Urgent Recall Alert: Nissan, Infiniti Recalling 200,000 Vehicles for Airbag Defect

Posted: October 16, 2008

If you own a Nissan or Infiniti vehicle produced after 2007, watch the mail closely for an important recall notice.  Nissan is recalling 200,000 cars and SUVs to fix a defect that might prevent the passenger airbag from opening during a crash.

A recall notice filed with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration explains, that a sensor located in the passenger seat cushion "may have been manufactured out of specification. Under certain conditions, this could cause an interruption of signal between the OCS [the Occupant Classification System -- which activates the airbag when the passenger seat is occupied] and the Airbag Control Unit.  This could result in the passenger airbag being suppressed, which could fail to provide adequate protection in the event of a crash." 

Nissan dealers should inspect the unit, "using a special tool to check that it is functioning as designed," and if necessary, replace the seat cushion "with a new one manufactured to specification," free of charge.

Affected vehicles include 2007 and 2008 editions of the Nissan Altima, Nissan 350Z, Nissan Rogue, Nissan Murano, Infiniti G35, Infiniti G37, and Infiniti EX35.

Owners should expect to receive a recall notice in the mail this month, but concerned owners who wish to make their own arrangements to have their vehicles inspected may contact Nissan at 1-800-647-7261, or Infiniti at 1-800-662-6200.

We should also note that this is the third recall announced in 2008 affecting systems that detect passengers in order to activate or de-activate airbags.  BMW issued a similar recall notice in August affecting approximately 200,000 cars, and Hyundai recalled almost 400,000 Sonata sedans over a similar problem.  It may be time for manufacturers to revisit this design -- and it couldn't hurt for owners of even unaffected vehicles to start having passenger detection systems inspected regularly. 

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