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GM recalls 1.3 million Cobalts, G5s for power steering problem

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Filed under: Recalls, Safety, Chevrolet, GM, Pontiac

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2010 Chevrolet Cobalt XFE - Click above for high-res image gallery

Communications professionals know that the best time to release bad news about a company is at 5:15 pm on a Friday afternoon before a long weekend. By the time everyone comes back to work the following week, so much other stuff has happened that the story often gets lost in the shuffle. In the auto industry, another good time would be late in the evening just hours before a major overseas auto show while at the same time your biggest competitor is mired in a crisis of its own.

As many of the world's automotive journalists were converging in Switzerland for the Geneva Motor Show late Monday night, General Motors announced it would recall 1.3 million Chevrolet Cobalts and Pontiac G5s built between 2005 and 2010. GM will replace the motors on their electric power assisted steering (EPAS). Over time the motors can reportedly fail and lead to a loss of steering assist.

When the EPAS fails, the result is similar to a belt breaking on a hydraulic power steering pump. The car is still drivable and controllable, but the steering effort at low speeds rises significantly, making it difficult to maneuver at parking lot speeds. At higher speeds, relatively little steering assist is needed and drivers should be able to make it safely to the side of the road if the warning lamp comes on.



[source: General Motors]

Continue reading GM recalls 1.3 million Cobalts, G5s for power steering problem

GM recalls 1.3 million Cobalts, G5s for power steering problem originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 02 Mar 2010 09:49:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Yesterday, my dad told my sister she needs to take her car in to get the power steering recall done. She responded with, "My car has power steering?" haha :)

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It may be fun to laugh at this, since it is relatively minor compared to Toyota's recalls, but it has nevertheless been linked to 14 crashes and an injury.

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It may be fun to laugh at this, since it is relatively minor compared to Toyota's recalls, but it has nevertheless been linked to 14 crashes and an injury.

When the EPAS fails, the result is similar to a belt breaking on a hydraulic power steering pump.

Have we really become that immune to belt breakages that 14 people still managed to crash with this issue? At about any speed over 15mph, the car should still be completely controllable albeit slightly more difficult to turn.

Drove this from Pittsburgh PA to Richmond VA and back with no power steering at all.

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Have we really become that immune to belt breakages that 14 people still managed to crash with this issue? At about any speed over 15mph, the car should still be completely controllable albeit slightly more difficult to turn.

The problem isn't not having power steering. A vehicle like the Cobalt wouldn't be too bad to drive without power steering if you're used to it. The problem is that you have power steering one moment and then don't the next, which could easily result in a crash if you're about to turn or are maneuvering at speed in the city. Though chances are it will fail while driving straight.

I've driven cars that weren't equipped with power steering. It's different than driving a car designed for P/S that doesn't have it. I drove an old Mustang that didn't have P/S or assisted brakes. It wasn't a problem. However, my Audi is nearly impossible to steer at slow speeds without P/S, and I know this because my accessory tensioner seized once while driving. I was traveling about 30 mph and was able to pull to the side of the road. Very difficult to turn. Had I been about 2 blocks further down the road, turning at the intersection that I take every day, there's a good chance I would have hit the curb, at least. Or a parked car.

Nevertheless, this recall is nothing compared to Toyota's, but it shouldn't be downplayed or laughed about (real men don't need power steering!).

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