In the affected vehicles, which have electric power steering, the system could suddenly fail, resulting in a loss of steering assist. In the event of a failure, the gauge cluster's Driver Information Center would display a message, and a chime would sound; and while full steering would be allowed, the system would require greater effort—especially at low speeds—which could place the occupants in greater danger of a crash.
As part of the repair, GM might replace the power-steering motor, the entire steering column, the motor control unit, or a combination of pieces—all depending on the vehicle.
The recall also covers vehicles that had been repaired prior to May 31, 2010, as part of a previous safety recall that was also related to the electric power steering.
Here's the list of vehicles affected by the latest steering recall:
- Chevrolet Malibu: All model year 2004 and 2005, and some model year 2006 and model year 2008 and 2009 vehicles
- Chevrolet Malibu Maxx: All model year 2004 and 2005, and some 2006 model year
- Chevrolet HHR (Non-Turbo): Some model year 2009 and 2010 vehicles
- Chevrolet Cobalt: Some model year 2010 vehicles
- Saturn Aura: Some model year 2008 and 2009 vehicles
- Saturn ION: All model year 2004 to 2007 vehicles
- Pontiac G6: All model year 2005, and some model year 2006 and model year 2008 and 2009 vehicles
GM points out that the 2004-2007 Saturn Ion, 2009-2010 Chevrolet HHR, and 2010 Chevrolet Cobalt are also included in GM's recall for ignition switches—although vehicles might require multiple visits to dealerships to fix both issues.
Separately, GM this past weekend announced two different other recalls. The automaker recalled 2014 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 and GMC Sierra 1500 pickups, along with 2015 Chevrolet Suburban, Chevrolet Suburban, and GMC Yukon and Yukon XL models—about 490,000 in all—for a potential issue with the transmission oil cooler line that could leak and result in a vehicle fire. GM will be mailing owner letters for that issue the week of April 28.
A second recall announced late last week concerned nearly 172,000 Chevrolet Cruze models from the 2013 and 2014 model years, for a fracture-prone right front axle shaft. That recall issue affects models with the 1.4T engine—and about a third of the Cruze models currently on dealer lots—prompting GM to issue a stop-sale for affected models until they're fixed.