A few months ago, I received a postcard in the mail from Nissan about an air bag sensor recall, officially called the Occupant Classification System or OCS. It didn’t seem that bad. The wording was such that I was not alarmed. They are working on a remedy and I should wait until I received notice that there is a fix ready from Nissan. I was not aware there is a shortage of parts and that the whole problem could be dangerous.
I seldom have passengers and I don’t drive very far. Two major warnings happened recently that were indications of a major problem with my 2013 Nissan LEAF.
- My friend who is slight and tiny and weighs 83 pounds along with my eight pound dog were sitting on the passenger seat and the yellow “No-Airbag” light remained on, indicating that the air bags were shut off.
- I put a bag of groceries with two bags of frozen potatoes and ice cream on the seat and the No-Airbags light shut off. The groceries were light enough to not require an air bag.
The airbags would deploy for french fries but not for my adult friend in the case of accident!
There is definitely a problem supplying parts because the recall is for 3.2 million cars. What the postcard didn’t say was “the OCS system failures pose serious and potentially life-threatening hazards to both adult and child occupants.” If I was in accident with my friend, her air bag would not deploy.
I called the Nissan Consumer Affairs and number that further explained about the Occupant Classification System Recall
This is voluntary recall for 2013-2017 – Nissan, Altima, Leaf, Maxima, Murano, Pathfinder, Sentra, Rouge, NV200, NV200 Taxi, Pathfinder, Infiniti Q50, JX35, and QX60 and Chevrolet City Express
In certain vehicles in rare instances the OCS may not perform as designed.
- Nissan is currently sourcing necessary parts for (Nissan Pathfinder, LEAF or ENV200).
- The recall only affects the front passenger seat.
- Never seat a small child in the front seat.
- If the red light airbag light is on in the instrument cluster, take the car directly to the dealer.
- If the yellow passenger airbag light is lit after car is started when an adult is in the passenger sear, take the Nissan to dealer immediately.
Here’s where the problem arises, Nissan doesn’t have enough parts on hand to fix all the vehicles. Also, only about half of the cars are affected. Some dealers, I called told me I had to come in for a test which would take a lot of time and is incorrect.
When I spoke to a consumer affairs agent, he said that I had to clearly specify that the yellow passenger air bag light remained on while there was an adult in the seat.
If you have any of the vehicles listed and notice problems with the any passenger airbag warning light take it to the dealer immediately. In the meantime do not allow any one either child or adult to sit in the passenger while you are driving.
The first dealer I called seemed really busy and I was told “We have a lot people waiting for the recall,”. Apparently, she didn’t realize how dangerous the problem is.
Sometimes vehicle recalls are like doctor visits, you have to be own advocate to get the care you need.
The problem with the notice, I received, was that it did not seem urgent. I also don’t recall seeing anything about what to do when the either of the warning lights show.
Date of Recall April 24, 2016
Nissan North America, Inc. (Nissan) is recalling certain model year 2016-2017 Nissan Maxima, 2013-2016 Nissan Altima, NV200, LEAF, Sentra, and Pathfinder, 2014-2016 Nissan NV200 Taxi, Infiniti QX60, QX60 Hybrid, and Q50 Hybrid, 2014-2017 Nissan Rogue and Infiniti Q50, 2015-2016 Nissan Murano, Murano Hybrid, and Chevrolet City Express, 2014-2015 Nissan Pathfinder Hybrid, and 2013 Infiniti JX35 vehicles. In these vehicles, the front seat passenger Occupant Classification System (OCS) may incorrectly classify an adult passenger as a child or classify the seat as empty despite it being occupied. As a result, the passenger frontal air bag may be turned off and not deploy in the event of a crash.