About 196,000 Infiniti QX4 and Nissan Pathfinder vehicles are being recalled by due to potential steering problems that may result from corrosion in certain cold-weather states.
The Nissan Pathfinder and Infiniti QX4 recall (pdf) is being issued for vehicles in so called “salt belt” states, which are northern states that use a lot of road salt to clear snow and ice from the roads. It affects Infiniti QX4 vehicles from model years 1997 through 2003 and Pathfinder vehicles from model years 1996 through 2004.
According to investigators at the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA), a mix of snow or water and salt can spray up through an assembly location hole in the upper strut housing and cause water to collect there.
The NHTSA has determined that the corrosion can cause the strut housing to crack and pull away from the inner hood ledge assembly. As a result, occupants may hear grinding noises, experience difficulty in steering and the steering column could ultimately break, leading to a loss of steering and control and potentially causing an auto accident.
Nissan began investigating the problem in October when the company was notified of a steering loss incident involving a 2001 Pathfinder in Canada. It is unclear whether there were any other steering loss incidents or accidents as a result of the problem.
An estimated 162,658 Nissan Pathfinders and 33,333 Infiniti QX4 vehicles are expected to be affected by the recall. States where the Infinity QX4 recall and Pathfinder recall are in effect include Connecticut, Delaware, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Massachusetts, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Washington, D.C.
Recalled vehicles will be inspected by Nissan dealers and repairs will be made free of charge, as necessary. Nissan has announced that it will mail notification letters to registered owners on or before May 16. Owners with questions can contact Nissan at 1-800-647-7261.