While Toyota has had the distinction of marketing the bestselling car in the United States for the past several years, another Japanese automaker gave them a run for their money in 2011.  For several months approaching the end of the year, Nissan’s Altima sedan was neck and neck with Toyota’s Camry.  Though the Camry ultimately won out, Nissan sold a significant number of Altima sedans last year, and they’ve seen the same success with the model so far in 2012.  This week, however, they announced that some Altima sedans are being recalled due to loose power steering bolts.

According to a Reuters report, approximately 14,000 model year 2012 and 2013 Altima sedans are being recalled by the Nissan Motor Company.  The cars being recalled were manufactured at Nissan’s plant in Canton, Mississippi between May 10, 2012 through July 26, 2012, and are thought to have power steering bolts on them that were not tightened properly.  Nissan told the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) that the problem is stemming from four of the vehicles’ traverse link bolts and two of its power steering rack bolts.  The company fears that the parts may loosen while driving, fall off, and put drivers and passengers at a greater risk of a collision.

Sources are conflicting over whether or not Nissan was made aware of any crashes occurring as a result of this problem, but the Japanese automaker says that it discovered the issue during routine testing  at the Canton plant on the last day the cars were manufactured.  They also said that if the bolts become loose and detach, drivers should expect to hear a rattling noise and experience difficulty in steering the vehicle.

The NHTSA’s website reports that Nissan will notify owners of the recall beginning around Halloween and that local Nissan dealers will tighten the bolts to their correct torque specifications free of charge.  For more information and to see if your car is affected by the recall, you can contact Nissan’s Customer Service Center at 800-647-7261.  You may also get in touch with the NHTSA’s Hotline at 888-327-4236 or visit SaferCar.gov.  The recall’s Campaign ID number is 12V494000.

This post was contributed by Brittany Larson of Nissan West Warwick.