NHTSA Investigating 1.3 Million Fords, Toyotas & Hondas For Safety-Related Issues

Keeping busy these days.

Keeping busy these days.

There’s a whole lot of investigating going on right now at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and it includes almost 1.3 million vehicles from Toyota, Ford and Honda. All three are in potentially hot water for safety-related issues, from steering problems to brake issues. From the sound of it, the Prius is bearing the brunt of the scrutiny.

For now these three companies are just under investigation, reports NBC News, as federal regulators haven’t decided whether to push recalls or not. It appears the NHTSA is trying to shed what some critics say was too friendly of a relationship with the motor industry.

One way to show you mean business is to order manufacturers to fix safety problems, and the NHTSA is making no bones about its investigation into the popular Prius. Toyota’s gas-electric car is being looked at for reports that steering shafts were assembled improperly, and could affect about 561,00 vehicles.

The cars included in the probe were built between 2004 and 2009, and were part of an earlier recall of 669,000 cars for other defects related to the steering system. The NHTSA wants to see if parts connected to the steering assembly could get messed up if a driver whips the wheel around a lot at low speeds.

Another investigation involves 724,000 Ford Escape, Fusion and Mercury Mariner and Milan models, after 123 reports that vehicles lost power unexpectedly or plum stalled out completely. That problem could be linked to a bunch of issues within the vehicles, and includes cars made between 2009 and 2011.

Honda doesn’t have it as bad as the other guys, as the NHTSA is checking out 87,000 Pilots from 2005 after complaints that unexpectedly severe braking can occur due to a faulty sensor in the car’s Vehicle Stability Assist system.

We bet there are a lot of crossed fingers in the industry right now. Recalls are bad for business, after all.

1.3 million Fords, Toyotas, Hondas under investigation [NBC News]