Forward Emergency Braking: What Are Consumers Reporting?

by Aryn Plax

Feb 2, 2021

A class action lawsuit filed against Nissan back in 2018 alleged that the Forward Emergency Braking (FEB) systems, renamed the Automatic Emergency Braking (AEB) systems in later models, were inherently defective.

According to the suit, the FEB systems are supposed to use radar sensors to detect obstacles in front of the vehicles. Upon detection, the FEB systems are supposed to alert drivers and, if the drivers do not respond in time, the FEB systems are supposed to trigger the brakes.

However, the class action lawsuit, Bashaw v. Nissan, alleges that the FEB system detects nonexistent obstacles, triggers the brakes at random and, confusingly enough, deactivates itself. When it deactivates, the dashboard allegedly flashes a warning: “Front radar unavailable due to obstruction.”

The lawsuit includes several complaints submitted to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration regarding the models listed in the class action case.

We went through this list and pulled the complaints we thought best summed up the alleged defects.

Note that the submitted complaints were edited for grammar and clarity.

When The Forward Emergency Braking System Shuts Off By Itself

2016 Nissan Murano, Submitted in Greensboro, NC on October 27, 2018:

Adaptive cruise control and Forward Emergency Braking (FEB) system becomes spontaneously disabled during driving. This poses a serious issue when actually driving the car. The car is in motion when this happens. The system can only be reset by stopping the car, turning off the ignition and then re-starting the engine.

When The Nissan Models Make Strange Noises

2018 Nissan Rogue, Submitted in The Villages, FL on July 24, 2018:

We purchased a 2018 Nissan Rogue in June. Today, we drove 75 miles and the emergency braking activated 4 times for no reason, once on the interstate, once on the off ramp, and twice on the highway. There were no railroad tracks or other obstacles. This has happened to me on two other occasions. The vehicle has almost 1,000 miles on it. I’m afraid someone will think I’m brake checking them! I’ll be speaking to the dealer, but I saw other complaints here and decided to register mine also. When this happens, it sounds as if you’re driving over rumble strips.

When The Dealers Could Not Fix The Problem

2015 Nissan Murano, Submitted in Winnetka, IL, on November 4, 2016:

The Forward Emergency Braking system warning light comes on (this means the sensor is not working and the emergency warning is not working; further you cannot use cruise control when the light is on). This has been a problem from the beginning of owning the car. The dealer tried many times to repair the problem, all unsuccessful. Next, the dealer replaced the sensor, and the problem still exists. The warning light comes on when the vehicle has been driven for a few minutes, 5 to 30 minutes after starting.

When The Automaker And Dealers Covered For Themselves

2017 Nissan Rogue, Submitted in Mansfield, OH, on January 10, 2018:

There is a safety issue with the front braking system. There is even a document sent to the Nissan dealerships notifying them that it is a known issue, but there is no fix as of yet. The engineers cannot even find a cause for the issue. I asked for a copy of the letter, but, of course, it is a “confidential” document and only privileged parties are able to have access to it.

Nissan Leaf (Year Unspecific), Submitted in Phoenix, AZ on June 25, 2018:

They think that there is a fault in the Automatic Emergency Braking system. The service manager told me that other instances of the same issue have been reported to Nissan. The salesperson indicated that there were four other similar cases at their dealership alone.

They also will not let us take the vehicle home without signing a release of liability document. The obvious concern is that the emergency braking system will again randomly activate while traveling at a higher speed and cause an accident resulting in serious property damage and injuries!

When The System Defects Are Triggered By The Weather

2017 Nissan Pathfinder, Submitted in Sarasota, FL, on September 21, 2018:

Emergency braking keeps sending me alerts when there is nothing in front of me. I’m getting messages that the system is disabled because of an obstruction. This happens a lot of times when it’s raining out. I have opened a complaint with Nissan case number [redacted]. The dealer tells me that rain can affect the system. When the weather is bad is when you need the system the most.

When The System Defects Put People In Danger

2017 Nissan Rogue, Submitted in Villas, NJ on October 09, 2018:

While driving approximately 40 mph and attempting to stop the vehicle, the brake pedal traveled to the floorboard when it was depressed. The vehicle did not stop and rear-ended the preceding vehicle. There was no warning indicator illuminated. The air bags did not deploy. A police report was filed. The contact sustained injuries that later required medical attention. The vehicle was damaged and towed to a private property.

The contact called Team Nissan […] and was referred to the manufacturer. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure and asked if the contact wanted the vehicle repaired. The vehicle was not diagnosed or repaired. The failure mileage was approximately 13,000. The VIN was not provided.