Over 460K Nissan Trucks and SUVs Recalled for Airbags Turning Emblems Into Projectiles

Loose or cracking emblems can easily become high-speed projectiles in the event of airbag deployment, injuring passengers in the process.

byLewin Day|
Over 460K Nissan Trucks and SUVs Recalled for Airbags Turning Emblems Into Projectiles
2009 Nissan Xterra.

Airbags are a crucial safety feature. They're there to provide a soft landing for your face in the event of a crash. In the case of certain Nissan vehicles, though, they're also turning steering wheel emblems into projectiles, prompting an urgent recall from the automaker.

As reported by Automotive News, the issue concerns emblems detaching from the driver's side airbag cover. If this happens during airbag deployment, the emblem can become a high-speed projectile within the vehicle, potentially injuring passengers. Nissan North America has recalled over 460,000 vehicles worldwide over the issue. Certain Nissan Titan, Frontier, Xterra, Pathfinder, and Armada vehicles from 2008 to 2011 are subject to recall, along with Nissan Quest models from 2008 to 2009.

404,690 of those vehicles are in the US, with a further 17,214 in Canada and 6,471 in Mexico. There are four known incidents of injuries relating to the matter, according to Nissan. Owners of affected vehicles should contact their local dealership if their emblem is cracked, loose, or missing, a Nissan spokesperson told Automotive News, noting that limited repair parts or other replacement tranpsort may be available.

As per the NHTSA report, Nissan states that the emblems may have "reduced durability due to potential Tier 2 supplier production process variation." Translating that into English, it means that the supplier's process for gluing the emblems on went a little wrong at some point. The supplier in question is Autoliv, a Swedish manufacturer of airbags and seatbelts.

In the case of this new recall, the injuries from a plastic emblem are likely less dangerous compared to what we've seen from the tragic Takata airbag saga. Regardless, any airbag recall must be heeded appropriately. Nissan is still developing a repair ofr for the issue at this time, according to reports via Fox Business. Nissan's dealerships have already been notified of the issue, with letters to owners hitting the mail by April 10. A further follow-up will be sent out when Nissan has repair parts available for affected customers.

We've all seen pictures of steering wheels adorned with rhinestones and other decorations. It's a terrible idea, because you're essentially turning your airbag into a low-powered Claymore mine. It's rare, though, for the manufacturer-standard steering wheel to start throwing projectiles. The steering wheel airbag cover is crucial to safety, and thus great care is taken in its design. Of course, manufacturing issues can still crop up, as is the case here.

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