WASHINGTON — The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has opened an investigation into an estimated 17,000 2008 Infiniti EX35 SUVs following two consumer complaints of steering shaft failure.
The steering shaft may separate while the driver is operating the vehicle, resulting in a loss of steering control, according to NHTSA.
The first complaint reported a failure that occurred at 19,087 miles of service.
"The driver alleged experiencing play in the steering wheel while driving 40 miles per hour," NHTSA said in its summary of the investigation. "After slowing to a stop, the driver reported a complete loss of steering, with the steering wheel rotating 360 degrees without turning the wheel. The vehicle was towed to a dealer and repaired, but the owner was not able to provide copies of the repair records."
The second complaint reported a failure that occurred at 75,312 miles.
"The driver reported that the steering became loose while driving home and completely separated after stopping in his driveway," NHTSA said. "A service invoice provided by the owner indicates that the dealer replaced the steering column and shaft assembly after finding a failed steering shaft bearing."
There are no crashes, injuries or fatalities linked to the probe.
"Infiniti is aware of the inquiry by the National Highway Traffic Administration into two consumer complaints of steering issues in the 2008 Infiniti EX35," wrote Kyle Bazemore, an Infiniti spokesman, in response to an Edmunds query. "Our engineers are reviewing the issue and will work with the agency to answer their request."
Federal safety regulators have opened a preliminary evaluation. Such an action sometimes precedes a vehicle recall, but the 2008 EX35 has not been recalled at this point.
Edmunds says: Consumers will have to wait for federal safety regulators to finish their work before taking any action. But if you are experiencing a problem with your 2008 EX35, it's best to contact your dealer now.