Nissan Motor Co. is recalling nearly 200,000 Pathfinder and Infiniti QX4 sport utility vehicles sold in the U.S. because of a problem that could cause the steering column to break and the driver to lose control of the vehicle.
The recall, announced Monday, comes mere months after Japan's No. 2 automaker launched two other major recalls, including one that involved more than 2 million vehicles. The massive numbers involved in recent recalls are linked to cost-cutting strategies that result in the same parts being used in many models.
In the latest recall, Nissan said that certain model year 1996-2004 Pathfinders and 1997-2003 Infiniti QX4s potentially have the steering problem, which is the result of snow and salt entering a hole in the car's strut housing and causing water to collect inside. Over time, the strut housing may corrode, possibly causing the steering column to break.
Nissan says notification letters will be sent to owners by May 16. Nissan will inspect the strut housing and repair the vehicles as necessary. Owners can call Nissan for more details at (800) 647-7261.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's Office of Defects Investigation said on its website that it has received 35 reports of problems with the vehicles. Those included 18 reports of allegations that failures affected the vehicles' steering, and 5 that alleged the steering column broke and resulted in a loss of steering control.
In October 2010, Nissan recalled 2.14 million vehicles worldwide including the popular March and Mycra subcompacts for an ignition problem that may stall the engine — its third-largest recall ever. The recall affected cars in the United States, Europe and Japan. A month later, the company recalled more than 600,000 vehicles in North and South America and Africa due to steering or battery cable problems.