— Model year 2013 Nissan Altima rear lower control arm failures are under federal investigation after four owners complained rust and corrosion caused separations at the connection points to the frames.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) says all four lower control arm failures in 2013 Altimas occurred in states where salt is used in the winter.
Altima drivers complain about losing the rear suspensions that affect rear wheel alignments on what Nissan calls the lower spring links, with three complaints saying the control arms broke while the vehicles were in use.
The driver of a 2013 Nissan Altima told NHTSA that corrosion caused the rear driver-side wheel to fracture from the frame. The dealer said the metal link to the rear wheels and chassis failed and the rear control arms and control link fractured.
Another 2013 Altima driver said they were traveling down a road when the rear control arm detached when the car had 46,000 miles on the odometer. The driver said the problem was caused by rust from the inside out that finally caused the control arm to break off.
In addition, the driver of another 2013 Altima complained they were backing out of a parking space and heard a loud pop as the rear of the car dropped to the point the top of the back tire couldn't be seen. The dealer confirmed the left rear lower control arm broke and the right control arm was cracked in the same place, requiring replacement of both arms.
Finally, a driver said he was entering a freeway when the control arm broke during rush hour, causing him to lose the ability to steer the car. Stranded on the highway, he had the car towed to an independent repair shop that charged him $2,200 in repairs for a car with only 72,000 miles on the odometer.
Nissan allegedly denied his claim because he didn't take the car to an authorized dealer for repairs.
"While stranded on the highway, the last place I was thinking about taking me vehicle was to the dealer (15+ miles away) that sold me a car that had a major equipment failure in less than 5 years of owning it."
In addition to owner complaints, NHTSA says early warning data submitted by Nissan shows there may be corrosion issues with 2013 Altimas.
About 374,000 cars are involved in the lower control arm failure investigation which so far is at the preliminary stage, a process that could be upgraded if investigators find evidence of problems.
It's also possible the government could suggest a recall of 2013 Nissan Altima cars, or NHTSA may close the investigation without taking additional action if regulators don't find evidence of safety defects.