Because of a power steering issue, General Motors (GM) has recalled over one million pickup trucks and SUVs across the globe.
Drivers worldwide have temporarily lost power steering function due to an issue in the software that controls this feature. Cars recalled include 1.205 million cars ranging all the way back to 2015, including the popula Escalade. The recall affects 1.02 vehicles in the United States alone.
The faulty power steering causes a lapse in power steering control before suddenly coming back on again. Though this can result in issues when drivers are going at high speeds, it’s especially dangerous for low speeds where the risk of a potential crash is higher.
As cars begin to rely on software to take care of hardware, more and more models and manufacturers have experienced recalls due to faulty equipment. Back in May, Fiat Chrysler had to recall almost 5 million vehicles due to an issue with cruise control. Recently, another recall has been issued by Fiat, Chrysler, Dodge, Ram, and Jeep due to issues with the powertrain controller. This caused over 12,700 vehicles to stall or fail to start altogether. Luckily, there were few stalls reported since the faulty software prevented most vehicles from starting. The recall for this event begins on September 28.
Luckily, no crashes have been linked to the powertrain issue in the above models. However, GM’s current power steering issue has resulted in a reported 30 crashes and two injuries.
This comes on the heels of a similar issue back in 2017. GM was forced to recall almost 800,000 truck models due to the same problem.
In both cases, thankfully, no deaths stemmed from the issue. But the damage to cars and injuries sustained from the accident are problematic. It’s no wonder the auto body industry has an estimated worth of over $42 billion.
GM claims they plan to update the software that controls power steering in all affected vehicles free of charge.
Fiat, Chrysler, Dodge, Ram, and Jeep are also expected to resolve issues with their powertrain controllers.
Nowadays, vehicles with automatic transmissions outnumber manual transmission from 10 to one. As our reliance on software for hardware features continues to grow, it’s likely issues similar to these will persist. Maybe “shifting” our reliance back to manual features is the way to go.