The National Highway Traffic Safety Administrations' Office of Defects Investigation has launched a probe of the 2013 and 2014 Nissan Sentra and Nissan Versa. According to a bulletin posted to the NHTSA website (PDF), the agency has received a total of eight complaints about the brakes in those vehicles.
Specifically, owners have complained about excessive brake pedal travel, or firmness. One report filed in September 2013, says that:
"The contact owns a 2013 Nissan Versa. The contact stated that while driving 60 mph, the braking system malfunctioned. The contact took the vehicle to the dealer for a diagnostic test, where the ABS chip was replaced. The contact was later driving 55 mph when the brakes were applied and abnormally traveled to the floorboard. The vehicle was towed to the dealer, where the master cylinder was replaced but still, did not correct the failure. The contact took the vehicle back to the dealer but the dealer refused service to the contact. The failure mileage was 11,752."
NHTSA says that no accidents or injuries have resulted from the alleged flaw, but there is enough consistency in the complaints to warrant further investigation. And so, NHTSA has launched a formal, Preliminary Evaluation of the problem.
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If the Preliminary Evaluation -- basically, an assessment of consumer complaints and dealer actions -- finds ample cause for concern, the probe will move on to phase two, the Engineering Analysis. During that phase, vehicles will be tested by NHTSA to see if the problem can be duplicated under lab conditions.
Should the findings warrant it, the investigation will then move on to the final phase, the Recall. If a recall is issued for the 2013 and 2014 Nissan Sentra and Versa, it will affect some 200,000 vehicles registered in the U.S.
We'll keep you posted as NHTSA's investigation progresses.