If you own a Chevrolet Silverado or a GMC Sierra pickup, you might want to check the mail, as you'll probably receive a recall notice soon. GM just announced that they are recalling 800,000 of these pickup types due to a steering problem.
It's possible for the trucks to lose power steering spontaneously. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, "The loss and sudden return of EPS assist typically happens within a 1 second period and is caused by an electrical/software issue."
Usually, the problem takes place during low speed turns, or any other time there is a high current demand. According to CNET, it's caused by an issue with the voltage. If the system drops below 8.8 volts, a fault that disables power steering occurs. After the system reaches 9 volts once again, the fault disappears. The issue might also affect the trucks' air conditioning, radio and cruise control.
Naturally, this is a huge concern for drivers of these vehicles. The issue could cause them to lose control of their vehicles, resulting in accidents.
Luckily, it doesn't look like any crashes or deaths in these vehicles were the result of the power steering issue. Currently, vehicles included in the recall are mostly from the US, but about 80,000 reside in Canada and 25,000 in other countries.
GM manufactured the trucks in question between Jan. 30, 2013 and Sept. 4, 2014. GM and highway officials first got word of the issue back in February. After a lengthy investigation, they finally decided that a recall was the best way to correct the problem. Thankfully, the issue is only in this one model year of trucks. GM fixed the problem before rolling out the 2015 models.
While the word is getting out about this recall, GM is staying pretty quiet about it. Right now, they say they are working on a fix for the problem and setting up a recall schedule. They will let owners of these vehicles know when to bring them in for repairs. Experts do say that the fix is a minor one. Dealerships will simply need to update the trucks' software system to accommodate the issue.