Car Industry

Nissan recalls 134,000 vehicles for engine fires

This only affects models equipped with adaptive cruise control.

Josh Miller/CNET

Alternative solution: Just don't ever use the brakes. (Please don't actually try this.)

Nissan

Another day, another recall notice. This time Nissan's pulling back a whole host of late-model vehicles.

If you were asked to envision a downside of adaptive cruise control, "starting engine fires" would probably not be the first thing that comes to mind. But yes, that's something you need to worry about, as Nissan has learned.

Nissan issued a recall covering about 134,000 examples of the 2016-2017 Maxima, 2015-2017 Murano and 2015-2016 Murano Hybrid. These vehicles are only included in the recall if they contain Nissan's Intelligent Cruise Control, which is its fancy name for adaptive cruise.

The issue lies with an anti-lock brake actuator pump that comes as part of the semi-autonomous feature. This pump may leak brake fluid onto a circuit board under the vehicle's hood, which can cause a fire in the engine bay. Nissan says there have been reports of "thermal damage," which is a very PR-friendly way of saying that something was either smoldering or on fire.

The fix involves replacing the ABS actuator in question. The recall hasn't yet started, but owners will receive notifications in the mail. In the meantime, drivers will know they're affected if the ABS light stays on for more than 10 seconds after their vehicles have been turned on. In that case, it's best to park it away from flammable objects and call the dealer immediately.