Nissan North America is recalling nearly 15,000 late-model Nissan vehicles to repair a faulty start/stop switch. According to a bulletin from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the recall affects select 2014 Nissan Versa Sedans, 2013-2014 Nissan Cubes, and 2013-2014 Nissan Jukes.
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The problem with those vehicles is rooted in the housing for the start/stop switch, which was manufactured by Alps Electric. In a defect report, NHTSA's Office of Defects Investigation says that when the weather is hot, the housing can cause the start/stop button to get stuck:
This stuck condition alone does not affect drivability or engine operation. However, in extremely rare instances, the start/stop button can become stuck in a halfway depressed position inside the housing. If the vehicle experiences mild vibrations (but not severe enough to release the button from the halfway position) from uneven road surfaces while in this position, it can cause the electrical components inside the button to contact repeatedly in quick succession which initiates the designed emergency engine shut off procedure (the subject vehicle is designed such that if the start/stop button is pressed three times in rapid succession or the button is continually pressed while driving, the engine will shut off).
Obviously, if the engine shuts off while the vehicle is in motion, it dramatically increases the risk of an accident.
The recall is limited to Nissan vehicles manufactured during specific windows of time:
- 2014 Nissan Versa Sedan vehicles built between July 16, 2013 and January 29, 2014
- 2013-2014 Nissan Cube vehicles built between July 3, 2013 and October 21, 2013
- 2013-2014 Nissan Juke vehicles built between July 3, 2013 and October 22, 2013
Nissan says that the recall affects some 14,595 vehicles registered in the U.S.
Nissan has already sent a stop-sale notice to dealers and says that it will mail recall notices to vehicle owners by late August. After receiving those notices, owners can take their vehicles to a Nissan dealer, who will modify the start/stop switch housing at no charge.
If you have questions, you're encouraged to call Nissan customer service at 800-647-7261, or ring NHTSA at 888-327-4236 and ask about safety campaign #15V418000.