According to Automotive News, the NHTSA is looking into claims that the 2010-2012 Chevrolet Equinox and GMC Terrain have a problem that may cause friction within the power steering system. This can make the steering wheel feel as though it is sticking and require increased steering effort from the driver.
GM allegedly sent out a service bulletin to dealerships instructing technicians on how to repair the problem and also began offering extended warranties over the issue. The NHTSA is now investigating vehicles that were repaired under this service bulletin, but later experienced the same issue. There has so far been one report of a crash and injury related to the problem, but General Motors claims it is not a safety issue.
“(There is) a slight feeling of friction in the steering system that can be an annoyance to customers,” GM spokesman Dan Flores told AN this week. “We’ve reviewed this issue internally and have reviewed it with NHTSA previously. We do not consider it to be a safety issue.”
The NHTSA’s website indicates the safety watchdog has received numerous complaints related to the power steering of the 2010-2012 Chevrolet Equinox and GMC Terrain. In one instance, a 2011 Equinox owner experienced stiffness in the steering and was later told the problem was covered in a technical service bulletin.
“Upon leaving the parking lot, the steering wheel became extremely difficult to turn,” the complaint said. “At a certain point in the turn, the wheel violently jerks back to the center position. I returned the vehicle to the dealership immediately and it was identified as another special repair bulletin issued by GM on this specific make/model.”
Another owner had a similar complaint with their 2011 Equinox.
“After traveling on (the) Interstate at 75 mph the steering wheel sticks in the position it is in,” the complaint said. “When you try to move the steering wheel there is a resistance and then it breaks free from that position causing the vehicle to make abrupt movement either to the left or right depending on which way you were attempting to steer. It then works fine for a while and will do the same thing again.”
It is currently not clear when the NHTSA investigation will be complete.