The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has expanded its investigation into steering issues in Honda and Acura vehicles. The probe, initially initiated earlier this year concerning the 2022 and 2023 Honda Civic, now encompasses a broader scope, involving over 530,000 vehicles. The affected models include the 2022 and 2023 Honda Civic, 2023 Honda CR-V, and 2023 Acura Integra.
The initial investigation was prompted by 145 complaints from vehicle owners reporting instances of “sticky steering” and increased steering effort in the Honda Civic. However, a staggering surge in complaints, totaling 1,300 reports, and the occurrence of 14 crashes related to the steering problem have prompted the NHTSA to broaden its examination. Alarmingly, 11 of these crashes involved a loss of steering control, leading to roadway departures. Two instances were attributed to driver overcorrection, resulting in three known injuries.
The NHTSA’s report highlights that the steering issues predominantly occurred during winter months and after prolonged straight-line driving to warm up the vehicle and its components. The severity of the problem prompted Honda to acknowledge a manufacturing issue related to the steering gear unit. The company revealed that the manufacturing process created conditions leading to increased internal stress, causing wear and deformation of the gears within the steering component. Additionally, the factory failed to ensure consistent lubrication throughout the gear, potentially contributing to the temporary spike in steering effort.
Despite the acknowledgment of the problem by Honda, it’s crucial to note that the investigation has not progressed to the recall stage. Honda has taken proactive measures by instructing its dealers to replace the electronic power steering gearbox to address the manufacturing defect. However, the NHTSA plans to continue its examination, advancing to an engineering analysis. If this analysis identifies a defect, the agency may request a recall, underscoring the ongoing efforts to ensure the safety and integrity of affected vehicles on the road.