A class action lawsuit alleges that 2022-2023 Honda Civics are commonly found to have so-called "sticky steering."
CarBuzz has been informed that several 2022-2023 Honda Civic owners have initiated a class action lawsuit against Honda citing an allegedly common issue of so-called "sticky steering."
According to Hagens Berman, the legal practice bringing this matter to court, "a dangerous defect in [the] electronic power steering (EPS) system means [the] car could unexpectedly lose steering control."
The lawsuit is supported by several firsthand accounts and NHTSA complaint filings. For example, complaint number 11513561 reads as follows:
"Steering is 'sticky,' making it difficult to make minor adjustments while driving. Each time any move is made with the steering wheel, it is like it has to 'break free' from being stuck. This happens almost all the time over 40-45 mph, regardless of the driving mode."
There appears to be no obvious scenario in which this issue becomes more prevalent, and the speeds at which it has been reported vary.
Another complaint made on April 24, 2023, alleges that the driver-side steering rack makes "a clunk and rattling noise when driving less than 10 mph, adding that "when driving at a steady 50-65 on [the] highway, steering wheel sticks causing [the] driver to make forceful dangerous severe pulls to get out of [the] stuck position."
This particular complaint, number 11518796, comes from somebody who says this is their second Civic with the issue. The prior 2022 Honda Civic Sport they owned had a similar problem that required the replacement of the entire steering rack after a month of troubleshooting at the dealer.
Several more examples of this issue occurring in various degrees of severity have been listed, and some even note instances where the need to force the steering wheel out of its stuck position has resulted in crashes, injuries, and the totaling of a car.
Honda is accused of "actively attempting to conceal information about it to the public," citing that the problem has been brought to the attention of several dealers. The legal representatives say that one dealer responded to a customer saying they "are aware of the issue and no recall has been issued at this time."
Most of the complaints on the NHTSA's profile for the 2023 Honda Civic relate to steering, but it remains unclear just how many vehicles have been affected.
Instances of the issue rearing its head have been reported at speeds as low as 10 mph and as high as 65 mph. The one point that seems to remain consistent is that most reports show the problem occurring "with low vehicle mileage."
This suggests that it's an anomaly that should have been picked up during pre-delivery inspections, but it could also mean that there is no obvious issue that Honda can isolate. Perhaps the automaker's dealer service technicians have found that regular use eventually fixes the problem.
Either way, a permanent fix is sorely needed, and until the NHTSA, dealers, and customers know what the exact issue is, those in late-model Civics could be at risk of a crash or worse. Honda wins awards for safety, so we expect it will rectify this issue soon.
We have reached out to Honda for comment, and the automaker told us that it typically does not comment on pending litigation, which is where this suit falls right now. However, it has provided a statement.
Honda is cooperating in a Preliminary Evaluation of customer complaints similar to those cited in the lawsuit and has provided the following statement:
"Honda is committed to safety. We are aware that the NHTSA has initiated a Preliminary Evaluation, their first level of investigation, regarding a limited number of consumer reports of momentary variance in steering effort in 2022-2023 Honda Civic models. Honda has already been in communication with the agency on this topic and will cooperate with the NHTSA through the investigation process, while continuing our own internal review of the available information."
What this tells us is that sticky steering appears to be a relatively isolated incident, and that, by nature, means it's difficult to diagnose. Honda's email added that "most, if not all, of these vehicles should still be under Honda's limited warranty," adding that customers are encouraged to have any issues experienced diagnosed by an authorized dealer.
We suspect Honda will get to the bottom of this very quickly. The lawsuit's outcome could go either way.
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