The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is looking into reports that master cylinder assemblies on some 2007 and 2008 Altima models may leak brake fluid, prompting a dashboard warning light and an eventual reduction in braking ability.
The investigation stems from 20 consumer complaints, including two that allege a reduction in braking ability. The remaining 18 refer to an illuminated dashboard warning light, indicating that the level of brake fluid in the master cylinder was low. Seventeen complaints include an accompanying diagnosis from a Nissan dealer, including several that document leakage of brake fluid from the master cylinder into the brake booster assembly. Approximately 440,000 Altima models are included in the defect investigation, which is virtually identical to a recall on model year 2007 and 2008 Nissan Sentras initiated in July of 2008.
In the Nissan Sentra recall, the manufacturer identified a defect that caused a brake fluid leak from the master cylinder into the brake booster assembly. Ultimately, this was found to be caused by a defective seal between the master cylinder body and an o-ring, so it’s likely that the NHTSA will begin their investigation by examining the same components.
If a recall is found to be necessary, Altima owners will be contacted by Nissan via mail. Should you see a brake system warning light illuminated on your instrument panel, have your car examined by a dealership or mechanic as soon as possible.