NHTSA — Steering: Rack And Pinion Problems

1997 Pontiac Grand Prix (Page 1 of 7)


really awful
Crashes / Fires:
7 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
4 / 2
Average Mileage:
15,570 miles

About These NHTSA Complaints:

This data is from the NHTSA — the US gov't agency tasked with vehicle safety. Complaints are spread across multiple & redundant categories, & are not organized by problem.

So how do you find out what problems are occurring? For this NHTSA complaint data, the only way is to read through the comments below. Any duplicates or errors? It's not us.

1997 Pontiac Grand Prix steering problems

steering problem

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1997 Pontiac Grand Prix Owner Comments (Page 1 of 7)

problem #130

Sep 232009

Grand Prix

  • 140,000 miles


There is a recall of 1997 Pontiac Grand Prix #02V286000. Recall date 11-04-2002 for assembly dates 1-1-1996 through 10-31-1997 my cars assembly date is 8-30-1996. My car has the exact consequence of this recall. The recall listing is: Certain passenger vehicles and mini vans have lower pinion bearings in the power rack and pinion assembly in which the retainer tabs were not crimped properly. These and some other retainers used in vehicles assembled between January 1, 1996 and October 31, 1997, could fail and permit the ball bearings to escape. Consequence: If this occurs, the pinion shaft can be forced upward during left turns and back down as the steering wheel is moved back and to the right. If the pinion shaft moves further, the driver will need to exert more effort to turn the steering wheel, similar to a vehicle without power assisted steering. If the pinion shaft moves even further, the driver will require much higher effort to turn left and may not be able to turn the wheel as much as intended. With the maximum pinion shaft movement, which requires internal gear component damage, the driver can encounter high resistance to turning left, followed by unintended power assist to the right. In any of these conditions, a crash could occur. I took the car to a regular shop and the mechanic there use to be a GM machanic and he said I have the exact cause of the recall problem. And can't belive that GM will not cover this car. All the symptoms are the same. And the bearings are gone from the rack.

- East Patchogue, NY, USA

problem #129

Oct 012006

Grand Prix 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 176,000 miles
The contact owns a 1997 Pontiac Grand Prix. The contact stated that he was unable to turn his steering wheel while driving. The vehicle was taken to an independent mechanic who stated that the rack and pinion failed and needed to be replaced. The contact stated that he was unaware that there was a recall for this defect, otherwise he would have taken the vehicle to an authorized dealer. The manufacturer stated that he was never notified due to an internal error on their behalf. The dealer stated that his VIN was included in recall number 02V286000 (steering:rack and pinion). Because the vehicle was repaired by an independent dealer/mechanic, the manufacturer will not repair or reimburse the contact, even though they admit to their internal error. The failure speed was unknown. The current mileage was 235,000 and failure mileage was 176,000.

- Charlotte, NC, USA

problem #128

Oct 232006

Grand Prix 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 22,786 miles
: the contact stated the vehicle was scheduled for the recall repair # 02V286000, for the steering: Rack and pinion, at the service dealer. The bearing was replaced, but due to an unavailable tool, the rack and pinion was not replaced as the contact had been informed by the service dealer. The rack and pinion problem had become a problem since the bearing was replaced. The manufacturer was notified.

- York, PA, USA

problem #127

Mar 042006

Grand Prix 6-cyl

  • miles


I had problems with my steering on my Grand Prix. I didn't receive any recalls. I took it to the shop in March 2006. I was told the rack and pinion would need replaced. A few months later, I received notification from my insurance company that there were recalls on the Grand Prix. I called Pontiac and told them I never received a recall but had the same problem and I had it fixed. I was told that my car was not affected by the problem and it was just a coincidence. My car was manufactured during the time frame the problem occurred. There were many times when I had to come to a complete stop because I could not get the car to turn.

- Springfield, OH, USA

problem #126

Sep 192006

Grand Prix 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 96,000 miles
: the contact stated due to the last 8 characters of the VIN, the vehicle was not included in recall 02V286000 regarding steering:rack and pinion. The steering operated normally when turned to the left, but the power assist failed for right turns. The failure was more pronounced at 3 mph, when backing out of a driveway or parking space, although it was a constant problem for all right turns. The service dealer and manufacturer were notified.

- Pontiac, MI, USA

problem #125

Jun 012006

Grand Prix

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
1997 Pontiac Grand Prix experiencing same consequences as NHTSA campaign # 02V286000 or GM recall # 02049. Loss of power steering when steering left that is getting progressively worse. Took car to dealer, states VIN# does not show recall. Called Pontiac, they too state no recall. Page 3 of recall parts bulletin on this website plainly lists 1997 Pontiac Grand Prix's manufactured in fairfax between the following VIN break points VF200001-VF359118. The last digits in our VIN# falls within that range. VF305818 please help. This is a major safety hazard.

- Crofton, MD, USA

problem #124

Jul 262006

Grand Prix 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 206,000 miles


: the contact stated that while driving at 15 mph and lower, the steering was difficult. There was also a popping noise in the steering column while turning either right or left. The vehicle was taken to a private repair shop, where it was determined that the rack and pinion needed replacing. There is a NHTSA recall # 02V286000. The vehicle was not included due to the VIN.

- Grove, OK, USA

problem #123

Mar 082006

Grand Prix 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 94,000 miles
: the contact stated while driving at 55 mph when turning left the vehicle veers to the right due to the lower pinion bearings. There is a NHTSA recall #02V286000 concerning the steering rack and pinion however the recall did not correct the problem. The vehicle is having the same problems again. The dealership has been alerted however no additional repairs have been made.

- Sandy, UT, USA

problem #122

Sep 012004

Grand Prix 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 94,000 miles
Steering:rack and pinion-this is an ongoing problem. I bought my 97 Grand Prix gtp in March 2003. The recall for the steering issued supposedly was done prior to me driving it off the lot. In September of 2004 I began to have problems turning left. I took the car into the local GM dealership to find out what was causing the problem in March 2005. The dealership said that the recall issue had been taken care of and that I would have to pay $1,000 to get it fixed. I asked them if a failed part could have been used to fulfill the recall earlier and the dealer said it didn't matter. The dealer said that they only had to fix the recall once and that it had a 12 month warranty. My husband called GM and they also told us that we would have to pay for the recall to be fixed for the same reasons as stated by the dealer. This is a recall that needs to be reinstated. Many people are encountering failures and are in need of proper care. I have been in many near-misses due to not being able to turn left. I have aggravated a back and neck injury due to the difficulty in turning left. I have been unable to properly park my car due to not being able to turn left. I have been unable to get my car fixed due to the extraordinary cost. I am unable to get a new car as it is not financial feasible.

- Sandy, UT, USA

problem #121

Jan 092006

(reported on)

Grand Prix 6-cyl

  • miles
Consumer took vehicle to dealer for rack and pinion gear repair. Steering would not turn left. After the vehicle was repaired the steering was worse and the vehicle was taken back to the dealer. The dealer had to order a new rack and pinion.

- Marion, NC, USA

problem #120

Sep 172005

Grand Prix 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 112,100 miles


Recall 02049,02V286000-steering rack-N-pinion was performed by larry stovesand's Pontiac, GMC inc3100 irvin cobb drive paducah ky 42003, on my 97 Pontiac Grand Prix on 04/29/05. The car had none of the describe problems at or before this time. On 09/17/05 the car started having the problems described in the recall letter hard to( impossible) to turn left at low speed. Returned the car to the before mentioned dealership. After inspecting the car they contacted General Motors and told me they had done the work requested of the recall and that GM said in order for this to get fixed we would have to pay for it. On 09/26/05 my husband called GM and they confirmed what the dealership had already stated. The dealership replaced bearing K 6.835 on the invoice lower pinion bearing. The car was purchased at courtesy autoplex 3100 irvin cobb drive paducah ky 42003 on or around 06/15/00.

- Benton, KY, USA

problem #119

Jul 292005

Grand Prix 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 98,000 miles
Consumer's wife was making a left hand turn and lost all power steering. No previous problems. There was a recall 02V286000 repairs performed on the vehicl. The recall involves steering within rack and pinion. Did not receive recall letter but due to another service being performed on the vehicle. Dealer ran VIN and determined the recall repairs were performed. The service. This was in March 2003. No repairs have been made at this time, but dealer had the vehicle towed off a GM dealership because it was a safety issue. Contacted GM, and consumer filed a complaint with them.

- Shakopee, MN, USA

problem #118

May 072005

Grand Prix 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 83,300 miles
012703 recall P02049-S indicating that there was a problem with the lower pinion bearing in the power steering which may separate. 062703 took 1997 Pontiac to cunningham of bayside had repairs done invoice#pncs37064. 050705 enroute to visit family, slowing down at the intersection, I felt the steering tighten and release. I then attempted to make a left and the steering tightens, the turning ratio was reduced and I was headed to the oncoming traffic. I stopped in traffic in order to keep control. I was able to continue. I was making another left turn and not expecting that the car would react the same. I began to steer left across oncoming traffic when the steering failed again exposing us to possible serious injuries. I took car to a mechanic in the area. The mechanics checked the steering and said, it's the rack and pinion bearings and the shaft cover is missing. I told him a recall had being issued for the bearing; and part of the problem was unable to turn. I told the mechanic, I'll call GM to see if they would cover the repair. 050705 I call GM and spoke to duane, (D') explained what happened and what I had to do. D' stated that in order to cover cost the dealer would have to make the determination that the mechanical failure was related to the recall. I then asked D' if GM would towed the car from the shop to the dealer in order to perform the inspection. D' said no, and that I should drive the car to the dealer. I told him that it was unsafe to drive, because it would not allow me to make a safe left turn and that I could crash. D' state that would be the only way that they could be sure that the failure was due to the recall. I told D' I see what I can do, but that I was not driving the car. I plan to have the repairs done a the garage as I feel that the car is unsafe to drive. And GM would not pay for the tow to the dealer. This is why I'm writing this letter. New american of valley stream 227 N central ave valleystream NY11580 tel.5168259562

- Forest Hillls, NY, USA

problem #117

Dec 062004

Grand Prix

  • 83,000 miles
Mid way making a left hand turn, the steering wheel temporarily locked up. This caused the consumer's vehicle to hit a curb. Dealership was notified, but did not resolve the problem. The consumer believed there was a direct correlation between the recall that was performed on the vehicle and the steering failing.

- Beachwood, OH, USA

problem #116

Nov 012004

Grand Prix 6-cyl

  • miles
The steering temporarily goes out, vehicle lost steering. Replaced power steering pump, problem recurred. Recall# 02V286000. The rack was damaged.

- Red Wing, MN, USA

problem #115

Nov 102004

Grand Prix 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 53,000 miles
My daughter used an excuse that she came home late because the car would not turn left and she hit a mailbox. I did check her story and yes. It would not turn left. I searched the internet and found many of these incidents. Not only with this car, but many GM models. The steering rack will need to get replaced at my expense. If there was a postal worked at the mail box, or some one getting their mail, it could have been a lot worst. Is General Motors waiting for a death to occur?? maybe they should take a look at the Goodyear tire incident.

- Holbrook, NY, USA

problem #114

Oct 052004

Grand Prix 6-cyl

  • miles
While making a right turn steering wheel failed. This caused vehicle to hit the curb, and the passenger side tire blew. Consumer received a recall notice 02049 for replacement of steering lower pinion bearings. The problem recurred since the repair problem was not resolved.

- South Hadley, MA, USA

problem #113

Jan 282003

Grand Prix

  • Automatic transmission
  • 109,000 miles
Recall 00V286000 concerning rack and pinion. Steering locked when making a turn, then vehicle rolled over. Vehicle was towed to dealer. However, it was not inspected. Consumer stated that the wheels locked.

- Carmichaels, PA, USA

problem #112

Nov 132003

Grand Prix 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 68,000 miles
In regards to NHTSA campaign #02V286000, GM recall #02049, for a defective rack and pinion unit in my 1997 Pontiac Grand Prix. The recall repair work was performed on 03-06-03 at community Pontiac motors of Iowa city, Iowa (phone # 319-351-1424), after picking up the car from community motors, the steering was pulling to the right and was off center. Community motors then performed an alignment on 03-24-03. The steering was better but still pulled to the right some. Also, the car was hard to steer at times while making left turns and while the vehicle was stopped while before the recall repair was performed my car's steering was normal. On 11-13-03 community motors determined that the rack and pinion unit was bad and replaced it using an aftermarket Napa brand rack and pinion at my expense of $737. Currently the car's steering is determined to be faulty again by community motors with the replacement rack and pinion that was installed at the dealership last 11-13-03. I had contacted GM and they had stated they will not cover any repair cost that I incurred on my car's rack and pinion so far as the installation of the Napa rack and pinion that was installed by community motors last 11-13-03. So, for a remedy, I would like GM to pay for the installation of the GM replacement rack and pinion used in the recall campaign currently. Regards, joe underwood.

- Iowa City, IA, USA

problem #111

Mar 292004

Grand Prix 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 73,000 miles
While driving rack and pinion steering failed. This failure resembled the one described in power steering recall 02V286000O. However, this vehicle was not included in recall due to VIN. The steering wheel would stick while turning left.

- Goshen, IN, USA

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