Eugene Hoshiko / AP
Nissan recalls nearly 400,000 vehicles in the United States due to a braking system failure that could cause them to fire. Owners are advised to park affected vehicles outside and away from structures if the brake system warning light is on for more than 10 seconds.
The Japanese car manufacturer says that a pump seal can become worn and cause brake fluid to leak. "If the warning is ignored … the brake fluid leakage could potentially create an electrical defect in the actuator circuit, which in rare cases can cause a fire," the company said in documents sent to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
The recall affects four different models in the United States: Nissan Murano SUV, model year 2015 to 2018; Maxima sedans, model year 2016 to 2018; and Infiniti QX60 and Nissan Pathfinder SUVs, model year 2017 to 2019.
Nissan said in a statement sent to NPR that it is working to fix and that affected vehicle owners will be notified from early December 2019. "Once the remedy is available, owners will receive a final notice asking them to bring the vehicle to an authorized Nissan dealer or INFINITI dealer to get work done at no cost to parts or labor," the company said.
This is not It's not the first time Nissan has had problems with brake fluid leaks. Last year, for example, Nissan recalled more than 215,000 vehicles. The carmaker says vehicles in the 2018 recall that have not been repaired are included in the current recall.
The documents Nissan sent to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration do not state whether the braking system failure has caused fires or injuries.
However, an NHTSA database of vehicle owner complaints contained several unconfirmed reports of brake system leakage problems. A complaint from Sierra Vista, Ariz., Claimed that a 2017 Nissan Maxima "ignited and exploded" less than a month after it was purchased. According to the owner, insurance investigators said it happened because brake fluid leaked onto the circuit board.
Earlier this year, Nissan North America recalled 1.2 million vehicles because the rear camera could be adjusted to make the screen appear blank, breaking US safety standards.
Paolo Zialcita is an intern at NPR's Newsdesk.