Hyundai Motor Co. announced on Saturday that it is calling back nearly 205,000 vehicles in the United States for a power steering issue.
The recall covers 204,768 Elantra models. This campaign affects specifically four-door Elantra cars manufactured from June 1, 2008 and April 30, 2010, as well as Elantra Touring wagons from the 2009 and 2010 model years.
In the report it submitted to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), Hyundai said that the aforementioned models are being recalled due to an electronic glitch that may cause the vehicle to unexpectedly revert to manual steering. The electronic power steering (EPS) control unit may detect inconsistencies in the steering input signals, causing it to disable the steering power assist.
Without the power steering assist, the vehicle will go back to manual steering mode. This will require the driver to put in more effort, especially at low speeds, increasing the risk of a crash.
Hyundai did not say if there are accidents or injuries linked to the issue. Dealers will address the power steering defect by updating the software.
Hyundai has been aware of the problem since 2010. The South Korean automaker learned in February 2011 that the cumulative claim rate for power steering assist loss claims was unusually high for the Elantra and the Elantra Touring. As a result, the company issued a Technical Service Bulletin ordering a software update to change the EPS diagnostic logic. About three years later, Hyundai found that the cumulative claim rate for loss of power assist claims rose even further.
Hyundai initially thought that the force needed to steer the vehicle without EPS assist was still acceptable. Moreover, it believed that loss of EPS assist was not considered a safety defect in the U.S. as long as manual steering control is maintained. However, the carmaker noticed that the industry handled issues that required greater driver effort at low vehicle speeds with recalls, so it decided to issue a recall.
Meanwhile, Hyundai subsidiary Kia Motors has also issued a callback of its own. Kia recently said that it is recalling 12,361 2016 Kia Sorento SUVs due to a vehicle control issue. The automaker said that Sorentos produced from October 27, 2014 to January 29, 2015 may have an accelerator pedal assembly with a part that is not properly soldered, making the driver unable to accelerate the vehicle and increasing the risk of a crash. Kia dealers will replace the accelerator pedal assembly.