Hyundai recalls 205,000 vehicles for power steering

David Shepardson
Detroit News Washington Bureau

Washington — Hyundai Motor Co. said Saturday it is recalling nearly 205,000 cars and wagons in the United States for an electronic glitch that could disable power steering.

The Korean automaker said the recall covers 2008-2010 Elantra and 2009-2010 Elantra Touring because the electronic power steering electronic control unit may sense a discrepancy in the steering input signals and, as a result, disable the steering power assist.

Hyundai said if power steering assist is lost, greater driver effort would be required to steer the vehicle at low speeds, increasing the risk of a crash. Hyundai dealers will update the software.

Hyundai has been reviewing the issue since 2010. In February 2011, the cumulative claim rate for loss of assist claims was approximately 0.25 percent for the Elantra sedan, and 0.36 percent for the Elantra Touring, and Hyundai published a Technical Service Bulletin with a software update to revise the EPS diagnostic logic.

As of October 2014, the cumulative claim rate for assist-related claims has increased to 1.3 percent for the HD Elantra sedan, and 1.9 percent for the Elantra Touring.

Hyundai initially believed that the level of force necessary to steer a vehicle without EPS-assist remained within acceptable levels.

“Hyundai’s understanding has been that the loss of power steering assist has not, in the past, been considered as a safety related defect in the United States. This understanding was based on the fact that manual steering control is maintained,” Hyundai said in a filing with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. “More recently, however, the industry has increasingly handled similar issues through safety recalls due to the greater driver effort at low vehicle speeds. To remain consistent with that industry trend, Hyundai has decided to conduct this campaign as a safety recall.”