WASHINGTON — NHTSA has opened an investigation to assess potential safety risks in more than 325,000 Nissan Pathfinder midsize crossovers from the 2013 to 2016 model years.
The agency's Office of Defects Investigation said it has received 14 complaints from vehicle owners alleging hood latch failures while the vehicles were being driven, resulting in the hoods opening and obstructing the driver's view.
"Sudden and unexpected opening of the hood can startle drivers, block their visibility and could lead to a crash into other vehicles or objects," the agency said in its investigation report.
The investigation was opened Thursday, Dec. 9. No injuries, crashes or fatalities related to the issue have been reported, according to the NHTSA document.
The agency said Nissan is "collecting field parts to assess the alleged failure of the hood latch" and that a root cause has not been identified.
Nissan did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Most NHTSA investigations start as preliminary evaluations, in which agency engineers request information from the manufacturer, including data on complaints, injuries and warranty claims. The manufacturer also can present its view regarding the alleged defect and may issue a recall.
After the evaluation, NHTSA will either close the investigation or move into the next phase. If a safety-related defect exists, according to NHTSA, the agency might send a "recall request" letter to the manufacturer.