January 13, 2004

GM recalls 824,000 cars for potential steering problem

Detroit, Michigan – General Motors is recalling about 824,000 cars built between January 1, 1996 and October 31, 1997. The models being recalled are 1996 Buick Regal, 1997 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme, 1997-98 Oldsmobile Cutlass, Chevrolet Lumina, Monte Carlo, Malibu, and 1998 Oldsmobile Intrigue cars. Also, some 1996 Pontiac Grand Prix and Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme, and 1997-98 Buick Regal cars are being recalled.

GM is recalling these cars to repair a lower pinion bearing condition in the power steering gear assembly. Of the total, about 750,000 of the vehicles are in the U.S. and approximately 55,000 are in Canada.

In some of these vehicles, the lower pinion bearing in the power steering gear may separate, permitting movement of the pinion shaft. Separation is related to the assembly and design of the bearing and the forces on the bearing. Most reports indicate the driver experienced an intermittent loss of power steering assist when making left turns, usually at low speeds. If the pinion shaft moves too far, some drivers could experience higher resistance when turning left followed by unintended power assist to the right. There have been reports of eight injuries that may be related to the condition, but no fatal injuries.

Beginning in early February, GM will notify owners of the affected vehicles, instructing them to bring them into their Buick, Chevrolet, Oldsmobile, and Pontiac dealers. Dealers will install a new lower pinion bearing or, if necessary, replace the steering gear assembly. These repairs will be performed at no cost to the customers.

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