early December 2019. "Once the remedy is available, owners will receive a final notification letter asking them to bring their vehicle to an authorized Nissan dealer or INFINITI retailer to have the remedy work completed at no cost for parts or labor," the company says.
This isn't the first time Nissan has had problems with brake fluid leaks. Last year, for example, Nissan recalled more than 215,000 vehicles. The automaker says vehicles in the 2018 recall that haven't been repaired are included in the current recall.
The documents Nissan sent to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration do not state whether the brake system defect has caused any fires or injuries.
However, a NHTSA database of complaints from vehicle owners contained several unconfirmed reports of problems with leaks in the anti-lock brake system. One complaint from Sierra Vista, Ariz., said that a 2017 Nissan Maxima "ignited and exploded" less than a month after it was purchased. According to the owner, insurance investigators said it happened because brake fluid leaked onto the circuit board.
Earlier this year, Nissan North America recalled 1.2 million vehicles because the reverse camera could be adjusted so that the monitor appeared blank, which violates U.S. safety standards.
Paolo Zialcita is an intern with NPR's News Desk.
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