Class-action lawsuit details dangerous sticky steering defect that leaves 2022-2023 Honda Civic drivers unable to control vehicle
Owners and lessors of 2022-2023 Honda Civics filed a class-action lawsuit accusing American Honda Motor Company of knowingly selling vehicles with a dangerously defective electric power steering system (EPS) that can cause the steering wheel to stick, leading to overcorrection and risk of crash, according to attorneys at Hagens Berman.
One Civic owner cited in the lawsuit experienced the defect in March 2023, when their steering wheel suddenly became unresponsive. Unable to regain control of the vehicle, they drove off the road, across a highway and into a ditch, according to the lawsuit. The vehicle owner suffered injuries because of this accident, and their car was totaled.
The lawsuit was filed on April 24, 2023, in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California Western Division and cites scores of reports of the defect to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), in which Civic drivers recount instances of the steering wheel locking or becoming “sticky” while moving at speeds up to 70 mph. The steering defect can cause drivers to overcorrect and, in some instances, lose control of the car. Some NHTSA reports describe drivers fighting their own steering wheels to maintain control of the vehicle.
Despite numerous consumer complaints, Honda has failed to issue a recall on 2022-2023 Civics, and the suit accuses the automaker of actively concealing information about the defect from the public while it continues to sell defective vehicles.
“It’s unconscionable for an automaker to rake in profits from sales while vehicle owners and lessors risk their lives every time they get behind the wheel,” said Sean Matt, partner at Hagens Berman and attorney leading the lawsuit. “There is no excuse as to why Honda has been asleep at the wheel, and we believe it has actively worked to conceal this issue, putting drivers and others on the road in danger.”
The complaint also claims Honda knew or should have known about the EPS defect from pre-release vehicle testing, consumer complaints and other sources, but has continued to market and sell 2022-2023 Civics.
Honda Puts Drivers in a Sticky Situation
Most vehicles in the U.S. are equipped with some sort of power steering assist designed to help drivers steer by reducing the effort required to turn the wheel. According to the lawsuit, 2022-2023 Honda Civics are equipped with electric power steering, which uses an electric motor to provide steering assistance to the driver.
The lawsuit alleges that a latent malfunction in the EPS system in affected vehicles can cause the steering wheel to become stuck while the car is moving, leading to increased risk of crash and inability to avoid a road hazard. Because the defect is intermittent and not immediately obvious, it is impossible for drivers to predict when they may suddenly face this increased risk of crash. The complaint states most drivers report experiencing the defect while moving at highway speeds and at relatively low vehicle mileage.
A Turn for the Worse
In NHTSA complaints compiled in the lawsuit, drivers refer to their experiences with the defect as “terrifying” and “dangerous for both me and other drivers around me,” describing the sensation of “fighting for control of the steering wheel” while traveling at 65 mph on interstate roads. Another report states that following a driver’s experience of the defect, they “called Teams Honda dealership and they said they are aware of the issue and no recall has been issued at this time. So basically... just drive it.”
“This is the textbook definition of unjust enrichment,” said Matt. “Honda chose to ignore the rules of the road, and drivers are left paying the price, which could cost them their lives.”
Attorneys say it is unclear how many vehicles are affected by the sticky steering defect, and Honda has sold and leased many thousands of class vehicles.
The lawsuit brings claims of breach of implied warranty, unjust enrichment, violation of warranty laws, and violation of state laws including the California Consumer Legal Remedies Act.
Learn more about the lawsuit against Honda regarding the sticky steering defect in 2022-2023 Civics.
Hagens Berman is a global plaintiffs’ rights complex litigation law firm with a tenacious drive for achieving real results for those harmed by corporate negligence and fraud. Since its founding in 1993, the firm’s determination has earned it numerous national accolades, awards and titles of “Most Feared Plaintiff’s Firm,” MVPs and Trailblazers of class-action law. More about the law firm and its successes can be found at www.hbsslaw.com. Follow the firm for updates and news at @ClassActionLaw.