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Nissan recalls 500k vehicles over shrapnel-propelling airbag defect

Nissan is recalling certain Nissan and Infiniti cars and SUVs over a dangerous airbag flaw that could send debris flying at passengers.


Affected by the recall are roughly 480,000 Nissan and Infiniti vehicles worldwide from model years 2001 through 2004. The vehicles in question may be equipped with faulty front passenger airbag inflators, which may cause the airbags to deploy with too much force. As a result, the rupturing airbags may start fires or send debris flying toward passengers.

The recall impacts about 265,000 vehicles in the United States, 137,000 in Japan, and another 78,000 in North America and Europe. The recalled models in the U.S. are the Nissan Maxima, Pathfinder and Sentra; and the Infiniti FX and QX4. The Japanese recall concerns the Cube, X-Trail, Maxima and Teana, according to spokesman Chris Keeffe.

Authorized Nissan dealers will replace the faulty canisters that house the propellant that activates the airbags, free of charge. Nissan will begin notifying customers of the recall in May 2013. In the meantime, owners can contact Nissan Customer Service at 1-800-647-7261 or go to Concerned drivers may also contact the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Vehicle Safety Hotline at 1-888-327-4236 or visit

Nissan’s recall comes in conjunction with a massive airbag recall involving five other automakers and an estimated 3.4 million vehicles worldwide. The recall also affects various Toyota, Honda, Mazda, Pontiac and BMW cars and SUVs. The defective airbags all come from Takata Corp., a Japanese safety gear manufacturer.

The news marks the 11th airbag-related recall so far this year. There were 22 for all of last year. Click here to read Torque News' analysis of Honda's airbag recall involving 1.14 million vehicles.

In March, Nissan recalled five of its model year 2013 vehicles over a separate passenger airbag flaw. According to documents filed with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, some Nissan Altima, LEAF, Pathfinder, Sentra and Infiniti JX35 vehicles may be outfitted with a passenger Occupant Detection System (ODS), which does not meet specifications. Affected ODS units may malfunction, permanently suppressing the passenger airbag. As a result, the passenger airbag may fail to deploy in the event of a crash.

Nissan has yet to determined the total number of vehicles involved in the recall, but did state that no other Nissan or Infiniti models are affected because this specific ODS system is not present in any other 2013 Nissan vehicles. Click here to read Torque News' coverage of Nissan's March airbag recall.