Nissan Recalling 161,000 Cars For Electrical Problem

Nissan is recalling 161,000 cars for an electrical problem that could start a fire under the hood. The recall involves 1997 and 1998 models of the Infiniti I30 and Q45 and Nissan Maxima, according to a notice posted Tuesday on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's website.

A diode in the alternator may have been damaged when the cars were built, according to NHTSA. The problem can result in an electrical short that could melt the plastic housing. The gas emitted by the melting plastic could ignite the fan guide in the alternator.

Nissan will notify owners of the recall next month, NHTSA said. Dealers will repair the cars for free.

A NHTSA spokesman said five people reported fires that started in the alternator. Nissan spokesman Eric Booth said there were no injuries reported.