2003 Nissan XterraEnlarge Photo
2002 Nissan FrontierEnlarge Photo
Nissan explained in a release on the issue that "in certain rare instances, the lower steering column joint on the affected Frontier and Xterra vehicles can develop corrosion that limits the movement of the joint."
"If the vehicle continues to be driven in this condition it may, in an extreme case, lead to cracking of the steering shaft," said Nissan.
The automaker hasn't yet even experienced any issues with the components in the U.S., but it's seen three field reports of the problem in Canada and six in Brazil.
The steering-related recall covers about 240,000 Nissan Frontier and 261,000 Nissan Xterra models in all for the U.S. (plus nearly 15,000 in Canada), and it affects all 2002-2004 Nissan Frontier pickup models made from July 9, 2001 to October 20, 2004, as well as all 2002-2004 Nissan Xterra models made between July 9, 2001 and January 6, 2005. Both were made in Smyrna, Tennessee. Other international-market models of these vehicles are covered; consult Nissan or your dealership for more details if that affects you.
The 2010 Nissan Sentra recall, which was also announced today, deals with a separate issue: These vehicles—about 15,000 in all—might have left the Aguascalientes, Mexico, assembly plant with a faulty positive battery connector—potentially leading to trouble starting the vehicle, or perhaps stalling.
Owners of the affected vehicles will be prompted to bring their vehicle to the dealership to have new parts installed free of charge. Nissan says that the notification effort will begin in early December, once replacement parts are available.