2023 Nissan Ariya Recalled for Steering Wheel That Might Fall Off
Look, it’s no secret that building cars is hard, but the steering wheel is one critical safety part that a manufacturer has to get right. Unfortunately for Nissan, a new NHTSA recall reveals a troubling issue for its Ariya electric SUV.
Unlike Tesla’s recent issue with steering wheels pulling right off the column in the Model 3 and Model Y, this doesn’t appear to be a factory defect. Instead, it stems from a fix done at the port that involved replacing the steering wheel. The notice from the NHTSA and report from Nissan doesn’t state what the issue was that prompted the steering wheel replacement, but the port repair may have led to the steering wheel bolt being left loose, or not reinstalled at all. If the bolt is gone, it’s possible for the driver of an Ariya to pull the steering wheel off the column while driving. While a loose bolt wouldn’t allow the wheel to completely come off, it wouldn’t be properly attached to the steering column and you still might not be able to steer the vehicle.
The wild part of the story is that Nissan only found two Ariyas that had loose steering wheel bolts out of 96 that were audited by dealers up to the point where Nissan decided to launch this recall. At that time, 418 Ariyas were in the U.S. , but the recall was due to an “abundance of caution,” according to the NHTSA report. According to that same report, 1,063 Ariyas are subject to this recall with an estimated 1 percent being affected.
The repair is to simply remove the steering wheel bolt (if it’s there) and replace it with a new one. Once that’s done, the technician will then grab the wheel at the 3 and 9 o’clock positions and rock the steering wheel back and forth, as if they are trying to remove it without a steering wheel puller. If it goes well (including after a retorquing if the wheel was loose with the new bolt installation), the technician will then place a “match mark” with a paint pen or marker on the head of the bolt and the steering wheels internal framework. That’s when they use Nissan’s CONSULT 4 (its OEM diagnostic scan tool that can access systems beyond what a private scan tool with a public OBD protocol will allow) to adjust the steering angle sensor’s neutral position and recalibrate the steering torque for the ADAS.
Nissan will send out a notification to any Ariya owners that their vehicle is subject to this recall, and it will be performed as a recall repair at no cost to the owner. If performed before this recall was issued, Nissan says that the owners shouldn’t have been charged as this would have been considered a warranty repair. If an owner doesn’t want to wait for the notice, they can check the NHTSA or Nissans websites to see if their EV is subject to this recall with its VIN.
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