Honda’s iconic Civic is under federal investigation. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) announced Friday that it was opening a probe into alleged issues with the model’s steering. The investigation is looking at the 2022-2023 Civic.
NHTSA has received 145 complaints over the last 11 months about the Civic’s “sticky steering.” According to the agency’s report, owners have complained that they feel momentary increases in steering effort while driving the vehicle. The issue allegedly happens at highway speeds after driving for a certain amount of time. Most complaints have come from owners low-mileage vehicles.
An increase in steering effort could cause a driver to overreact when attempting to avoid a road hazard. This could increase the chance of a collision; however, NHTSA has not reported any injuries or collisions related to the issue.
NHTSA also received several Early Warning Reporting Field Reports about the issue. This, along with the complaints, allowed the agency’s office of Defects Investigation to open a “Preliminary Evaluation.” This will allow the agency to determine the scope and severity of the potential problem. It also allow the agency to evaluate potential safety-related issues.
The Associated Press reported that Honda is cooperating with the inquiry. The company also told the news outlet that customers who feel something is wrong with their Civic should take it to a dealer as most of the potentially affected models should still be under warranty. The investigation might not result in a recall as the agency still has to assess the scope of the alleged problem, which could affect 238,000 vehicles.
Honda’s most recent recall affected 450,000 models, including the Accord and the popular CR-V. In 2022, NHTSA’s ODI opened two “Preliminary Evaluations.” One looked into complaints about the automatic emergency braking system in the 2018-2019 Honda Accord and 2017-2019 CR-V. The other examined complaints about the third-generation Honda Pilot suffering from stop/start failures.
NHTSA did not say when it believes the analysis would be complete, as these things often take a lot of time. Honda redesigned the Civic for the 2022 model year.