Some drivers of Chevrolet Cruze, Buick Verano, and Chevrolet Malibu vehicles are finding that, after prolonged driving in which the steering wheel is in one position, the wheel can stick. Although vigorous turning of the wheel will correct the problem, it has caused some non-injury accidents.“Based on a very low rate of occurrence — ranging from less than
In July 2014, GM sent its dealers a technical service bulletin with instructions on how to repair the issue, specifying the repair should only be completed if the customer requested it. Owners received a notification letter in November 2014.“Based on a very low rate of occurrence — ranging from less than
Neither GM nor the National Highway Transportation Administration determined a recall was necessary. Alan Adler, a GM spokesperson explained, “Based on a very low rate of occurrence — ranging from less than one half to less than two incidents per thousand vehicles — and the fact that the condition is remedied when the wheel is turned, G.M. determined this was not a safety issue.”
Catherine Howden of the NHTSA told the New York Times in an email that “Based on the bulletin and complaint narratives, the symptoms described would be a brief, perceptible change in steering feel that has little to no effect on the driver’s ability to safely steer the vehicle.”
What auto manufacturers, regulators, and consumers see at the minimum threshold for a recall often differ both in regards to vehicles and other products. Few products are completely safe, especially if they are used outside of the expected use (as outlined in the instructions). The point at which a vehicle or product needs to be recalled or removed from the market is often highly debated (e.g., Buckyballs Magnets). What do you think is a reasonable litmus test? Should GM and the NTHSA have issued a recall over the steering issue?