Franklin, Tenn. – Aug. 15, 2017 – Nissan North America has recalled more than 44,000 pickup trucks with noncompliant seat belt components, according to documentation filed with the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration. The campaign affects 2016-2016 Nissan Titan crew cab models produced between Sept. 29, 2015 and Feb. 24, 2017, as well as Titan XD diesel crew cab models with production dates ranging from Aug. 4, 2016 to Feb. 24, 2017. Nissan suspects 100 percent of the vehicles named in the recall contain the noncompliant components.
The vehicles named in the recall could be equipped with seat belt fixtures that do not meet automotive assembly requirements established in Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 201, which states that such components cannot have passenger head injury criterion values exceeding 1,000, according to the NHTSA. The Titan pickups referenced in the campaign contain seat belt assemblies that recorded a HIC value of 1007.9 in factory safety tests. These parts pose a serious threat to passengers, who, due to overly lax restraint features, could come into contact with hard metal seat belt bolt rim caps during accidents. However, Nissan has yet to receive reports connecting the noncompliant components to accidents or injuries.
Timeline of Events
In January 2017, Nissan conducted internal HIC tests to assess the safety features on multiple vehicles, according to company documents submitted to the NHTSA. During these trials, engineers for the automakers learned that multiple models of the Nissan Titan pickup did not meet FMVSS requirements. In February, the NHTSA’s Office of Vehicle Safety Compliance sent an information request to Nissan asking for HIC readings. As engineers prepared this data, they performed further tests to ascertain the root cause of the readings and pinpoint any possible seat belt assembly defects that might have caused them.
Nissan responded to the OVSC request in March and continued internal tests to see if the noncompliant readings created real-world safety concerns. Engineers soon discovered that the restraint features present in vehicles that registered HIC values over 1,000 were slightly skewed – specifically, the D-ring bolt trim caps and C-pillars were installed so as to create an approach angle of 15 degrees, when the FMVSS recommended they be installed to accommodate an approach angle of 0 degrees.
With this information in hand, Nissan established that the installed equipment created a significant safety risk and issued an official recall. The car company notified dealers July 31.
Nissan has ordered dealers to the seat belt bolts and bolt caps in affected vehicles, free of charge. Owners should expect to receive notification Sept. 26 via first-class mail. Those in need of more immediate assistance can contact Nissan customer service personnel at (800) 647-7261 or call the NHTSA Vehicle Safety Hotline at (888) 327-4236.