2014 Infiniti Q50

The gradual replacement of mechanical components in automobiles with electronic systems brings with it definite advantages, but also poses certain potential dangers. Just think of the inevitable problems you've encountered with the computer on which you're reading these words and you'll know what we mean. But a computer crashing isn't as problematic as your car going on the fritz when its electronic systems fail.

That's what Infiniti is being reminded of with its new drive-by-wire electronic steering system. The Japanese automaker developed and installed the Direct Adaptive Steering System in its new Q50 sedan, but a small number of those cars on the road are now being recalled due to that system.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, on a small number of examples, the Q50's optional by-wire system may fail if the temperature in the engine compartment drops below freezing. There's a backup mechanical setup in place should the electronic system fail, but NHTSA says that the backup system may also fail to engage in time to avoid a crash.

Since the problem only seems to affect a specific version of the software that governs the steering system, just 23 vehicles are being recalled for this issue, which is a very small recall in the face of other campaigns that often affect thousands, tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands or even millions of vehicles. But the particular nature of this problem makes it rather unique. See the full announcement below for details.
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RECALL Subject : Software may Disable Steering in Cold Temperatures
Report Receipt Date: NOV 20, 2013
NHTSA Campaign Number: 13V588000
Component(s): STEERING
Potential Number of Units Affected: 23
Manufacturer: Nissan North America, Inc.

SUMMARY:
Nissan North America, Inc.'s (Nissan) is recalling certain model year 2014 Infiniti Q50 vehicles equipped with Direct Adaptive Steering. The affected vehicles received a power steering software version that, should the engine compartment reach freezing temperatures, the power steering software may disable the electric steering system and also may delay the engagement of the mechanical steering backup system.

CONSEQUENCE:
The disablement of the steering systems could result in a loss of steering, increasing the risk of a crash.

REMEDY:
Nissan notified owners and arranged to have vehicles towed to the nearest Infiniti retailer. Customers were instructed not to drive their vehicles until they were repaired. Infiniti retailers provided affected customers with loaner vehicles, while the software update remedy was applied. These services were provided at no cost to the customer. Owners may contact Infiniti at 1-800-662-6200.

NOTES:
Owners may also contact the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Vehicle Safety Hotline at 1-888-327-4236 (TTY 1-800-424-9153), or go to www.safercar.gov.