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General Motors is expanding a 2014 recall to include 81,000 popular sedan models, due to a risk that the vehicles may experience a sudden loss of power steering assist, which could occur at any time while driving, posing an increased risk of an accident.
The General Motors recall expansion (PDF) was announced by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) on February 3, after receiving at least one crash report that was allegedly caused by the driver’s sudden loss of power steering. To date, no injuries have been reported.
GM announced the recall as an expansion of their March 2014 recall, which included roughly 1.8 million vehicles that were determined to have faulty power steering designs. A secondary investigation was opened by the NHTSA after receiving complaints of power steering failure from Transport Canada.
According to the NHTSA, Canadian regulators received multiple reports of vehicles experiencing power steering problems that were not included in the 1.8 million vehicles recalled in March 2014.
After reviewing the reports and issues, GM concluded last month that there was more than one reason that may cause the vehicles to lose power steering assist, leading to more vehicles being impacted by the issues.
The power steering assists expansion recall includes certain 2006 and 2007 model year Chevrolet Malibu, Malibu Maxx, and Pontiac G6 vehicles that were manufactured between April 1, 2006 and June 20, 2006. The NHTSA anticipates that 100% of the vehicles being recalled contain the defect.
An estimated 69,633 vehicles impacted by the recall are registered to states in the U.S. and the remaining vehicles are registered in Canada and Mexico.
If a vehicle suddenly loses power steering ability, a message will appear on the Driver Information Center and a chime sounds to inform the driver. Steering ability can be maintained throughout the sudden loss but will require greater effort to turn the wheel especially at lower speeds, increasing the risk for a crash.
The NHTSA and GM concluded that the vehicles are experiencing the loss of power steering due to minor damage to the electrical terminal on the torque sensor during the assembly process. Any damage that could have occurred during the assembly process will result in intermittent electrical connectivity.
GM is preparing to notify all owners and licensed dealers with instructions on how to schedule a repair for the dealership to replace the torque sensor assembly. According the recall report, GM plans to provide reimbursement to owners for repairs.