Nissan North America is recalling more than 850,000 Sentra compact sedans over a defect that may prevent the brake lights from illuminating, which could increase the risk of a crash.
The affected vehicles — totaling 807,376 units in the United States and 46,737 in Canada — are 2016-19 model-year Sentras. Nissan said it is not aware of any accidents related to this issue.
The Japanese automaker said the brake-light switch may become contaminated with off-gassing from silicon-based grease used in neighboring components, according to a document filed with NHTSA. Silicon dioxide buildup may lead to open circuit issues, preventing the circuit from closing and the brake lights from illuminating, the document said.
If the condition occurs, drivers may notice a check engine light or experience brake lights that won't illuminate or an engine that won't start.
The issue is unique to 2016-19 Sentras because of "the combination of clevis pin grease that uses a high concentration of silicon, and a bulb system that uses a high-current switch. Specifically, the layout of the clevis pin and brake lamp switch being in close proximity to one another is unique on the Sentra model," Nissan said in a letter to U.S. safety regulators.
"No other Nissan or Infiniti vehicles share this specific combination of factors and are therefore unaffected by the issue," the automaker said.
Nissan did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
To fix the problem, dealers will replace the stop-lamp switch and install a switch protective grommet.
Dealers were notified of the recall on Tuesday. Owners of all potentially affected vehicles will be notified starting April 7.