The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has expanded its probe into a "sticky steering" issue that could affect more than half a million Hondas. 2023 Honda CR-Vs, 2023 Acura Integras, and 2022-2023 Honda Civics are now effectively under investigation.
As documented by the NHTSA's Office of Defects Investigation, the government started looking into an "alleged defect of momentary increase in steering effort" in current-gen Civics back in March. This has also been described as "sticky steering," and reportedly happens after a bit of highway driving. The ODI has been in contact with Honda and seems to have a bead on what's going wrong:
The steering gear contains a unit that includes a worm gear and a worm wheel. Honda stated this condition of momentary increase in steering effort occurs due to two factors within this unit. During manufacturing, the worm wheel goes through annealing and component conditioning processes. These processes caused internal stress and strain within the worm wheel. This strain was slowly released over the first few months of the vehicle life. Over time, the released strain caused the deformation of the teeth on the worm wheel, causing the worm gear to catch on the worm wheel. This results in the consumer’s momentary increased in steering effort. Also, the manufacturing process did not guarantee consistent grease application and therefore, some vehicles within the scope received too little grease which contributes to the momentary increase in steering effort.
The ODI estimates 532,535 vehicles may be affected. It looks like 13 crashes have been reported so far that investigators deem related to the incident. The new news related to this today is that the probe's being expanded to also look at Integras and CR-Vs, which share some critical components with the Civic. But since any steering-related malfunction is serious business, I think this warrants resurfacing.
We dropped Honda a note about this and got a statement from the automaker:
Statement from American Honda Motor Co., Inc. Regarding the NHTSA Engineering Analysis of the Steering System in 2022-2023 Honda Civic, 2023 Honda CR-V and 2023 Acura Integra
American Honda is committed to safety. We are aware that NHTSA has initiated an Engineering Analysis related to consumer reports of momentary increase in steering effort in 2022-2023 Honda Civic, 2023 Honda CR-V and 2023 Acura Integra models. Honda has been in communication with the agency on this topic and will continue to cooperate with NHTSA through the investigation process, while continuing our own internal review of the available information.
Here's a link to the NHTSA page where you can report such issues, check into the status of investigations, and more.