The Office of Defects Investigations (ODI) is an office within the NHTSA which investigates serious safety problems in the design, construction or performance of vehicles. The NHTSA is authorized to order manufacturers to recall and repair vehicles, if the ODI finds a safety issue. NHTSA investigations for the 2014 Nissan Versa Note, both ongoing and closed, are listed below:

  1. INVESTIGATION: Excessive Brake Pedal Travel

    NHTSA Preliminary Evaluation #PE14014

    • Status:
    • Date Opened: May 20, 2014
    • Date Closed: May 13, 2015
    • Recall: No recall issued

    Component(s): Service Brakes
    Service Brakes, Hydraulic
    Service Brakes, Hydraulic:Foundation Components
    Service Brakes, Hydraulic:Foundation Components:Master Cylinder

    Summary: On May 20, 2014, ODI opened PE14-014 based on eight complaints alleging incidents of excessive brake pedal travel in model year (MY) 2013 through 2014 Nissan Sentra, Versa Sedan and Versa Note passenger cars (Figure 1) and information in Early Warning Reporting field reports indicating issues with master cylinder internal seals.In response to an information request letter sent by ODI, Nissan identified a condition with the master cylinder in early production subject vehicles that could result in a slow internal leak past one of the recuperating seals to the brake reservoir when the brake pedal is depressed very slowly or lightly (Figure 2).The subject vehicles are equipped with fixed seal master cylinders supplied by TRW.To address concerns with water hammer noise with the standard seal design, the master cylinders in the early production subject vehicles used AWH (anti-water hammer) seals.The AWH seals are sensitive to contamination from assembly plant cleanliness issues, which can produce the internal leak condition during slow or light brake applies but perform as designed with normal or emergency brake applications.TRW indicated that the risk of contamination interacting with the subject seals is greatest after the evacuation and pressure fill process used to fill the brake system during the manufacturing process (early life issue).TRW developed a new master cylinder seal design (EVO seal) that addresses the noise concern and eliminates the internal leak concern associated with contamination by providing a secondary seal (Figure 3).Nissan implemented the new master cylinder design in vehicle production on September 23, 2013.ODI's analysis shows that the master cylinder warranty claim rate is much higher in vehicles produced before the change (Figure 4).Statistical analysis showed that the condition is an early-life problem with relatively low failure rates projected through 100,000 miles and approximately 58 percent of the failures projected to occur by that mileage have already occurred (Table 1).Warranty claims are highest (78% of claims) in vehicles with less than 10,000 miles (Figure 5) and 50 percent of claims involved vehicles with less than 90 days in service (Figure 6).ODI evaluated 22 crash claims that included allegations of master cylinder failure, sinking brake pedal or pedal to the floor (Table 2).The analysis identified only three crashes in which a brake performance issue related to the master cylinder was duplicated by post-incident inspection, including one with a different problem than the seal leak issue (a broken plunger).The two crash complaints related to a possible master cylinder concern involved 1 vehicle with the AWH seal and 1 with the EVO seal.Both were minor crashes.The remaining crashes do not appear to be related to any issues with the master cylinder or other brake system fault.In the 4 crashes with Event Data Recorderinformation available, the data indicated that the brakes were applied too late to avoid the collisions.These include 2 crashes with less than a half second of braking before impact and 2 in which brake applications lasting 1.0 to 2.5 seconds resulted in high decelerations consistent with fully functioning brake systems, but too late to avoid the collision.Overall, the rates of crashes adjusted for vehicle exposure (total vehicle years in service) do not show any correlation to the high warranty rates associated with the AWH seal leak concern (Table 3 & Figure 7).Given these circumstances, further use of the agency resources in this matter does not appear to be warranted.Accordingly, this investigation is closed. The closing of this investigation does not constitute a finding by NHTSA that a safety-related defect does not exist. The agency will continue to monitor complaints and other information relating to the alleged defect and take further action in the future if warranted.

  2. INVESTIGATION: Pedal Operation Interference

    NHTSA Engineering Analysis #EA15003

    Component(s): Service Brakes, Hydraulic
    Service Brakes, Hydraulic:Pedals And Linkages
    Vehicle Speed Control:Accelerator Pedal

    Summary: On August 11, 2015, Nissan North America, Inc., submitted a Defect Information Report (DIR) describing a condition that may impede the driver's ability to transition quickly and smoothly from the accelerator pedal to the brake pedal in certain model year (MY) 2012 through 2015 Nissan Versa Sedans and MY 2014 through 2015 Nissan Versa Note vehicles (NHTSA Recall No. 15V-507).According to Nissan's DIR, in certain circumstances related to driver foot position and shoe type, the right edge of the driver-s shoe may catch the edge of the center console lower trim panel.Nissan indicated that "this condition could cause a slight delay in the smooth transition between the accelerator pedal and the brake pedal which may increase the braking distance; therefore increasing the risk of a crash."Nissan's recall instructs dealers to trim the console panel so that the leading edge is at a greater distance from the driver-s foot.Nissan had previously issued a service campaign (Nissan Campaign ID #P5308; TSB #NTB15-033) on April 16, 2015, to provide the remedy for the same set of vehicles before deciding to change the program to a safety recall.Of the approximately 421,305 vehicles covered by recall 15V-507, approximately 122,558 have already been repaired under the service campaign. ODI's investigation also examined allegations that an HVAC duct in the driver's footwell area may interfere with the driver's right foot in certain circumstances.ODI's analysis of all complaints related to foot obstructions in the subject vehicles identified 45 complaints, 7 crashes and 1 minor soft tissue injury.Thirty-five (35) of the complaints, all 7 crashes and the only injury were caused by the trim panel condition which is the subject of the recall.ODI will continue to monitor complaints related to the HVAC duct condition.This investigation is closed based on Nissan's recall.The VOQs associated with the closing of this investigation are: 10725339, 10723544, 10711794, 10691631, 10649259, 10640644, 10629161, 10614957, 10610356, 10606832, 10606766, 10606670, 10597004, 10573057, 10503811, and 10498000.