U.S. safety regulators probe Honda, Nissan vehicles for steering issues

Tue Nov 11, 2014 2:25pm EST
 
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DETROIT (Reuters) - U.S. safety regulators have opened separate investigations into potential steering issues in an estimated 374,000 Honda Accord sedans and an estimated 17,000 Infiniti EX35 compact crossover vehicles.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has opened a preliminary evaluation into the failure of electric power steering in certain 2013 Accords made by Honda Motor Co after receiving 24 complaints and reports of four low-speed crashes, according to documents filed online. It also is based on accident data submitted by Honda to the U.S. safety agency.

The sudden loss of power steering while driving can result in increased steering effort, according to the NHTSA documents. Just over half of the complaints indicated observing a power steering warning message as the failure occurred, and some said the condition was corrected by turning the vehicle off and restarting it.

A preliminary investigation is the first step in a process that can lead to a recall if regulators determine that a manufacturer needs to address a safety issue.

A Honda spokesman said on Tuesday the Japanese automaker is cooperating with the investigation and will continue its own internal review of the available information.

NHTSA also opened a preliminary evaluation into certain 2008 Infiniti EX35 crossover vehicles made by Nissan Motor Co after receiving two complaints of steering wheel shaft separations that could lead to loss of steering control, according to the NHTSA documents. In one complaint, the dealer found a failed steering shaft bearing.

Nissan said on Tuesday it was cooperating with NHTSA's probe.

(Reporting by Ben Klayman in Detroit; Editing by Tom Brown)

 
A Honda dealership sign is shown at a car lot in Carlsbad, California November 5, 2014. REUTERS/Mike Blake