You Had One Job, Occupant Classifcation System

Nothing can bring a car's satisfaction rating down faster than an infotainment system, and the worst of a bad crop might just be Infiniti's InTouch. Thank goodness there's a Q50 wrapped around it, because that disaster needs a saving grace.

The occupant classification system (OCS) in many Infiniti vehicles is so unreliable for the front passenger seat that you should probably think twice before calling ‘shotgun.’

The OCS is a system of sensors that’s one job is to detect if there’s a child or an adult in the seat, or if the seat is empty. OCS technology is important because airbags are dangerous for children and should be turned off. Of course, you’re not letting a child sit in the front seat anyway – right? Right.

In other words, OCS is a fancy, automated on/off switch for the airbags.

How OCS Works

Seat sensors measure data such as weight, seat distance from the dash, and seat belt tension before sending the information to an Electronic Control Unit (ECU). The ECU determines the passenger type and passes that information along to the airbag system.

The airbag system will turn off for children. For adults, the OCS can combine with split-second information from crash sensors to determine the force at which the airbag should be deployed.

It’s all very fancy and, in the case of some Nissan and Infiniti vehicles, completely unreliable.

Infiniti owners often complain that their “airbag disabled” warning light stays on even if there’s an adult in the seat. For your passenger, that’s never a good feeling.

Infiniti OCS Recalls

The 2013 JX35 was the first to be recalled with OCS problems back in March of 2013.

Nissan says sensors within the passenger occupant detection system may have been manufactured out of specification which could cause the air bag to be suppressed permanently.

A year later, the recall expanded to include the 2014 Q50 and QX60. The JX35 was recalled again because, according to Nissan, the previous fix didn’t work. Great.

Infiniti issued a 3rd OCS recall in 2015, expanding the scope to more of the previously recalled vehicles, along with the 2015 QX60 and 2014 QX60 Hybrid.

Maybe finally admitting defeat, Infiniti issues a massive OCS recall

In April 2016, for what felt like the 73rd time, Infiniti issued an OCS recall. The big difference was this one covered 3.8 million vehicles.

Nissan says in the case of a child classification, the system is designed to illuminate the airbag light indicating the airbag is turned off. However, if the initial classification is “empty seat,” the light will not illuminate and there is no indication that the airbag is suppressed.

Vehicles involved in the various recalls

Nissan and Infiniti have reportedly struggled to keep up with OCS repairs. To date, there are still waiting for new OCS ECUs and from the office of Are You Kidding Me With This, some owners are being told to disconnect the airbag until a part can be secured.

Faulty OCS Lawsuit

The JX35, Q50, QX60, and G27 are all named in a lawsuit against Infiniti’s parent company, Nissan, for an allegedly defective Occupant Classification System (OCS).

Plaintiff Matthew Senci filed the proposed class-action lawsuit that alleges the vehicles have occupant classification system software that can incorrectly classify a front passenger seat as empty when it’s occupied by an adult passenger. The error can cause the airbag to deactivate and fail to deploy in a crash.

The case is Matthew Senci v. Nissan North America, Inc..

Parts unavailable, fixes not working

Depending on how you look at it, recalls are good news – it means Nissan is acknowledging a safety issue exists and is responsible to find a solution.

However, the problem is the lack of a working solution for millions of owners. To date, owners report they are still waiting for an adequate supply of repair parts and, in some cases, have been told to disconnect the airbag until a part can be secured.

Some have noted the importance of telling your local dealership that the “yellow passenger airbag light is on even when an adult is in the passenger seat.”

Airbag Warning Light Lawsuit

Shortly before the third recall, a lawsuit was filed(% post_url 2015-06-18-ocs-passenger-airbag-lawsuit %) blaming the automaker for failing to come up with a solution.

The lawsuit, Matthew Senci v. Nissan North America, Inc., said through warranty claims, owner complaints, and the early-2013 recall, it’s clear the automaker has known about these issues since “at least” 2012. Yet, there doesn’t appear to be a solution and the damaged OCS makes the car unsafe and hurts its resale value.

[^1](#): More info on OCS technology from Delphi(

Vehicles That Might Have This Problem

What Owners Are Saying

“When an adult passenger sits in the front passenger seat the airbag dash light does not go off to indicate that air bag is functional! this is while in motion, stationary, and can sporadically work as it should but I am still concerned that the system is malfunctioning!”

2013 Altima Owner in Missouri

“There already was a recall to fix this problem of the Passenger Airbag Off light being on when there was a passenger in the seat. We saw the problem before the recall was applied to our car. But since the recall, the car keeps doing this occasionally when my wife is sitting in the seat. Sometimes it stays on for a few minutes then turns off. Most times it does work like normal. But it's still randomly happening.”

2013 Altima Owner in Kansas

“The front passenger side air bag warning indicator kept indicating "off", regardless if the passenger seat was occupied. The vehicle was taken to the dealer more than 4 times and they provided no repair solution. The dealer reset the code more than once and reset the sensor, but the failure recurred.”

2013 Altima Owner in Florida

OK, Now What?

Maybe you've experienced this problem. Maybe you're concerned you will soon. Whatever the reason, you can help make sure it gets the attention it deserves.

  1. File Your Complaint is a free site dedicated to uncovering problem trends and informing owners about potential issues with their cars. Major class action law firms use this data when researching cases.

    Add a Complaint

  2. Notify CAS

    The Center for Auto Safety (CAS) is a pro-consumer organization that researches auto safety issues & often compels the US government to do the right thing through lobbying & lawsuits.

    Notify the CAS

  3. Report a Safety Concern

    The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is the US agency with the authority to conduct vehicle defect investigations & force recalls. Their focus is on safety-related issues.

    Report to NHTSA

  4. Contact Infiniti

    Infiniti Support

    P.O. Box 685003 Franklin TN 37068-5003 USA

    This site is not affiliated with Infiniti.