Infiniti has issued a recall in the US for a small number of cars fitted with its Direct Adaptive Steering system.
The recall is for just 23 cars, but is pretty significant – the cars could suffer a loss of steering when temperatures in the engine bay fall below freezing.
This is because the software may actually disable the electric power steering altogether. Ah, but hang on, you’re thinking.. there’s a mechanical backup that’s there in an emergency, isn’t there?
Well, there is… but it seems the cold temperatures may cause the software to delay the engagement of this, too. Result, admits Infiniti, could be “a loss of steering, increasing the risk of a crash”.
For this reason, Infiniti has instructed owners not to drive their vehicles: they should contact dealers and arrange to get their cars towed in.
The problem isn’t anything inherent in the Q50 steer-by-wire system itself: rather, it’s a power steering software update that contains some gremlins. The recall removes these and ensures this particular fault won’t occur.
Even so, it may be a dent to car buyers’ confidence in such steer-by-wire systems. It’s perhaps worrying that a simple software update can lead to a steering system being disabled completely, with the mechanical backup not kicking in quick enough too…