NHTSA — Steering Problems


really awful
Crashes / Fires:
1 / 1
Injuries / Deaths:
1 / 1
Average Mileage:
53,433 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.

2002 Pontiac Sunfire steering problems

steering problem

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2002 Pontiac Sunfire Owner Comments

problem #8

Oct 242016


  • 123,000 miles


My tilt steering wheel column wobbles from side to side, it would never stay locked in one position and with time it started to move while driving, people have attempted to fix it, but it doesn't last and I can't get a safety inspection because of it, the inspector says it is too dangerous. It has never been wrecked or damaged and was bought brand new, it about 123,000 miles on it. When I turn to the left especially, the steering wheel flops from left to right.

- Dallas, TX, USA

problem #7

Sep 202010

Sunfire 4-cyl

  • 80,000 miles
Steering column began to smoke and car engine stopped. Dealership determined the cause to be a short in the ignition switch wiring harness due to rubbing on the steering column.

- Grand Blanc, MI, USA

problem #6

Jul 012010


  • 83,000 miles
2002 Pontiac Sunfire steering wheel. Outer cover and foam separated from inner steel frame. In an emergency maneuver with rapid steering (or if power steering fails) outer cover and foam can tear causing loss of ability to steer car. First failure on this car was in August 13, 2004, car had 32,437 mi. And dealer replaced steering wheel under warranty. Tech who inspected car said "safety issue". second failure was in July 2010 at 83,000 mi. Dealer and GM would not admit to this being a safety issue as well as a defective design and estimated repair cost of $450. GM would not cover the cost of the repair.

- Kingston, NY, USA

problem #5

May 272009


  • 116,900 miles


The steering wheel was so loose it had radial and axial play. The car was hard to steer because of the collapsed steering wheel. The car was taken to the dealership where their finding was a "worn part" within the steering column. It was a pin type of component that was used to pivot and move the steering wheel according to the mechanic. The charge to fix the problem was estimated at $729 to replace the whole steering column. The car was driven home and parked in the driveway where a complaint is being filed. How can a component be worn from one of the most critical parts of a car and not be considered a defect? the funniest thing was when the service personnel gave the keys to the mechanic he said, "be careful driving that thing, it's dangerous". driving 65mph on an interstate and your steering wheel collapsing is not anything I would like my worst enemy to experience. I don't want to be the first person to be injured or die in a car crash for this to finally be a recall.

- Morrow, GA, USA

problem #4

Sep 252002

Sunfire 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 370 miles
Air conditioner loud noise while on, ABS rattling when stopping in non wet weather. Popping while turning right. Headlamps don't always turn on when switch is engaged. Engine noise as if something is wrong with lifters.

- Sauk Village, IL, USA

problem #3

Oct 152002


  • Automatic transmission
  • 6,249 miles
My son was driving home the night before his wedding, was not drunk according to the coroner. The police report said he must have went off the road, overcorrected and began spinning and rolling.the car went 469 feet before it came to rest on top of him, the report says he must have been ejected through the sunroof. My son was 34 very muscular. I do not believe that unless there was something mechanically wrong with the car thar he could not have controlled it. I have seen other reports of the same thing happening to other people with the same car. Also the airbags did not deploy that alone might have saved my sons life. There were two other people in the car, both hurt seriously. Please let me know if this same thing is happening to other people and if there is anything I can do. I still have the car exactly as it was, in storage.

- Wappapello, MO, USA

problem #2

Sep 252002

Sunfire 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 6,543 miles
Service brakes wore out prematurely, and destroyed the rotors and other brake components. The brakes squealed and made a grind noise, the left (driver front) hub cap rattled/shaked, water leaked in the back seat. The service technician said the metal brakes didn't have pads. The front end steering shaked, the rotor(s) had worn out, the right inside door panel was loose, the speaker had gone out, the power steering squeaked per invoice, the ac chirped, and a wind noise had come from the front doors.

- Houston, TX, USA

problem #1

Mar 132003

(reported on)


  • 11,400 miles
When a turn was made, the steering made a noise, and became loose, the mechanic stated the problem was the boot and the seal, however the problem recurred two weeks later and the mechanic refused to fix the vehicle.

- Gloversville, NY, USA

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