NHTSA Probing Possible Brake Failure Issue On 200K Nissan Vehicles

When depressing the brake pedal, you expect your car to slow down, stop and then stay stopped until you lift your foot. But that apparently isn’t happening in some Nissan vehicles and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration initiated an investigation into the issue.

After receiving eight complaints regarding incidents of excessive brake pedal travel NHTSA opened an investigation into 200,000 model year 2013 and 2014 Nissan Sentra and Versa vehicles, Detroit News reports.

According to a notice [PDF] from NHTSA, the Office of Defects Investigation received Early Warning Reporting field report data related to the issue in addition to the consumer complaints.

Consumers did not report any crashes or injuries related to their complaints and no recall has been issued for the affected vehicles.

Several of the complaints, which date as far back as November 2012, detail how the vehicle “creeps forward” when stopped at red lights or stop signs although the brake pedal is depressed.

My 2013 Nissan Sentra with 142 miles already has problems with the service breaks. I was completely stopped at a traffic light. While waiting for the light to change I noticed that my car started to move forward. My first reaction was to press a little bit harder on the brake pedal, the car stopped, but a few seconds later the car started to move again.

While supposedly “stopped” at a red light, I realized I was rolling forward with the brake depressed. I pressed the brake pedal to the floor and the car stopped. When I accelerated ever so slightly, the car bucked and jolted forward. I slowed to a stop with barely there brakes, put the car in part and pumped up on the brakes, raising the pedal. This seemed to temporarily help, but the pedal went to the floor again the next time attempted to stop.

Many of the consumers who filed complaints had their vehicles inspected at local dealerships. In one case the consumer reported the dealer replaced the ABS (anti-lock braking system) chip, but the issue persisted. When the owner then brought the vehicle back to the dealership the master cylinder was replaced, however, that still did not correct the failure.

Nissan issued the following statement to the Detroit News:

“Nissan is committed to a high level of customer safety, service and satisfaction and seeks to provide an outstanding ownership experience to Nissan Versa and Sentra owners. We will carefully review this issue and, as always, work with the regulators to answer their questions.”

Since the beginning of the year, Nissan has issued two noteworthy recalls. In February, the company recalled more than 13,000 Frontier Trucks for potential fire risk. A month later more than a million 2013-14 Altima, Sentra and Pathfinder, 2013-14 Leaf electric car, 2013 Infinity JX35, 2014 Infinity Q50 and QX60, and 2013 Nissan NV 200 cargo vehicles were recalled because a software problem could lead to the deactivation of the front passenger airbag.

NHTSA investigates brake problems in 200,000 Nissan cars [Detroit News]