Hyundai recalls nearly 140,000 Sonatas

As posted on September 26, 2010 on www.cnn.com

By the CNN Wire Staff

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration announced Sunday that automaker Hyundai is recalling nearly 140,000 Sonata sedans.

The recall affects certain 2011-model year Sonatas, which were manufactured from December 2009 to September 2010, NHTSA said.

"On some of these vehicles the steering column intermediate shaft universal joint connections may have been either improperly assembled or insufficiently tightened," the agency said.

As a consequence, drivers could experience a reduction or loss of steering capability.

Hyundai dealers will inspect the affected parts and will update the power steering software for free, NHTSA said.

The recall, which is expected to start in October, could affect as many as 139,500 cars.

Last month, NHTSA said it was investigating the same steering mechanism problems related to the recall.

The investigation was based on two incidents reported by Hyundai itself through the government's "Early Warning Reporting" system.

In one incident, the connection came loose, resulting in total loss of steering control. In the other case, a defective bolt caused loosening, but not total separation, of the universal joint.

There were no crashes or injuries in either case, Hyundai spokesman Jim Trainor said last month. Both cars were repaired and returned to their owners.

At the time of the repairs, according to NHTSA documents, both of the cars had been driven less than 600 miles. Both vehicles were manufactured at the same Alabama plant during the same month.

The 2011 Sonata, which is produced at the South Korean automaker's Montgomery, Alabama, factory, has been a strong seller. The automaker has already sold about 100,000 of them, Trainor said. This new version of the mid-sized sedan went on sale this spring.

Hyundai earlier recalled the same car because of a problem with a door latch.