Failure Due to Recall or Driver Error

Robert S. Kinder, JR, BSME, Mechanical Engineer ::::
Over the years, automotive electrical systems have grown steadily in function and sophistication, often replacing former mechanically-controlled systems with electronic ones. A case in point is the modern power steering system. What had long used a belt-driven pump providing hydraulic pressure to perform the work required to ease operator steering effort is now a fully electronic system. The advantage of the electronic power steering system is that, unlike its predecessor that provided power steering assist continuously whether needed or not, the electronic version provides “on-demand” assist. Vehicle speed data is particularly important to determine whether or not the electronic power steering should be active as lower speed turning requires power steering assist but higher speed maneuvers typically do not.
But, as is often true with new technology, these systems can be prone to premature failures that can lead to recalls; and as is often true, vehicle recalls can become a catalyst for a forensic automotive investigation. Such was the case in a recent investigation of a vehicle equipped with an electronic power-assisted steering system. Continue reading “Failure Due to Recall or Driver Error”