Nissan Recalls Ignition Switches That Are Inadvertently Turning the Engine Off

Certain Nissan vehicles are shutting themselves off while driving thanks to busted ball springs in the ignition switch, with a hearty assist from heavy keychains.

In August 2017, the ignition switch supplier (Alpha Technology Corp.) told Nissan a problem occurred during manufacturing of the ignition switch ball springs. New tests were created for the ignition switches and how they would function on rough roads during vibrations of the vehicles.

Tests concluded that those ball springs are giving out way too early. And without springs to support the weight of heavy key chains bouncing around on bumpy roads, the ignition is slipping itself from the “on” to “accessory” position.

To make sure drivers don’t suddenly find themselves cruising down the highway with their radios on and their engines off, Nissan is recalling over 150,000 vehicles.

If this all sounds familiar you might be thinking of Chevrolet’s long nightmare with faulty ignition switches. In fact, maybe now is a good time to mention the Chevrolet City Express has found its way into an otherwise all Nissan lineup of recalled vehicles. Seems like more than a coincidence.

The one key difference is that Nissan’s airbag systems have an electrical capacity reserve, which means they should still stay on even with the ignition in the “accessory” position. Chevy owners weren’t so lucky.