Nashville, Tenn., Jan. 15, 2019 – Infiniti’s recall of its EX35 sedan affected 200,000 vehicles that may have a faulty passenger-side air bag sensor. According to a recent NBC report, this action did not target every car with the defect, despite its relatively large scale. Owners of vehicles from models outside the year range covered by the recall may find the same issue in their vehicles, but with those cars not covered by the complimentary replacement offer, the drivers have to pay out of pocket to safeguard their air bags.
Looking back at the initial National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recall of Infiniti vehicles, reported back in 2008 by U.S. News & World Report, the cars that did receive official notices for faulty passenger-side air bag sensors were the 2007 and 2008 Infiniti G35, Infinit G37, Infiniti EX35, Nissan Altima, Nissan 350Z, Nissan Rogue and Nissan Murano. The vehicle still on the road that may contain the same part is a later model, the 2009 Infiniti G35. In total, more than 200,000 cars and sport utility vehicles were involved across the Infiniti and Nissan nameplates.
The cars in question use an occupant classification system to determine whether to deploy an air bag on the passenger side in the case of a collision. The sensor involved in the recall is the part that tells a vehicle if there is someone in the right-side seat. When the component is defective, the air bag system may overlook the presence of a passenger, with the circuit becoming interrupted. In such a case, the airbag may fail to deploy and the occupants of the car would not be adequately protected.
U.S. News noted at the time of the initial recall that many automakers had problems with passenger-side sensors in 2008. BMW and Hyundai recalled an combined 600,000 for similar issues. The newspaper recommended that even cars that haven’t officially been recalled should likely receive inspections. This proved to be relevant, as a similar defect appeared more than 10 years later.
NBC explained the 2009 Infiniti found to have the defect was purchased new, and is now out of warranty. Several owners of vehicles made by Nissan and Infiniti have complained of similar defects to the NHTSA but been unable to receive free-of-charge service because their cars were produced after the 2007-2008 window included in the recall. A Center of Auto Safety representative replied that making complaints is important, as it helps set the recall process in motion.
Timeline of Events
All the cars involved in the recall come from the 2007 and 2008 model years, and they received an “urgent recall alert” in October 2008. The timeline becomes more complicated, however, when considering the possibility that the defect may occur on vehicles that haven’t yet received an official recall notice, more than 10 years after the fact. NBC published its report about this potential scenario in January 2019.
Fixing the sensor problem involves using a detector to determine whether the part is defective, then replacing the entire seat cushion if there is a problem with the component. NBC reported that this process, when carried out on a car not covered by the recall, could cost over $4,000. Infiniti did offer to take on the majority of the cost in the case covered by the news organization, bringing the bill to $1,000. For recalled vehicles, the dealer does not charge to make the change.