— Owners of Hyundai Accent and Elantra cars claim in a lawsuit the steering wheels locked up while driving and in some cases caused the cars to crash.
The proposed class-action lawsuit includes owners and lessees of 2013-2016 Hyundai Accent and 2013-2016 Hyundai Elantra cars with alleged defects that cause steering wheels to lock or become difficult to turn.
The plaintiffs say the cars lose power steering without warning and make it impossible to safely drive, an allegedly similar problem that caused Hyundai to recall 173,000 Sonata mid-size cars in 2016. The lawsuit alleges the automaker has long known about the steering problems but has neglected to warn consumers or take actions to fix the loss of power steering.
Plaintiffs Houston Vinci and Jaehan Ku say they wouldn't have bought the cars if Hyundai would have admitted the power steering problems exist.
Vinci says she purchased a used 2013 Hyundai Accent in Oregon in June 2015 after reading promotional materials from Hyundai, and since then she has experienced repeated problems with the power steering system. She has brought the car into dealerships for attempted repairs, but the dealerships have been unable to correct the steering problems.
The plaintiff also says she was in a crash in January 2016 because the power steering failed.
Plaintiff Ku purchased a new 2014 Hyundai Elantra in March 2014 and was involved in an accident in May 2016 because of losing power steering, causing the steering wheel to lock up and sending the car sharply to the left. The brakes allegedly failed at the same time and he was unable to stop before crashing into a barrier on the side of the highway.
The Hyundai lawsuit alleges Elantra and Accent owners have filed more than 100 complaints with safety regulators concerning steering problems.
One of those complainants claims a rented 2015 Hyundai Elantra crashed after the steering wheel locked.
"I was driving about 15 mph and had just driven over a small bridge that had a very slight bump at the end before the road curved slightly to the right. As I went over the bump the steering wheel locked up and I found myself heading straight into the wooden wall along the right side of the road. I could not get the steering wheel to turn to the left, away from the wall, and crashed through it." - 2015 Hyundai Elantra owner / Carson City, Nevada
The driver says they got lucky because if they would have been going faster, the car would have hit a concrete and steel retainer behind the wooden wall.
"The front of the car and the wooden wall, however, were badly damaged. The tow truck driver also had problems getting the steering to respond when he was backing the car out of the wall. It finally unlocked after he kept at it for a few minutes."
Another Hyundai driver says they experienced the same problems mentioned in the lawsuit, this time with a 2013 Accent.
"Driving, all road conditions the car drifts left or right and the steering wheel feels like it hits a stop point and correction has to be made constantly." - 2013 Hyundai Accent owner / Albuquerque, New Mexico
The lawsuit alleges violations of the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act, California’s consumer legal remedies act, California’s unfair competition law and California’s false advertising law, violations of implied warranty of fitness for a particular purpose, unfair and deceptive trade practices acts of various states, fraudulent concealment and unjust enrichment.
The Hyundai Accent and Elantra power steering lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California - Houston Vinci and Jaehan Ku, et al., v. Hyundai Motor America, et al.
The plaintiffs are represented by Faruqi & Faruqi LLP, Leeds Brown Law PC, Sultzer Law Group PC, and Walsh LLC.