Government safety officials have announced a recall of more than 200,000 Hyundai Elantra vehicles, due to problems with the electronic power steering system, which may fail and require drivers to apply extra force to steer the vehicles, increasing the risk of a crash.
The Hyundai Elantra recall (PDF) was announced by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) on February 26, following multiple warranty claims indicating the electronic power steering (EPS) system’s torque sensor signal was susceptible to “noise” when the vehicles were started, resulting in the EPS system to default to its manual steering mode. To date, no injuries or accidents have been recorded in relation to the defect.
The EPS makes it easier to steer the vehicle, determining the level of steering assist required at every turn. An analysis of warranty claims to dealers indicated that the torque sensor diagnostic logic within the EPS system may be vulnerable when the vehicles are started, resulting in an incorrect diagnostic code being set. This causes the system to default to its manual power steering mode, making it unexpectedly more difficult to steer.
In the event that a driver loses powering steering assist, a red “EPS” will become illuminated on the dash display screen and the driver will be forced to apply higher than normal effort to turn the steering wheel.
The level of difficulty to turn the steering wheel will be greatest at lower speeds, increasing the possibility of a crash. In many cases, drivers are prone to accidents because the event is unexpected and they are unfamiliar with operating the vehicle in its manual steering mode.
The recall includes 204,768 model year 2008 through 2010 Hyundai Elantra vehicles manufactured from June 1, 2008 to April 30, 2010, and 2009 through 2010 Elantra Touring models manufactured from November 1, 2008 to April 30, 2010.
Hyundai announced that it will begin notifying owners by certified mail with instructions on how to schedule an appointment at a licensed dealer who will verify the proper orientation of the Electric Power Steering and update the EPS control unit free of charge. An official repair schedule has not been released yet, but customers with further questions may contact Hyundai customer service at 1-855-671-3059 and refer to the recall number 127.