— Chevrolet Equinox and GMC Terrain steering problems will be investigated four years after a consumer filed a petition which requested the government look into steering wheels that seemingly lock in straight-ahead positions.
The Chevrolet owner who filed the 2016 defect petition said the steering gear had been replaced in 2015 based on GM bulletin "14232 – Special Coverage Adjustment – Power Steering Stick-Slip."
But in October 2016, the Chevrolet Equinox steering wheel felt locked while turning on a city street, almost causing a crash. The owner also says the incident occurred after a 10-mile drive, and the next day the same problem occurred after a 10-mile commute.
The Equinox was towed to the dealership but no repairs were performed because technicians said the problem couldn't be replicated. In addition, the owner was told it was a new problem and the vehicle was no longer covered by the warranty.
The dealership offered to repair the vehicle for $400, but the owner said GM should pay for repairs because it was the steering gear that was involved in bulletin 14232. The owner called Chevrolet customer service but was again told repairs would cost $400.
The bulletin said certain 2012-2014 Buick Verano, 2011-2014 Chevrolet Cruze and Volt, 2010-2014 Chevrolet Equinox and GMC Terrain and 2013-2014 Chevrolet Malibu vehicles had increased friction in the steering system.
General Motors said the steering wheel could stick in the straight-ahead position after driving long distances on a straight highway. Although the steering wheel could feel like it was stuck, with increased effort a driver could turn the wheel.
Chevy and GMC dealers were told to replace the steering gears on 2010-2012 model year vehicles, or reprogram the power steering control modules on 2013-2014 model year vehicles.
But according to the defect petition, "the steering gear and module must be replaced as a pair, and the older units cannot be mixed and matched with the newer ones. Therefore the BULLETIN 14232 is insufficient in replacing only the steering gear on 2010-12 vehicles. The control module must also be replaced. Then, the module can be reprogrammed to correct the problem."
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has received 117 steering-related complaints from owners of 2010-2012 Equinox and GMC Terrain SUVs, with 52 reports of vehicles experiencing the steering problems described in bulletin 14232.
Some owners said the SUVs suddenly lost power steering while driving, and one person was allegedly injured when the steering problems occurred.
CarComplaints.com will update our website with results of the General Motors steering gear investigation.