Subaru is issuing a vehicle defect recall for nearly 5,400 2013 Outback and Legacy models because the steering may fail. According to a report in The New York Times, the automaker told the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) that the inner and outer shafts of the steering column assembly could lose contact with one another. In such cases, the driver may lose the ability to steer the vehicle.

Defective Steering Columns

The automaker said it first learned about the problem last June involving a vehicle that was still in the assembly plant. Subaru officials said they stopped selling and shipping the vehicles until they were all inspected and repaired. However, in February, Subaru received a complaint from a vehicle owner about loss of steering.

The company started an investigation. The automaker has concluded that a visual inspection conducted in June 2012, when the problem was detected on an assembly-line vehicle, “may not have been effective.” So, the company has decided to recall the vehicles involved and replace the steering column. So far, the automaker says, it has not received reports of accidents or injuries as the result of these steering defects.

Auto Product Liability Issues

Based on this news report, Subaru knew about these dangerous steering defects, but only performed a “visual inspection” to correct the problem. It was not until they got a consumer complaint after the vehicles were sold that the automaker realized that their initial fix was insufficient or ineffective. I trust NHTSA will look into whether the automaker did enough to fix the problem in the first place.

Steering defects have the potential to cause significant injuries or even fatalities. When a driver loses steering control, it is very likely to result in a crash. This is dangerous not only for the vehicle’s occupants, but also other pedestrians and motorists on the roadway.

If you or a loved one has been injured by a defective auto or faulty vehicle part, please contact an experienced auto products liability lawyer who has successfully fought and won against these large automakers. The best auto defect law firms will always offer a free consultation and comprehensive case evaluation to injured victims and their families.