Nissan is recalling more than 4,000 Leaf and Sentra vehicles from the 2016 model year. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, some of those vehicles may suffer from an electrical problem that could disable passenger-side airbags.
The problem is rooted in a wiring harness connector that links those airbags to the electrical system. Unfortunately, some connectors weren't built to the proper specifications and may become separated from the airbag module.
If a connector becomes completely separated, the passenger-side airbag won't deploy during a crash, increasing the risk of injury to occupants. However, the warning light on the instrument panel will illuminate.
If the connector becomes partially separated, the airbag might deploy during a crash, but then again, it might not--or it might only partially deploy. Worse, partial separation might not be enough to trigger a warning light to let owners know that something is wrong.
The recall includes the following vehicles:
- 2016 Nissan Leaf models built between February 24, 2016 and March 23, 2016
- 2016 Nissan Sentra models built between February 9, 2016 and March 4, 2016
All told, the recall affects 4,355 vehicles registered in the U.S.
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Nissan will mail recall notices to owners before the end of July. After receiving those notices, owners will be able to take their cars to their local Nissan dealers, who will inspect the wiring harness connector and ensure that it's properly engaged. Depending on the results of those inspections, dealers may replace passenger airbag modules and/or main body harnesses.
If you own one of these vehicles and have questions, you're encouraged to contact Nissan customer service at 1-800-647-7261. If you prefer, you can also call NHTSA's Vehicle Safety Hotline at 1-888-327-4236 and ask about safety campaign #16V436000.