NHTSA Investigating Nissan Vehicle Issue That Can Result In Blown Tires, Brake Failure

Suffering a tire blowout while driving down the highway is never a welcome experience, but imagine if you found out that the tire blew, not because of debris on the roadway, but as a result of a manufacturing defect with your vehicle? It’s for that reason more than 130,000 Nissan Versa vehicles are now under investigation by federal regulators.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Office of Defects Investigation opened a probe into model year 2008 to 2010 Versa vehicles after receiving 93 complaints about fractured front suspension coil springs.

According to a notice [PDF] posted by NHTSA, the fractured spring can lead to tire punctures or brake line damage while driving, which increase the risk of an accident.

“Preliminary analysis of the complaints indicates that the coil spring failures occur without warning and can happen at any speed,” the agency says in the notice.

While no injuries or fatalities have been reported related to the issue, one complaint did involved a crash

The driver in that instance was entering a highway on-ramp when they heard the crunching sound of metal on metal coming from the front passenger side of their car.

“I attempted to straighten out my car after the slight right turn and my right tire was not reacting to my turning of the steering wheel. I hit the brake a bit and tried to slow the car when my car started to fishtail,” the complaint states. “I was already in a spin that caused me to completely lose control… the car speed past 360 degrees, I went over an island and came to an abrupt stop once I took out the stop sign on this island.”

Another complaint involved the coil spring fracturing while the vehicle was traveling at 65 miles-per-hour, causing a sudden tire failure by cutting the inner sidewall.

Several other complaints include instances where the vehicle experience a passenger-side coil spring fracture while driving at speed in excess of 40 miles-per-hour. At least one of those cases resulted in a tire puncture and brake line failure.

NHTSA says ODI has received field report information related to the failures for the affected vehicles.

A preliminary investigation has been opened by the agency to access the scope, frequency and safety-related consequences of the alleged defect. The investigation is NHTSA’s first step in a process that could result in a recall of the vehicles.

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