On, Snap! Fractured Coil Springs Are Puncturing Versa Tires

Posted on
#wheels #suspension #corrosion #investigation #lawsuit #recall
Flat front tire from busted coil spring

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?

The Federal "Ignition Coil" Investigation

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."

With the Investigation Pending, a Class-Action is Born

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."

Nissan Skirts the Blame and Orders a Recall

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

Generations Where This Problem Has Been Reported

This problem has popped up in the following Nissan generations.

Most years within a generation share the same parts and manufacturing process. You can also expect them to share the same problems. So while it may not be a problem in every year yet, it's worth looking out for.

OK, Now What?

Maybe you've experienced this problem. Maybe you're concerned you will soon. Whatever the reason, here's a handful of things you can do to make sure it gets the attention it deserves.

  1. File Your Complaint

    CarComplaints.com is a free site dedicated to uncovering problem trends and informing owners about potential issues with their cars. Major class action law firms use this data when researching cases.

    Add a Complaint
  2. Notify CAS

    The Center for Auto Safety (CAS) is a pro-consumer organization that researches auto safety issues & often compels the US government to do the right thing through lobbying & lawsuits.

    Notify The CAS
  3. Report a Safety Concern

    The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is the US agency with the authority to conduct vehicle defect investigations & force recalls. Their focus is on safety-related issues.

    Report to NHTSA