Nissan said a corrosion problem with the lower steering column joint and shaft can limit steering movement, making the vehicles difficult to steer. In some cases, the corrosion can lead to cracks in the joint.
The company also mentioned that it will recall 18,500 Sentra sedans because of a battery cable terminal connector problem that can make the cars difficult to start or stall at low speeds.
The recalled Frontier pickup trucks are from 2002 through 2004 model years, built from July 9, 2001 to October 20, 2004 in Smyrna, Tennessee, for the North American market. Frontiers made from November 30, 2001 to June 26, 2008 in Curitiba, Brazil are also affected by the recall.
The Xterras in the recall were built between July 9, 2001 and January 6, 2005 at the Smyrna plant. Xterras made from February 17, 2003 to June 13, 2008 in Curitiba, Brazil are also affected.
Nissan said in a statement that the steering problem was discovered from cases in Brazil and Canada. There were no fielded reports from the US.
"The isolated field reports from Brazil and Canada are likely related to some unique environmental conditions not commonly present in other areas, combined with a greater percentage of off-pavement usage," Nissan spokesman Colin Price said in an e-mail. "Nevertheless, out of an abundance of caution, we have decided that field action is appropriate in all the potentially affected markets."
Nissan will inform owners of the recall in early December when parts will become available and dealers will make the necessary interventions at no cost to the owners. The carmaker will replace the positive battery cable terminal on Sentra sedans built at the Aguascalientes plant in Mexico from May 22, 2010 to July 8, 2010.
Approximately 240,000 Frontiers, 261,000 Xterras and 14,000 Sentras are affected by the recall in the US market alone.