Fountain Valley, Calif. – March 7, 2018 – Hyundai Motor America has recalled more than 43,000 vehicles potentially equipped with defective steering assemblies, according to documentation submitted to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration. The campaign affects two sport utility models:
- 2018 Hyundai Santa Fe SUVs manufactured between Aug. 10, 2017, and Oct. 23, 2017.
- 2018 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport SUVs manufactured between June 15, 2017, and Dec. 28, 2017.
The South Korean automaker suspects just 1 percent of the recalled vehicles contain the defective components.
The recalled models feature steering assemblies that were not manufactured to specification. Specifically, the fixtures do not possess sufficient breakage strength. As a result, the steering wheel could separate from the steering column during operation. This poses a serious threat to passengers, as steering wheel separation drastically increases the likelihood of an accident. However, Hyundai has not received reports connecting the defective parts to any accidents or injuries.
Timeline of Events
Hyundai in November 2017 received a report from the American market detailing an instance in which steering wheel of a 2018 Hyundai Santa Fe separated from the steering column. The car company filed at quality information report addressing the issue in December 2017 and began monitoring the field for further instances of steering wheel separation. One month later, Hyundai received a field report from the Korean market outlining an occurrence of steering wheel separation, leading the company to recover parts from the related vehicle for further analysis. Engineering personnel learned that the recovered steering components matched those taken from the vehicle referenced in the U.S. report, indicating vendor error.
In February 2018, Hyundai initiated a joint investigation with the steering assembly supplier Dayou Autoparts. The organizations soon discovered that a batch of steering wheel hub assemblies produced June 9, 2017, were damaged during manufacture but then reworked, compromising their breakage strength. The parts were apparently harmed during the molding phase when temperatures surpassed specified standards and adversely affected the structural integrity of the steering wheel hub assemblies.
Hyundai quality assurance reviewed the matter Feb. 8, 2018, and chose to conduct a voluntary safety recall. The automaker notified dealers of the action Feb. 23, 2018.
Hyundai has directed dealers to replace the defective steering assemblies free of charge, according to an NHTSA recall acknowledgment document. Hyundai intends to notify owners via first-class mail March 16, 2018. Those in need of more immediate assistance can contact Hyundai customer service at (855) 371-9460. The internal recall identification number for this campaign is 173. Owners can also reach out the NHTSA directly using the agency’s Vehicle Safety Hotline at (888) 327-4236.