Car Safety

Hyundai, Mazda recall vehicles over steering concerns

Sonatas, Mazda2s, CX-3s, CX-5s and CX9s affected by different issues

Hyundai’s California-designed Sonata for 2011 was strikingly swoopy, delighting buyers with its new “fluidic sculpture” design language. Its coupe-like profile enveloped a full-size cabin and the trunk was big enough for airport runs. The front-drive platform was made 19% less bendy thanks to high-strength steel. The primary engine was a direct-injection 2.4-L DOHC four cylinder that made 198 hp; optional dual exhaust raised the output by two horses. The base model offered a six-speed manual transmission (later dropped), while most were outfitted with a six-speed automatic.

Hyundai has notified the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) of its intent to recall 173,000 Sonatas to address a potential problem with the car’s power steering.

The problem exists in Alabama-built 2011 model year Sonatas, whose Electronic Power Steering (EPS) circuit board may be damaged and could fail, as a result. The condition would result in the illumination of the EPS warning light in the gauge cluster, followed by a loss of steering assist while driving the car. Depending on the speed, it might result in increased effort required from the driver in controlling the vehicle and could potentially lead to a crash. At low speeds, non-assisted steering will require considerable more effort to steer the car.

Although Hyundai is not aware of any incidents or injuries, it is notifying owners of the recall by mail and asking them to return to dealerships in order to inspect and replace the faulty circuit board. The action is expected to begin at the end of May 2016.

Owners can also check on the status of their cars by entering the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) at www.safercar.gov or by calling NHTSA at (888) 327-4236, or by contacting Hyundai customer service at (855)-371-9640 and quoting recall number 143.

Mazda is also recalling various 2013-16 models to address a potential loss of steering control, though in this case it arises from a suspension failure.

In certain Mazda2s from 2011, CX-5s (2014-16), CX-9s (2013-15) and 2016 CX-3s, the front strut assembly’s lower mounting nuts may not have been torqued to the required specification by the automatic manufacturing system. This could result in the separation of the front strut and steering knuckle from the wheel, leading to substantial loss of steering control over the vehicle and a significant increase in the chance of crashing.

Mazda is not aware of any incidents or injuries but is recalling to 578 vehicles to inspect and remedy the problem. Owners will be notified by mail and the action is expected to start toward the end of April 2016.

Car Safety | Car Care

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