‘Of its own accord’— US government investigates Honda Accords’ phantom steering

Washington, D.C. – June 2, 2021 – An arm of the U.S. government that regulates vehicle safety is investigating Honda (NYSE:HMC) after reports that certain 2013-2015 Honda Accords are experiencing sudden steering failure, greatly increasing the risk of an accident.  Up to 1,120,470 vehicles are potentially affected.

The investigation could eventually lead to a Honda Accord recall, but it is unclear when and if this would begin.

The investigation 

The regulator, the National Highway Safety Administration (NHTSA), opened the investigation on May 6, after reviewing a total of 32 complaints of steering failure in 2013-2015 Accords. The complaints indicate that the cars may “veer or jerk out of the intended path of travel,” without any input from the driver or warning signs. 

Background of the investigation

The investigation comes on the heels of a petition by Terrie Haggey, a 2013 Honda Accord driver who petitioned NHTSA to look into an “alarming pattern of power steering failures.”  The related repairs are currently not covered under Honda’s current warranty policy. 

In response to Haggey’s request, NHTSA asked Honda to provide additional information and found out that there have been 77 instances of power steering failure stemming from this issue. The agency is currently conducting engineering analysis, a stage of the investigation process that may result in a recall. 

If a recall is initiated, any necessary repairs will be free for drivers.

Terrifying driver experiences

Drivers have been narrating their personal experiences related to this issue since at least 2018. According to one complaint, a driver “collided with the guard wall” after being unable to control the car, which veered “in and out of lanes sharply” on its volition. The driver suffered physical injuries and continues to be haunted by the accident. “Worst of all,” the complaint letter stated, “I suffer from nightmares and I have difficulty sleeping.” 

Another person observed the steering wheel turning “really fast on its own to the left” when they let go of it.

Crashes and injuries

According to NHTSA, the “phantom steering wheel” has so far led to at least two crashes and several injuries.

Previous investigation

Starting in November 2014, NHTSA led a separate investigation of the 2013 Honda Accord over reports of power steering failure, with some reports also describing the steering wheel jerking left or right, veering off-course. That investigation, however, did not result in the 2013 Honda Accord recall as NHTSA deemed that the steering failures were “rare” and that the rate of failures was declining. 

Recent Honda Accord recalls

In December, over 235,000 2013-2015 Honda Accords were subject to a different recall due to a potential loss of power.  It is not clear if the recall included 2013 Honda Accord Sport, 2013 Honda Accord Coupe, 2013 Honda Accord EX L.

Is your vehicle part of this recall?

Over 1.1 million vehicles may become part of this recall. Bookmark our free vehicle lookup tool to check back later, or use it now to see if there are any other recalls on your vehicle that need to be repaired.

Rebecca Rand‘Of its own accord’— US government investigates Honda Accords’ phantom steering