Major Automaker Issues ‘Do Not Drive’ Warning and Recall for Certain Vehicle Models

By: Sam Watanuki | Published: May 30, 2024

Nissan has issued a dire warning for owners of certain older vehicle models.

The automaker is urging these owners to stop driving their cars immediately due to the increased risk of Takata airbag inflators exploding in a crash, potentially causing serious injuries or fatalities.

Affected Vehicle Models

The recall impacts specific Nissan and Infiniti models. The models include the 2002-2006 Sentra, 2002-2004 Pathfinder, and 2002-2003 Infiniti QX4.

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Owners are advised to check if their vehicle is affected using their 17-digit VIN on Nissan or Infiniti’s recall websites.


Tragic Consequences

The urgency of Nissan’s warning is underscored by a tragic incident where an individual was killed due to an exploding airbag inflator in a 2006 Sentra.

Photo of the back of a red Nissan Sentra vehicle

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Since 2015, as many as 58 people have been injured due to these faulty inflators.

NHTSA's Warning

The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) supports Nissan’s warning.

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They highlighted that even minor crashes could cause Takata air bags to explode, leading to life-threatening injuries. Older vehicles are particularly at risk due to the age of the air bags.

Free Repairs and Services

Nissan is offering free repairs for the defective inflators. Owners should contact their dealers to schedule an appointment.

A man is pictured working on a car in his garage

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Additionally, free towing services to dealerships and, in some locations, mobile repair services and loaner cars are available to affected owners.

Understanding the Defect

The defective Takata inflators use ammonium nitrate to create a small explosion to inflate the airbag.

Light blue Nissan Versa displayed in a showroom

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Over time, exposure to high temperatures and humidity can cause the chemical to deteriorate, resulting in an overly forceful explosion that breaks the inflator’s metal canister and sends shrapnel flying.


Previous Recall Efforts

Nissan initially recalled 736,422 vehicles in 2020 to replace the defective inflators.

A close-up of many cars on the road stopped during traffic.

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Despite multiple attempts to reach affected owners, around 84,000 vehicles remain unrepaired and potentially dangerous.


Global Impact of Takata Air Bags

The issue with Takata airbags has had a global impact, leading to the largest auto recall in U.S. history involving at least 67 million inflators.

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Worldwide, 100 million inflators have been recalled, causing Takata to declare bankruptcy.


Similar Warnings from Other Automakers

Nissan is not alone in issuing “do not drive” warnings.

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Other major automakers, including Honda, Ford, BMW, Toyota, Stellantis, and Mazda, have issued similar warnings for vehicles equipped with Takata inflators.


Checking Vehicle Status

Owners of potentially affected vehicles should act immediately.

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By entering their vehicle’s VIN on the Nissan or Infiniti recall websites, they can determine if their car is part of the recall and take necessary steps to ensure their safety.


Preventive Measures

To prevent further incidents, it’s crucial for affected vehicle owners to heed the warnings and take action.

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National Archives at College Park/Wikimedia Commons

Free repair services and the availability of loaner cars and towing options make it easier for owners to address this critical issue promptly.


Nissan's Commitment to Safety

Nissan remains committed to resolving this issue and ensuring the safety of its customers.

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The company continues to encourage all affected owners to take immediate action and get their vehicles repaired to prevent any more tragic outcomes.