At the end of last week, Nissan Corporation announced a voluntary recall of nearly 1.9 million midsize cars in the United States and Canada. The recall was the fourth for the same problem, in which a problem with a latch could cause the hood to fly open while driving at high speeds down the highway.
As noted, this latest recall covers nearly 1.9 million Altimas and includes cars from the 2013 through 2015 model years – cars that were previously recalled – in addition to those from the model years 2016 through 2018. According to several of Nissan’s recall announcements on this problem (there have been four now), some of the coating on the secondary latch can flake off and the metal can rust, thus causing that secondary latch to stay open. If the main latch isn’t properly closed, when the car is driving at high speeds, the secondary latch may not be able to hold the hood down as designed.
This is Not the First Recall
Again, there have been four recalls surrounding this issue. The first two, in 2014 and 2015, both involved fixing a lever and applying lubricant to the secondary latch. The third, in 2016, involved replacing the latches with new ones. This time, according to the company, there are so far 16 reports of minor accidents and minor injuries related to the problem. These current reports suggested the hoods simply came open unexpectedly and impaired visibility.
The current recall includes all Nissan Altimas from model years 2013 through 2018. As part of their recall notice, Nissan said they discovered that if the primary latches aren’t securely closed, a build-up of dirt and contaminants can lead to failure of the secondary latches. That requires an extra layer of maintenance that not all car owners are aware is needed.
What To Do For the Recall
According to Nissan, there is not yet a fix for the latch problem, so vehicle owners will receive a letter later this month, containing instructions for proper latch inspection and maintenance. Once they have determined a final remedy, vehicle owners will receive a second letter telling them to take their vehicles into their local Nissan dealer to receive the free repair to which they will be entitled. In the meantime, Nissan suggests that all affected Altima owners consult the owner’s manual and follow the instructions inside for inspecting and lubricating the hood’s latches, and to make sure the hood is always fully closed before they drive anywhere.
At one time, the Altima was Nissan’s highest-selling vehicle in the United States, although it has been overtaken by the Rogue compact SUV. All Altimas were manufactured in Nissan factories in Canton, Mississippi, and Smyrna, Tennessee.
Ford Trucks Also Recalled
There was another significant recall last week. In addition to the Nissan recall, Ford Motor Company also recalled more than 55,000 trucks of various kinds, including Ford Rangers, F-150s, and Ford Expeditions because of a transmission problem that could put the vehicle into a gear other than the one the driver intended, even if the driver has placed their truck in park.
According to Ford, this problem affects trucks in the 2020 model year with a 10-speed automatic transmission, except for the Expedition. For that vehicle, only the vehicles with the police package are included in the recall. Also, those vehicles with a rotary gearshift dial are not part of the recall.
According to Ford, a clip that is supposed to lock the gearshift cable to the transmission may not be fully seated, which may allow the transmission to be in a different gear than what the driver has selected. That means if the driver shifts into Park and removes the key, the vehicle may still be in drive, which can allow the vehicle to move freely if the parking brake has not been applied. This situation can potentially lead to an accident crash.
So far, Ford claims they recalled these vehicles out of an “abundance of caution.” As of now, there have been no known accidents or injuries related to this defect. Owners will receive recall notices shortly, and they will be instructed to go to a Ford dealer, where mechanics will inspect the shift cable locking clip to make sure it is properly seated.