With federal safety officials conducting an investigation into the problem, Nissan is conducting a “service campaign” for 200,000 Altima sedans due to potentially faulty suspension part.
A service campaign is often instituted just before a recall is issued. Owners of affected vehicles will be informed this fall about when they should bring their vehicles in for service.
In this instance, Nissan will replace a rear lower control arm. Part of the vehicle’s suspension, it may come loose from the frame due to corrosion. The issue typically affects vehicles in states that use salt on their roads to combat ice in winter.
The company issued a statement noting the corrosion issue hasn’t been seen outside states that use road salt. Based on field inspections, few cars outside the salt states would experience the problem, the statement said.
NHTSA said there have been complaints about the problem from 139 owners, but that no crashes or injuries have been reported.
The service campaign could let Nissan avoid a recall, which would get it out of NHTSA monitoring and requirements to report progress to the government.
The agency started its investigation last year after getting complaints that the parts could crack and fail. Control arms let the wheels and tires move up and down over bumps. On Thursday, it expanded the probe to include more than 2 million Altimas from the 2013 through 2018 model years, according to the Associated Press.
NHTSA and Nissan say cracks can develop in the parts, which are made worse by corrosive road salt. The parts were redesigned in January 2018 to improve durability, NHTSA said. The agency says that Nissan has determined that the rate of incidents reported is 0.003% of the cars, AP reported.
The company told NHTSA that if the part fails, the vehicles can still be controlled. For those reasons, Nissan “does not believe the subject control arm failure poses an unreasonable risk to motor vehicle safety,” the agency wrote.
NHTSA says it will keep collecting data and either it or Nissan will do more comprehensive testing. Nissan owners who feel their car isn’t performing properly should take it to a dealer.