Corrosion is the enemy of all cars, even modern ones, but particularly cars in the north. Road salt, water, snow, and ice combine to erode metal and bubble paint, making an eyesore of a car--and sometimes doing much worse.

In the case of the 271,000 Nissan Pathfinder and Infiniti QX4 SUVs recalled today, much worse means causing the steering system to fail via corrosion of the strut tower housing, a situation no one wants to experience. The vehicles affected were built between 1996-2004 (Pathfinder) and 1997-2003 (QX4). Of the total, only 45,330 are Infinitis. 195,991 of the vehicles affected are registered in the U.S., 33,333 of them Infiniti QX4s.

2004 Nissan Pathfinder SE

2004 Nissan Pathfinder SE

The recall impacts SUVs sold in Canada and 20 hard-winter U.S. states. Affected vehicles will be fixed free of charge by Nissan/Infiniti dealers. Owners of vehicles in affected states will be notified of the problem by May 16, while owners in other states where the corrosion is not likely to occur will receive a courtesy notification.

According to Nissan, there is a report of an accident caused by the steering failure, though corrosion hasn't been proven as the cause. No injuries have resulted from the recalled issue.

Concerned owners can contact Nissan at 1-800-647-7261 or the NHSTA vehicle safety hotline at 1-888-327-4236 in reference to NHTSA campaign number 11V-244.