Japanese automaker Nissan is recalling 196,000 American used SUVs for a potential flaw in the steering column that could cause it to wear down and potentially crack over time.
According to the company, the recall affects used Nissan Pathfinders from 1996 through 2004 and Infiniti QX4 models from 1997 through 2003. Road salt can build up over time in the steering assembly and cause corrosion, which may potentially trigger the entire column to break.
"The strut housing may crack and pull away from the inner hood ledge assembly," Nissan said in an NHTSA filing. "This may lead to grinding noises, increased steering effort, and possibly the steering column to break, resulting in the loss of steering control, which could result in a crash."
Nearly 163,000 Pathfinders and 33,000 QX4s were recalled as part of the notice. Additional units were recalled in Canada, bringing the North American total up to 271,000 vehicles.
Nissan will inspect and fix the problem free of charge. The company says that for the problem to affect a driver, they would have to ignore a very noticeable grinding noise for an extended period of time.
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