Lemberg Law is investigating consumer complaints that the 2023 Honda HR-V has a sticky steering issue that presents a safety risk. Some owners have been told that the automaker is aware of the issue and is working on a fix. But there are no technical service bulletins, and dealerships are unable to help even when they acknowledge that there is a problem.
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Is There a Problem with the Steering?
There is a very definite problem with the 2023 Honda HR-V steering that seems to get worse in cold weather. Described as sticky steering, it seems to build up pressure so that drivers need to increase their steering effort. The steering also jerks and isn’t smooth as it should be.
2023 HR-V owners have complained to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) about the issue. Owners are also discussing the problem on the HRV Forum and on Reddit.
By all accounts, American Honda Motor Co. is aware of the problem but hasn’t been able to provide a solution.
Additionally, there are numerous complaints to the NHTSA from 2022 and 2023 Honda Civic owners who are also experiencing jerky and sticky steering issues. AHM hasn’t been able to help these owners either. However, both model years are the subject of an NHTSA Office of Defects Investigation (ODI) that was opened on March 17, 2023.
The likelihood of the 2023 Honda HR-V having the same sticky steering issues as the Honda Civic is considerable. While the second generation HR-V was based on the third-generation Honda Fit, the third-generation HR-V designed for North America and China is built on the same platform as the 11th-generation Honda Civic. So, it stands to reason they may share both positive and negative features and elements.
When it comes to the sticky steering issue, there are many more complaints to the NHTSA about the Civic than there are about the HR-V. There are a total of 279 steering-related complaints about the 2022 Civic and 10 about the 2023 model. By June 2023, there were only two NHTSA steering complaints about the 2023 Honda HR-V. But that doesn’t necessarily make it any less of a problem, which is why Lemberg Law is investigating HR-V complaints.
The NHTSA ODI opened its investigation after receiving 145 complaints and several early warning reporting field reports. These alleged that there was “a momentary increase in steering effort” for those driving 2022 and 2023 Honda Civic vehicles.
The investigation report states: “The complaints report that the momentary increase in steering effort (described as “sticky steering”) occurs mostly at highway speeds after driving for a certain amount of time. The reports have been received over the past 11 months with most occurring with low vehicle mileage.
A momentary increase in steering effort may result in overcorrection or inability to avoid a road hazard. This could lead to an increased potential for a collision.”
The ODI’s intention is to “determine the scope and severity of the potential problem and to fully assess the potential safety-related issues.”
What Issues are Owners Experiencing with Jerky and Sticky Steering?
Several 2023 owners of the HR-V who have experienced jerky and sticky steering problems thought at first that it was a lane assist issue. This might be a reason why there are relatively few complaints at this stage.
NHTSA Complaints Reports Fear that Lane Assist is to Blame
The owner of a 2023 HR-V AWD test drove the vehicle “and bought it with the lane assist on. We had never had a vehicle with lane assist and thought it was something we needed to get accustomed to using. It grew irritating, so I turned it off. We soon realized it was something else. The steering would stick and jerk. This vehicle is unsafe to drive and cannot be driven in rain or snow.”
In January 2023 they reported the problem “and were told Honda is aware of the issue and working to fix it. In March, I took it in for service and asked what was taking so long. They wanted to wait until I brought it back in, to file a report. So on May 3, they told me they’re waiting for the Honda district manager to contact them, and they’re still waiting. Twice they have test driven it and agreed there is a problem. In January they even test drove a new HRV, after turning off the lane assist, on the lot with the same problem.”
Another NHTSA complaint tells a slightly different story. After experiencing “jerky and hard steering” in December 2022, they were told that the rack and pinion were failing. But the problem here was that the part wouldn’t be in until May 2023. “They continued to have me drive it and told me it was safe to drive.” There isn’t a follow up comment so we don’t know whether repairs were done and if they were, whether they were successful.
Reddit Contributor Also Blames Lane Assist
Looking for answers, an owner of a 2023 HR-V turned to Reddit. “I was wondering if anyone else has had any issue with the steering. I thought the lane assist was annoying so I turned it off, then found out it wasn’t the lane assist. The steering is sticking and jerky without the lane assist, especially when it’s cold and windy. What it does is instead of normal smooth steering correction while driving, it builds up pressure while trying to correct. Then it feels like a slip, then a jerk. It’s impossible to drive safely in snow or rain.”
When another contributor to the thread pointed out that the HR-V is built on the Civic platform, someone else responded.
“I had heard about the Civic, and figured it was related. The dealership says Honda is aware of the situation and their engineers are working on a fix. I’m thinking a lot of people are like me, thinking it was the lane assist. Hopefully I get something done before the weather turns nasty again.”
But an update states: “Just got back from a 40 mile drive in 55 degree weather. It feels like it’s getting worse. 9,600 miles.”
HRV Forum Contributor Also Highlights Lane Assist
In a post dated May 6, 2023, a 2023 HR-V owner states that he thought the problem was Lane Assist “because I’d never had a car with it. After a while I got irritated with it, so I disabled it, then found out the steering was sticking. It’s mostly in colder weather, and very hazardous to drive in snow or rain because it sticks and jerks. I’ve taken it in to the dealership twice, and they agreed both times. The first time the mechanic took a new one on the lot for a test drive and said it did it too. They also said they would make a report and get back to me, which they didn’t. I took it in again last week, they test drove and agreed. They said they’re waiting for their district manager to return their call.”
Questioned by another member about jerking, which he says “is common on all cars with lane centering assist,” he added information.
“Instead of steering for normal lane correction, the steering pressure will slightly build up, then release – that is what I’m calling sticking. The release causes the steering to have a small ‘jerk’, which makes the vehicle very unsafe in rain and snow, which is the complete reason we purchased an SUV AWD. It is worse in colder weather and impossible to drive in windy conditions.
“Even though Honda has agreed there is a problem and said their engineers are trying to find a solution, I reported this in January and I’m getting impatient. I’m trying to find out if anyone else has had this problem.”
What Should You Do if Your Honda HR-V Has Steering Problems?
If you are experiencing jerky or sticky steering in your Honda HR-V, start by turning off Lane Assist. If the problem doesn’t go away, there’s a good chance you have the same problem that so many 2022 and 2023 Honda Civic owners have.
Lemberg Law’s class action investigation aims to clarify these issues. So, if you have had sticky steering experiences, we’d like to hear from you. Call us at 844-928-4443 or complete our contact form. We will evaluate your case and see if you qualify to join our investigation.