It took lots of time, owner complaints and a federal investigation, but the defective coil springs in 218,000 Nissan Versa cars have finally been recalled.
The front suspension coil springs were not properly protected from the hazards of road salt and known to snap without warning. When that happened, the springs would sometimes take the tires and brake lines down with them. Owners reported driving down the highway and having their tires go from 32-PSI, to 0-OMG is no seconds flat.
So, how did we get here?
In May of 2015, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) decided to take a look under the hood – er, wheel well – of the 2008–2010 Versa. This came after receiving 93 complaints about the busted springs.
Despite the investigation, Nissan insisted the springs were not an “unreasonable safety risk.” So … are they a reasonable one?
“[One owner said their] passenger-side coil spring fractured while traveling at 65 mph and caused a sudden tire failure by cutting the inner sidewall 360 degrees. Another Versa owner said the passenger-side coil spring fractured while traveling 40 mph and resulted in a tire puncture and brake line failure.”
Just a couple weeks after the NHTSA investigation opened, a lawsuit was filed against Nissan for not covering the cost of repairs for this “reasonable” safety risk. The lawsuit argued Nissan wouldn’t even spring for it in warranty.
“The lawsuit alleges that Nissan should have known about the defective suspension since at least 2007. The alleged defect can cause shuddering, popping and bumping sensations when the steering wheel is turned or when driving over uneven surfaces. The plaintiff claims the front coil springs can completely break and cause a loss of vehicle control.”
In October 2015, Nissan caved and issued a recall for 218,000 Versas in the “salt belt states.” While doing so, the automaker blamed the issue on “insufficient anti-corrosion coating” by their spring supplier.
Despite the investigation only looking at 2008-2010, the recall itself covered the 2007-2012 Versa.
Credits: Coil spring image from the thread “So a coil spring in my car snapped this morning on the way to work” on Reddit