General Motors is recalling more than 1.3 million vehicles because they could suddenly lose electric power steering assist, increasing the risk for crashes.
If power steering assist is lost, a message appears on the display and a chime sounds. While steering can be maintained manually after the assist goes out, it’s more difficult for drivers to do at low speeds.
Models subject to the recall include:
- Chevrolet Malibu: All 2004 and 2005 models along with some 2006, 2008 and 2009 model vehicles
- Chevrolet Malibu Maxx: All 2004 and 2005 models and some 2006 model vehicles
- Chevrolet HHR (Non-Turbo): Some 2009 and 2010 model vehicles
- Chevrolet Cobalt: Some 2010 model vehicles
- Saturn Aura: Some 2008 and 2009 model vehicles
- Saturn ION: All 2004 to 2007 model vehicles
- Pontiac G6: All 2005 and some 2006, 2008 and 2009 model vehicles
Service parts installed into certain vehicles before May 31, 2010 under a previous safety recall
In addition to these, 96,324 2003 model Saturn IONs and 309,160 non-turbocharged 2006-2008 Chevrolet HHRs along with several hundred 2009 models that are not subject to these recalls will be given lifetime warranties for replacement of electronic power steering motor.
“With these safety recalls and lifetime warranties, we are going after every car that might have this problem, and we are going to make it right,” said Jeff Boyer, vice president, GM Global Vehicle Safety, in a release posted on the company’s website . “We have recalled some of these vehicles before for the same issue and offered extended warranties on others, but we did not do enough.”
Back in 2005, a federal investigation found 16-year-old Amber Marie Rose, from Southern Maryland, died in her Chevy Cobalt because her power cut out.
"The EMTs told us that had her airbags deployed that she would have been alive. She may have been injured, but she would have been alive today," said Laura Christian, birth mother of Amber Marie Rose. Christian's adoptive mother has also been searching for answers.
Depending on the vehicle, GM will replace the power steering motor, steering column, power steering motor control unit or a combination of the steering column and power steering motor control unit free of charge. Those who have already paid to have these parts repaired will be eligible for reimbursement.