Monday

Hyundai Sonata steering system breaking apart? Be careful out there, folks

Steering system falling apart?
So what's up with the 2011 Hyundai Sonata and their steering system failures? Either no one knows - or no one is talking freely about it. But the problem is there - and it's dangerous.

Hyundai built over 161,000 2011 Sonata vehicles. Some of them - how many, who knows - may have a deadly defective steering system problem. About 40,000 of them have never been fixed at all, according to Hyundai itself.

In a letter to federal safety investigators, Hyundai admitted that it has received warranty claims and customer complaints about a steering system failure where the steering system disengages from the steering wheel, in one way or another, and loss of vehicle control can result.

One owner reported that when trying to make a turn the vehicle steering had no control and the vehicle just went straight ahead. Obviously, the situation could be dangerous. In another report, a rattle noise was apparently heard before any failure occurred but parts showed signs of a coming failure defect possibility. In another case, missing steering shaft joint cap parts were discovered missing during a predelivery inspection. In yet another, a steering shaft "separation" had occurred.

Notice went out to Hyundai dealers to be on the lookout for the steering shaft defects but owners should be particularly attentive to any unusual noise or sensation related to the steering system. When the steering shaft separates - you lose steering control. If it happens on the highway, serious injuries can result.

So, at the first sign of a problem, get your Sonata to a Hyundai dealer right away - carefully. And if your dealer doesn't take care of your problem quickly, call us on our Hyundai lemon owner hotline toll free at 1.888.331.6422. Or email us right now for free lemon law help.

Burdge Law Office
Because life is too short to drive a lemon Hyundai

Here's how Hyundai and federal safety investigators described the Sonata situation:

The Office of Defects Investigation (ODI) is aware of 7 complaints and field reports and 10 warranty claims on the subject vehicles that allege the intermediate steering shaft became loose or in some cases separated from the upper steering column and/or the steering gearbox, causing (or potentially causing) the hand wheel to become mechanically de-coupled from the road wheels resulting in a complete loss of steering capability. The reported causes include excessive free play or separation of the intermediate steering shaft upper and/or lower universal joint cross shaft/yoke; missing, loose or damaged universal joint pinch bolts; improperly assembled intermediate steering shafts with misaligned splines or insufficient spline engagement preventing the universal joint pinch bolt from being secured in the retaining groove when fastened. On September 20, 2010, the manufacturer notified the agency that it would conduct a safety recall (NHTSA Recall No. 10V-426) to address the alleged defect in approximately 139,500 subject vehicles produced from December 11, 2009 through September 10, 2010. In addition to inspecting the steering shaft, the manufacturer will also update the electric power-assist steering control software to address complaints that the steering wheel vibrates or shakes as a result of a a motor driven power steering malfunction. The manufacturer began notifying affected owners by written letter on October 14, 2010. To date, 119,383 subject vehicles have been serviced under the recall campaign and 58 subject vehicles have received replacement parts as a result. Accordingly, this investigation is closed.