David Motton

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The Nissan Qashqai was our top tow car of 2014 – it's now subject to a tow ball related recall, so all owners must ensure they get their car checked

Nissan is recalling hundreds of Qashqai crossovers due to fears that tow balls could loosen and eventually drop off.

The recall applies to cars built between 19 July 2013 and 17 October 2014. Some 43,238 Qashqais were made for the UK market over this period, of which 798 cars were fitted with Nissan's own tow bar. There's no way for Nissan to know how many customers subsequently bought aftermarket products, and so as a precaution, all owners are being contacted.

The Nissan Qashqai recall was launched in December of 2014, and the last few customers were contacted in late January, inviting them to take their car to a Nissan dealer as soon as possible.

Nissan told Practical Caravan: "Customers have been advised to take their Qashqai to their authorised dealership if they have a tow bar fitted and have it inspected. The inspection itself will only take six minutes as the inspection involves checking the serial number of the tow bar. If affected, the tow bar fixings will be removed and replaced, which will take approximately one hour and 20 minutes."

Although if the fault is not addressed the tow bar could loosen sufficiently to drop off, Nissan is not aware of any incidents when this has happened while an owner was towing a caravan or trailer.

Nissan's is the second towing-related recall Practical Caravan is aware of in recent months. Late last year, we wrote about Jeep's recall of more than 30,000 Cherokee and Grand Cherokee models. Cars affected are the Grand Cherokee built between 01/01/92 and 27/10/98, and the Cherokee built between 2002 and 2007 – both petrol and diesel models. 

Jeep is fitting affected cars with a cross beam to provide additional crash protection. This follows reports of vehicle fires in the US, although Jeep is aware of no such fires here in the UK.

Unfortunately, in some cases this means owners have been advised to have tow balls removed in order for the cross beam to be fitted. Once the beam is in place, it's not possible for towing gear to be fitted.

Since we first wrote about the problem last November, Jeep has been looking for a solution for Cherokee and Grand Cherokee owners who want to continue towing.

"We have identified a source for a tow bar which is currently undergoing tests to ensure it complies with the requirements of the Recall Campaign," Jeep told us. "We hope to conclude the process as soon as possible and would like to assure you that we are doing everything we can to expedite this." When we hear more, we will be sure to let you know.

If you're wondering what tow car to buy, the Nissan Qashqai is still a great option – indeed it was crowned the overall winner at our 2014 Tow Car Awards. Just be certain that any model affected by the recall has had the necessary checks and work completed, to ensure you keep safe on your caravan holidays.

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