Nissan North America Inc. has assured the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) that it would begin a safety recall of about 47,000 of its electric Leaf cars over the possibility that a braking component will freeze in colder climates, increasing the risk of a crash. NHTSA said the problem lies with the electronic brake booster in 46,859 model year 2013 to 2015 Leafs. When one of the cars is parked in “extremely cold temperature conditions,” the relay inside the booster tends to freeze up and the car goes into an assisted mode for braking. “The brake system continues to function in a special ‘assist mode,’ but may require more pedal effort, which may increase the braking distance and increase the risk of a crash,” NHTSA said in a letter last month.
Despite the automaker claiming that a service campaign initiated late last year in the U.S. and Canada led to a number of the affected cars being fixed, NHTSA and Transport Canada said a full safety recall was necessary to reach those drivers whose cars had not yet been repaired. The agency has received about a dozen complaints over the Leaf’s brakes, including low pedal pressure and pedals going all the way to the floor, but no injuries have been reported. Some drivers said mechanics blamed the problem on a bad battery, but the problem eventually persisted, according to agency records.
Drivers living in colder climes were also affected by an October recall of about 300,000 Nissan Versas, a compact car with front coil springs prone to corrosion from road salt used in colder months. If the springs corroded and fractured, it could cause the car’s front suspension and tires to fail completely. NHTSA launched an investigation into the problem in May after receiving 93 complaints of front coil spring fractures and one complaint of a crash related to the defect. In its preliminary analysis, the agency found that coil spring failures could happen without warning and at any speed. That Versa recall came less than one month after Nissan announced a recall of almost 300,000 other Versa and Versa Note cars over an obstruction near the vehicles’ acceleration pedal that could catch a driver’s shoe when they went to press the brakes.
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