Automobile manufacturers are often overzealous with the release of new models, just as consumers are sometimes prone to the “have to have it first” ambition. While both of these attitudes can definitely have their positive aspects, they also leave the car door open for the possibility of manufacturer error, which is something that two major automobile manufacturers have both experienced this week.
This week, Nissan North America, Inc. has announced the recall of approximately 13,919 2012 and 2013 Altima sedans after it was discovered during inspections in July and August that some vehicles may have failed to meet proper specifications in the manufacturing process. Specifically, as many as 8,420 2012 and 5,499 2013 Altimas may have been produced and sold with four transverse link bolts and two power steering rack bolts that could be loose. The company is confident that no other Nissan or Infiniti vehicles are affected in this recall.
Because a multispindle tool may not have properly torqued these bolts during the manufacturing process, there is a possibility that the bolts could become dangerously loose while these Altima vehicles are being operated. Obviously, Nissan has notified dealerships of the recall, and on October 29th, the company will begin notifying individual owners affected by this recall. However, in the meantime, drivers who experience what sounds like a rattling noise and/or vibration should contact their dealerships immediately, as their Altimas could be affected.
Should the bolts become loose during vehicle operation, they could eventually fall off. The result of this would be the partial or complete loss of control of the vehicle, as steering would become quite difficult. Under such conditions, serious accidents and injuries could occur.
As Nissan conducts this recall, Hyundai is also dealing with a similar issue that has warranted the investigation of approximately 70,000 2011 Santa Fe sports utility vehicles over loose bolts in the steering shafts that can cause separation. To date, one complaint has been made, which has spurred this entire investigation. Much like the Nissan investigation, it could take several months before Hyundai will know if a recall is necessary.