NHTSA investigates Honda Pilot and Hyundai Santa Fe SUVs for safety faults image

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration announced on Friday the opening of two new investigations into Honda Pilot and Hyundai Santa Fe SUVs.

The former will be investigated for improper involuntary braking, while the latter will be investigated for faulty steering columns.

The Honda Pilot investigation comes after a petition filed in April to investigate 87,000 2005 Honda Pilot SUVs for unexpected vehicle deceleration and/or steering pull resulting from inappropriate electronic brake application with no brake light illumination. “In the malfunctioning of these systems, steering failures occur and the brakes apply involuntarily,” the petition said.

The Vehicle Stability Assist system (VSA) in the Pilot integrates braking control strategies for anti-lock braking, traction control, electronic stability control and brake assist functions. Unexpected braking appears to be most likely related to inappropriate activation of the brake assist. NHTSA has found 185 incidents of unexpected braking of varying duration.

NHTSA is also opening a new investigation into 70,000 2011 Santa Fe SUVs after receiving a complaint that a fastener became loose in the steering shaft, resulting in a complete loss of steering capability.

The vehicle was 22 months-old and had 33,000 miles of service at the time of the alleged incident. NHTSA also has field report data from Hyundai regarding the loosening of a bolt in the lower steering column of a 2011 Hyundai Santa Fe vehicle that resulted in a steering shaft separation.