Nissan is recalling nearly 1.9 million midsize cars in the United States and Canada for the fourth time to fix a nagging latch problem that might allow the hood to fly open when cars are in motion. According to an Associated Press news report, the latest recall covers 1.9 million Altima sedans and includes cars from the 2013 through 2015 model years that were recalled earlier. It has also been expanded to 2016 through 2018 model years.
Nissan has previously said that a coating can flake off the secondary hood latch exposing bare metal. Over time, this metal can rust and cause the secondary latch to stay open. If the main latch is not closed and the cars are driven, the secondary latch may not hold the hood down as designed, the automaker says. Some of the vehicles were recalled in 2014, with another recall in 2015, both of which involved fixing a lever and adjusting and lubricating the secondary latches. In a 2016 recall, Nissan replaced the latches with new ones.
Details of the Recall
The company says it has received 16 reports of car accidents and/or injuries. No fatalities were reported. All incidents occurred in vehicles that did not get the replacement latches. Nissan says there are no reports of crashes or injuries in cars with the new latches. The company has now decided to do another recall including all Altima vehicles from 2013 through 2018 after getting reports about hoods opening unexpectedly.
Nissan found that if the primary latches are not closed, contaminants could build up on the new secondary latches without regular maintenance, causing them to fail. Nissan does not have a fix yet. Owners will get a letter this month with instructions for proper latch inspection and maintenance. Once they develop a final remedy, owners will get another letter telling them to take the vehicles to dealers for free repair. Owners are asked to inspect and lubricate the hood latch per the manual instructions and to always ensure that the hood is fully closed after it is released.
Auto Product Liability Issues
Auto defects may occur during the manufacturing process or during the vehicle design process. Regardless of when the defect occurs, it is the automaker’s duty and responsibility to issue a prompt safety recall and make the necessary repairs at no charge to consumers. Anyone who has been affected by a defective auto can file a product liability claim against the automaker.
If you have been involved in a car accident, please preserve the vehicle in its current condition unaltered so it can be examined by an expert for defects, malfunctions and design flaws. An experienced auto product liability attorney can advise victims and their families in such cases regarding their legal rights and options.