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
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.
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(http://delphi.com/pdf/techpapers/2006-01-1322.pdf)