Nissan North America has issued a massive recall for Nissan and Inifiniti vehicles due to a software glitch that could prevent certain airbags from deploying during collisions. The recall affects a range of vehicles from the 2013 and 2014 model years, including:
2013 Infiniti JX35
2014 Infiniti Q50
2014 Infiniti QX60
2013-2014 Nissan Altima
2013-2014 Nissan Leaf
2013 Nissan NV200
2013-2014 Nissan Pathfinder
2013-2014 Nissan Sentra
According to a bulletin from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the recall affects 989,701 vehicles registered in the U.S.
The recall stems from a flaw in Nissan's occupant classification system software -- the software that determines whether the front passenger seat is occupied. When that software detects a passenger, it activates the airbags around the passenger seat. Conversely, if it believes the seat is empty, it deactivates those airbags.
Unfortunately, the software installed on the vehicles listed above may incorrectly determine that the passenger seat is empty when it is, in fact, occupied. If that were to happen, and if the vehicle were subsequently involved in an accident, the passenger-seat airbags would fail to deploy, increasing the possibility of injury or death.
Nissan is working on a software upgrade now, and the company will notify owners when the patch is ready (probably in mid-April). At that time, owners will be able to take their vehicles to Nissan and Infiniti dealers, who will update the software free of charge.
If you own one of the affected vehicles and have questions in the meantime, you're encouraged to contact Nissan at 800-647-7261. Alternately, you can call NHTSA at 888-327-4236 and ask about recall campaign 14V138000.