UPDATE 2-Nissan recalls 271,000 SUVs on steering risk

Mon Apr 25, 2011 10:00am EDT

* Road salt could cause corrosion and steering issues

* No injuries reported (Adds Canada recalls, Nissan comment on plans, accident)

DETROIT, April 25 (Reuters) - Nissan Motor Co Ltd (7201.T) recalled nearly 271,000 older-model Pathfinder and Infiniti QX4 SUVs in North America due to the chance that road salt and water could collect to cause a loss of steering, U.S. safety regulators said.

Affected in the United States and Canada are about 225,650 Pathfinders from model years 1996 to 2004 and about 45,330 Infiniti QX4 SUVs from model years 1997 to 2003.

The recall affects Pathfinders and QX4s in Canada and 20 cold-weather U.S. states where road salt is used to keep roads clear of snow and ice.

Road salt and melted snow can collect in the strut housing and may cause corrosion that could lead to difficulty in steering and even loss of steering, which could cause a crash, regulators said.

Nissan will inform customers of the recall be mid-May, and its dealers will inspect and fix the issue free of charge.

No injuries have been reported due to this issue and there is a report of an accident that was caused by it, but Nissan said that report could not be confirmed as linked to the corrosion issue.

Nissan said their tests have indicated that only a small portion of the recalled vehicles are expected to need repair.

Inspection at Nissan dealers should take a half hour to an hour but repair or replacement will take longer, said a Nissan spokesman. (Reporting by Bernie Woodall, editing by Gerald E. McCormick, Dave Zimmerman)