UPDATED: NHTSA Investigating Nissan Quest After Reports of Inaccurate Fuel Readings
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has opened an investigation into certain model year 2007 Nissan Quest minivans. This investigation affects an estimated 37,656 vehicles.
NHTSA's Office of Defects Investigation (ODI) has received 12 complaints alleging inaccurate fuel gauge readings in the Nissan Quest vehicles in question.
According to all 12 consumer complaints, the subject vehicles stalled because the fuel level reading indicated adequate fuel in the tank when there was actually none. Two complaints say that more than 70 miles of estimated available driving range before refueling was indicated on the distance-to-empty display when the vehicles stalled.
All of the complaints have been received within the past 14 months. A Preliminary Evaluation has been opened by ODI to assess the scope, frequency and potential safety consequences associated with the alleged defect.
Upon the conclusion of this initial investigation, ODI will decide what, if any, additional steps need to be taken. This could include further investigation and an eventual safety recall of all affected Nissan Quest vehicles.
UPDATE:This ivestigation has been closed. During ODI's investigation, Nissan identified a condition in the subject vehicles that may result in the fuel gauge falsely indicating more than the actual amount of fuel remaining in the gas tank. According to Nissan, the combination meter voltage divider circuit for the sender unit may have one of two resistors open or lifted resulting in a fuel gauge malfunction and inaccurate fuel level reading. When this condition occurs, the fuel gauge in the combination meter will continue to track the actual amount of fuel in the gas tank down to approximately one quarter of a tank. However, the fuel gauge will not go any lower which may cause drivers to run out of fuel unexpectedly.
Additionally, ODI analyzed complaint data provided by Nissan as well as complaints submitted to ODI from consumers. In total, ODI identified 136 unique complaints indicating an inaccurate fuel level reading while driving in the subject vehicles.
Nissan developed a remedy procedure and issued Service Campaign PC 335 affecting approximately 68,003 model year 2007 through 2009 Nissan Quest vehicles. Owners of the affected vehicles will receive preliminary notification by mail recommending owners to keep fuel level above ½ tank at all times until repair parts become available. Once the remedy kits become available, Nissan plans to send another letter to affected customers.
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.