Nissan North America has announced the recall of 195,991 vehicles. The recall affects the Nissan Pathfinder from the 1996 through 2004 model years and the Infiniti QX4 from 1997 through 2003 model years. The recall mainly affects vehicles in areas of the country in which a heavy concentration of road salt is used, as a mixture of snow or water and salt may enter the steering assembly and cause corrosion. As a result the steering column may become defective or crack, causing motorists to lose control of the vehicle.
The recall includes vehicles sold in Canada. The focus of the U.S. recall includes vehicles originally sold or currently registered in Connecticut, Delaware, Iowa, Illinois, Massachusetts, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, West Virginia and Washington, D.C.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) said in a report that corrosion could cause the strut housing to crack and pull away from the inner-hood ledge assembly. This may result in grinding noises and increased steering effort. In extreme cases, the NHTSA says the steering column could break, resulting in loss of control and the potential for a crash.
Nissan will begin mailing recall notifications in mid-May. Consumers with questions may contact the automaker at (800) 647-7261.