Aston Martin recalls cars with defective steering components

Gaydon Warwick, U.K. – Feb. 7, 2018 – Aston Martin The Americas has recalled more than 1,000 sports cars potentially equipped with defective steering column control module clock springs, according to documentation submitted to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration.

The campaign affects Aston Martin DB11 V8 and V12 coupes produced between June 9, 2016, and Nov. 20, 2017. The British luxury automaker suspects nearly three-quarters of the recalled vehicles contain the defective safety components.

This recall stems from an earlier action initiated by Mercedes-Benz USA in October 2017.

The Defect

The affected vehicles involved in the recall may come equipped with steering control module clock springs that are insufficiently grounded and may produce electrostatic discharges capable of inadvertently activating driver-side airbag. This poses a serious safety hazard to occupants, as the unintentional, sudden deployment of safety features could increase the likelihood of an accident. However, Aston Martin has not received reports connecting the defect to any accidents or injuries.

An alert signaling improper air bag operation may appear prior to deployment.

Timeline of Events

In April 2015, Daimler AG, the international automotive conglomerate that owns and operates Mercedes-Benz, received two field reports detailing instances in which owners experience inadvertent air bag deployment. The company immediately launched an investigation in response. However, the inquiry, which was performed using recovered parts from the vehicles referenced in the original field reports, did not lead to root cause identification. DAG suspended the action as a result.

The organization reopened the investigation in late 2016 after receiving an additional report outlining the an instance of inadvertent air bag deployment. Investigators found that this vehicle contained a defective steering column, which prompted DAG to launch a more focused inquiry into the matter in January 2017. In June 2017, the engineers leading this investigation discovered the root cause of the issue: electrostatic discharge emanating from damaged steering column control module clock springs.

In October 2017, DAG contacted Aston Martin to share the results of its investigation, as the British automaker used the same steering column assemblies at the center of the inquiry. Aston Martin launched its own investigation to assess the potential impact on its DB line, which used the component. In January 2018, the car company’s Recall Committee convened to assess the issue. The group ultimately decided to conduct a voluntary safety recall.

Aston Martin notified dealers Jan. 29.

The Solution

The automaker has directed dealers to install contact bridges and springs in affected models free of charge, according to an NHTSA recall acknowledgment document. These components should facilitate proper grounding and prevent instances of unintentional air bag deployment. Aston Martin intends to contact owners via first-class mail March 1 through March 11. Owners in need of more immediate help can contact Aston Martin customer service at (888) 923-9988. They can also reach out the NHTSA directly using its Vehicle Safety Hotline at (888) 327-4236.

Ken BoydAston Martin recalls cars with defective steering components