Imagine that you're driving a commercial semitruck down the road and suddenly you feel a strange vibration, a crack and the entire steering wheel falls into your lap. If something like this were to happen, you would lose control of the truck and possibly drive off the roadway and have a life-threatening accident. If you don't think something like this could happen, then you're wrong. Hyundai recently announced a defect that could cause such a calamity -- albeit on a much smaller scale than a big rig.
Hyundai's announcement has spurred a massive recall of approximately 44,000 vehicles in the United States due to the danger of their steering wheels detaching while the vehicles are in motion. An additional 8,500 of these recalled vehicles are located in Canada. The recall affects Hyundai Santa Fe and Santa Fe Sport vehicles from the 2018 model year.
According to Hyundai, the "mold temperature may have increased during the molding process." This has resulted in certain steering wheel assemblies having a weakness that could cause them to break right off when too much pressure is applied. Hyundai is particularly worried that such a catastrophe could happen while a driver was operating his or her vehicle and result in a fatal or injury-causing accident.
So far, no accidents or injuries have resulted from this steering wheel assembly problem. However, Hyundai says that one individual reported that his steering wheel broke free while his car was not in motion. Fortunately, no one was hurt.
Automakers -- whether they produce commercial trucks or normal-sized cars -- may be financially liable if manufacturing defects result in dangerous problems, especially if those problems cause accidents and injuries. For this reason, anyone involved in a vehicle accident caused by a malfunctioning automobile may want to investigate whether the malfunctions were the result of manufacturing errors.
Source: The Car Connection, "2018 Hyundai Santa Fe, Santa Fe Sport crossovers recalled over steering wheels that may detatch," Ruben Porras, March 07, 2018