Nissan logoNissan has recalled nearly 18,900 NV commercial vans because of a problem with the automatic transmission shifter, as Christopher Jensen writes for The New York Times blog Wheels. The recall includes 2012-2013 vans beginning with their introduction in December 2010 and continuing through January 4 of this year, Jensen writes. They were manufactured in Canton, Mississippi, at Nissan’s assembly plant.

In a letter to Nancy Lewis, Associate Administrator for Enforcement at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), Nissan’s Manager of Technical Compliance Don Neff explained the problem as follows:

Due to a manufacturing issue that has since been corrected, the transmission lever gear selector plate lock clip may have been installed incorrectly. As a result of normal road vibration over time, the clip could move out of position, which could cause the gear selector to malfunction. Specifically, the clip can disengage from the steering column bracket and allow the transmission cable to move out of position. If this occurs, there is a risk that the transmission shift lever will not match the actual gear position which may cause the vehicle to not be properly secured in the Park position.

NHTSA says the condition “greatly increased” the risk of auto accident and injury, Zach Bowman reports for Autoblog. Although this defect could lead a driver to think the vehicle was in “Park” when it was in gear, allowing it to roll away, Nissan said it was not aware of any crashes related to the problem.

The problem was discovered in December 2012, and Nissan began an investigation to determine the cause and potential consequences of the issue, Neff’s letter says. The company found that an assembly error was to blame. Nissan will begin a recall campaign on April 8, 2013, when it will begin notifying owners, Bowman notes. The car maker will inspect the gear selector lock clip and replace it if necessary for free.

Meanwhile, as Anthony Faccenda writes for Torque News:

[…] [O]wners can contact Nissan Customer Service at 1-800-647-7261. Nissan NV owners may also contact the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Vehicle Safety Hotline at 1-888-327-4236 or visit The NHTSA Campaign Number is 13V095000. […]

All Nissan NV owners should use the vehicle’s emergency break when parking the vehicle. Doing this will ensure that the vehicle will not unexpectedly roll away regardless of any incorrect gear indicator displays.

Torque News notes that this is Nissan’s third recall this month. The company recalled five Nissan models earlier in the month for a passenger airbag problem because it might not deploy in the case of a crash. It affected an unspecified number of five of Nissan’s most popular models, including Altima, Sentra, Pathfinder, Leaf and Infiniti JX35. And Nissan recalled nearly 400 model year 2013 Nissan Sentra compact cars because of a fuel tank defect that could result in a fire, Faccenda writes.

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