Another day, another federal investigation of a vehicle for potentially faulty equipment. This time, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is looking at Nissan's littlest four-door for airbags that may go off at the wrong time.
NHTSA's Office of Defects Investigation is looking into three complaints centered on the 2012 Nissan Versa. The complaints allege that the Versa's side airbags, whether mounted in the headliner or the seat, might go off when a door is closed too hard. The door slams, the airbag goes off, and the interior is filled with dust and the owner must replace an expensive component.
If this investigation becomes a recall of the 2012 Versa, it could potentially include some 155,000 vehicles in the US. Investigations are typically the first step in the recall process. After receiving complaints of a defect, NHTSA will investigate and, potentially, compel an automaker to recall the affected vehicles.
It will be some time before the investigation concludes, but knowing how the process works can directly benefit you, the consumer. By reporting potential defects to the feds, instead of just the dealer, you can help prevent issues from becoming widespread, causing potential injury and death along the way. There's a whole part of NHTSA's website devoted to filing safety complaints.