Baltimore Personal Injury Update: Another Serious Automobile Safety Recall from Nissan Indicates Steering-related Problem

Is it us, or does the auto industry seem to be having more trouble lately regarding serious mechanical issues and automobile safety recalls? This is not an indictment of the entire industry, but there certainly have been some very significant safety recalls from automakers and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) over the course of the past year; problems with cars made by reputable automobile manufacturers such as General Motors and Toyota. Now comes Nissan Motor Company with a potentially life-threatening issue on thousands of their Altima sedans.

As Maryland personal injury lawyers, we know that people expect to be safe in the vehicles that they purchase from car, truck and motorcycle manufacturers. And while it may be a difficult job to build completely flawless motor vehicles, there is a level of safety that every consume hopes for in their vehicle. But, considering the number parts and components that go into every passenger car, SUV or minivan, it’s understandable that some of those items may be faulty. We only hope that the critical ones have been checked and double checked.

Being hurt in a car accident can lead to serious complications. Back and neck injuries, as well as serious head or brain trauma can sideline an individual for months or years, if not a lifetime. Being injured in a car or commercial trucking collision due to negligence of the other driver usually provides a clear-cut case against the responsible party. And although the facts may speak for themselves, it’s always a wise choice to consult with a qualified personal injury attorney to better understand one’s situation following a bad car, truck or motorcycle accident.

When it comes to mechanical problems that result in an injury-related car accident, having an attorney who understands the law as it pertains to products liability cases is essential. Instances involving safety-related parts are all the more critical when it comes to injury lawsuits. Now, one of the more recent automobile safety recalls comes from Nissan in the form of bolts that hold the vehicle’s steering rack to the substructure may not have been properly fastened.

According to news reports, Nissan has announced a recall of nearly 14,000 Altimas, one of that company’s top-selling models in the U.S. The problem, which apparently only affects the Altima sedan, involves possible improper torqueing of the bolts that hold the power steering rack in place, plus another four bolts that connect the vehicle’s transverse link assembly. The bolts in question may not have been tightened (torqued) to the proper specification during the assembly process, according to news reports.

Should any of those bolts become loose or fall out, it could result in a crash, depending of course on the situation at the time of the failure. Based on news reports, Nissan advised the NHTSA that some of the bolts may “shake loose” while the vehicle is being driven, resulting initially in a rattling noise that the driver and passengers might notice. The vehicles affected include ‘12 and ’13 Altima sedans built at the company’s assembly plant in Canton, Mississippi, from May 10 through July 26, 2012.

As of the initial news articles a few days ago, there had not been any reported injuries or car accidents arising from the defective assembly method, however the threat does exist and anyone who owns or drives one of the affected models would be well advised to heed this recall and have their local dealer inspect the suspect parts. There is no sense in inviting disaster when it comes to a potentially faulty steering system on any automobile.

According to the latest information, owners will be contacted by Nissan and asked to bring their cars into a nearby dealership to have the bolts torqued to the proper tightness. Because the vehicles are still new, that work will apparently be performed under Nissan’s new vehicle warranty.

As background, Nissan told the NHTSA that the safety issue came to its attention on July 26, when workers at the Canton facility detected the problem during a routine test. According to news reports, the company confirmed that a safety defect existed on September 21, when a number of the suspect vehicles in dealer inventory were examined. Almost two weeks later, on October 3, Nissan decided a recall needed to be conducted.

Nissan recalls Altimas in US for loose steering bolts,, October 22, 2012

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