GM Recalls Chevrolet Cobalt, Pontiac G5 For Power Steering Problem

March 2, 2010
2009 Pontiac G5

2009 Pontiac G5

2010 Chevrolet Cobalt

2010 Chevrolet Cobalt

General Motors has issued a recall for the 2005 - 2010 Chevrolet Cobalt, the 2007 - 2010 Pontiac G5, the 2005 - 2006 Pontiac Pursuit (Canada), and the 2005 - 2006 Pontiac G4 (Mexico). GM cites a potential failure of the models' power steering motor as the cause for the recall. In all, 1.3 million vehicles are affected, making this GM's largest single recall in recent years.

The announcement comes after the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration opened a federal probe into the matter. The NHTSA received 1,132 complaints of power steering failures in the Cobalt, which allegedly resulted in 14 crashes and one injury.

According to Jamie Hresko, GM's vice president of quality, the problem develops over a number of years: "It tends to occur in older models out of warranty." GM has said that even in the event of a power steering failure, the cars would be safe to drive, and that warning lights would still come on. However, controlling the vehicles at speeds below 15 mph would take more effort than normal.

It's important to note that the NHTSA doesn't seem to have pressured GM to take action, and the recall appears voluntary. As Hresko said: "Recalling these vehicles is the right thing to do for our customers' peace of mind." It sounds as if GM might've learned a thing or two by watching Toyota working damage control. Still, it's good to see General Motors getting in front of a potentially damaging event.

GM says that it is working on a fix for the problem, and that owners will be notified when a solution has been determined. We've pasted GM's complete press release below.

* * * * *

 GM Recalls Compact Cars to Fix Power Steering Assist 

 Safety Recall Covers 1.3 Million Chevrolet and Pontiac Models

·2005 - 2010 Chevrolet Cobalt
·2007 - 2010 Pontiac G5
·2005 - 2006 Pontiac Pursuit (Canada)
·2005 - 2006 Pontiac G4 (Mexico)

DETROIT -- General Motors will conduct a safety recall of 1.3 million compact cars to replace a motor in the power steering system. Vehicles affected are the 2005-2010 Chevrolet Cobalt; 2007-2010 Pontiac G5; 2005-2006 Pontiac Pursuit sold in Canada, and the 2005-2006 Pontiac G4 sold in Mexico.

GM told the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration about the voluntary recall on Monday after concluding an investigation that began in 2009. NHTSA opened an investigation Jan. 27 into approximately 905,000 Cobalt models in the United States after receiving more than 1,100 complaints of loss of power steering assist, 14 crashes and one injury.

"After our in-depth investigation, we found that this is a condition that takes time to develop. It tends to occur in older models out of warranty," said Jamie Hresko, GM Vice President of Quality. “Recalling these vehicles is the right thing to do for our customers' peace of mind.

"While greater steering effort under 15 mph may be required, if the customer experiences loss of power steering assist, it is important to note that the vehicle can still be safely controlled because the customer can still steer the vehicle,” Hresko said. “When the condition occurs, both a chime will sound and a ‘Power Steering’ message will be displayed.”

Plans for the remedy are being developed. Customers will be notified when the plan is finalized.

[GM, Freep]

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