Nissan Airbag Recall Shouldn't Be Ignored

passenger airbag
Airbag recalls can be serious and shouldn't be ignored. Getty

 


When it comes to recalls, Nissan seems to dodge many of the bullets that have landed squarely on pretty much every manufacturer. Not this time, although compared to some of the recalls that have been issued in the past few years, this one is not quite as alarming. Nonetheless, any safety related recall should be taken seriously and repaired as soon as possible. 

Nissan drivers now have a new cause for concern regarding their airbags.

There were many Nissans involved in the Takata air bag recall, but most were for cars built in the early 2000s. If you are lucky enough to be driving a late model Nissan car, as in anything built this decade, you dodged the big airbag disaster that was Takata. But sadly, your car isn’t immune to a few glitches in the air bag safety system. There are a number of Nissan vehicles that have been recalled due to malfunctioning passenger side air bags. The recall affects Nissan Altima, Leaf, Maxima, Murano, Pathfinder, Rogue and Sentra built between 2013 and 2016. It also affects Infiniti models JX35, Q50 and QX60 in the 2013-16 range. According to the recall details the problem is in front air bag deployment, as in sometimes it doesn’t. This can be a big deal if you have a passenger with you and are unlucky enough to be involved in a frontal collision. Cars with passenger side air bags are equipped with a special sensor system for the front passenger seat called Occupant Classification System, or OCS.

The job of this system is to decide whether or not you are carrying a front seat passenger and, if you are, what size passenger this is. For example, if there is a child passenger in the front seat, the car will not deploy the air bag because this has proven more dangerous than beneficial to little people in a front end collision.

The glitch that triggered the recall is due to an error that may cause the system to incorrectly classify what passenger you have in the front seat, or simply decide that it’s empty when it’s not. This turns off the air bag. Specifically, the following vehicles are affected:

Affected Models

2013 Infiniti JX35
2014-2016 Infiniti Q50
2014-2016 Infiniti QX60
2013-2016 Nissan Altima
2013-2016 Nissan Leaf
2016-2017 Nissan Maxima
2015-2016 Nissan Murano
2013-2016 Nissan NV200
2014-2016 Nissan NV200 Taxi
2013-2017 Nissan Pathfinder
2014-2017 Nissan Rogue
2013-2016 Nissan Sentra

Vehicle owners will be notified by the manufacturer, but I always recommend contacting your local dealer if you see your car on the list. In order to contact current owners, a letter is sent based on registration and warranty information Nissan either has in their database or has access to via the NHTSA. Compared to a decade ago, the methods employed for contacting vehicle owners in the event of a recall are very efficient and pretty thorough. But just because you drive one of the vehicles mentioned above doesn't mean that you'll receive the letter. But it's important to know also that even if you don't receive a letter, you're still eligible for the free recall related repairs!

The letter isn't a coupon or invitation to have the repairs done, it's just the manufacturers best attempt to let everyone know that there's a problem with their vehicle and a standing offer to fix the problem. There can be a long waiting list for recall work, and the repairs are often authorized before the letters are even mailed out to the known owners of the affected vehicles. With major recalls like the GM ignition switch problem, there were hideous waiting lists to get the work done, and some GM car owners were afraid to drive their cars with a potentially dangerous ignition switch installed. They were left with a scary decision to make every time they turned the key. Getting to the dealer early is super important with safety related recalls, as those are the ones that will send vehicle owners rushing to the dealer service center to have the work done as soon as possible.

The recall for the power door lock that works intermittently might not have as much of a rush at the service department. An air bag problem is far more serious than being a little low on oil or having a coolant leak, so don’t ignore it!