Nissan is recalling more than 165,000 vehicles in the U.S. and Canada to repair an ignition switch problem that could turn off the engine while the vehicle is in motion, resulting in the risk of a crash and deactivating the airbags.
Although the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has yet to announce a recall of the Nissan vehicles, the Japanese automaker confirmed the recall to Consumer Reports.
Canada’s transportation regulatory agency, Transport Canada, announced the Nissan recall on Aug. 22, saying that the problem stems from a spring in the ignition assembly that could wear out over time and break. If broken, the spring could inadvertently switch the ignition from the “on” position to the “accessory” position, resulting in the loss of driving power.
Canadian authorities also noted that the sudden loss of steering and braking abilities could disorient the driver and make the vehicle difficult to control, increasing the risk of a crash.
“Additionally, in the event of a crash, this may also cause the airbags not to function,” Transport Canada said.
In the U.S., the recall includes some but not all 2017-2018 Juke, Frontier, Sentra, Versa, Versa Note, NV, NV200, and Nissan Taxi models.
Nissan vehicles recalled in Canada include several 2017-2018 Nissan Frontier, Micra, and Versa Note models and 2017 Sentra vehicles. Nissan NV200, NV1500, NV2500, and NV3500 model vans are also included in the recall for a recall-related inspection.
For some drivers, the Nissan recall may raise memories of the General Motors ignition switch defect, which led to a series of safety recalls in 2014 affecting several million GM cars, truck, and SUVs. GM’s faulty ignition switches allowed the ignition in some of the affected vehicles to suddenly switch to off or accessory position, resulting in a loss of engine power and airbag protection. The defect was linked to 124 deaths and about as many injuries, although several additional personal injury and wrongful death claims remain in litigation.