Dear Dirty America


Dangerous Electric Power Steering on Buick’s LaCrosse

July 05
18:02 2012
Los Angeles

(I don’t normally perform product reviews on DDA, but Buick’s electric power steering is so dangerous, and to think it’s being used in cars on the road throughout the country is disconcerting)

The first time I drove Buick’s 2012 LaCrosse, I was instantly enamored with the sleek body of the vehicle, and the sparkling, complex dashboard and center console. Buttons, lights, and knobs made me feel like I’d strapped myself into a high-powered luxury sedan. I imagined the vehicle streaking down the road like an airplane just before takeoff.

Little did I expect, the car’s electric power steering feature would prove such a nuisance that the entire driving experience would be marred. In fact, Buick’s electric steering mechanism is downright dangerous for both the driver and passengers in the LaCrosse, and every vehicle it meets on the road.

The 2012 model I drove was enhanced by a feature called eAssist. That means there is a battery in the trunk that is recharged whenever the driver hits the brakes, or lets the car coast. When the LaCrosse is stopped at a red light, the engine cuts off to save on fuel. When the driver removes his foot from the brake, the engine restarts.

It’s slick, as my wily uncle would say about any well-made, or handy contraption. But Buick also added another defining feature to the LaCrosse that isn’t so perfect or slick. It’s the electric power steering that is supposed to save on fuel, according to Buick News. But instead, it makes the car swerve unexpectedly right or left without any notice to the driver until the car’s already smoothly drifting toward the ditch, or into the oncoming lane of traffic.

According to the owners of the LaCrosse I drove, Buick claims that overly-sensitive, wandering steering is normal. Normal for whom, I don’t know, but normal enough to create a menace on the road, at any rate.

I drove the sedan for an hour, going between fifty-five and seventy-five miles per hour. The slower speed was on a county road, and the higher speed on the interstate. I noticed the car’s constant drifting almost right away. I swore there was a mighty wind outside, blowing the car left, then a few minutes later, a gust taking it hard to the right. But there was no wind. I stopped at a gas station at a nearby town, stepped outside, and confirmed a calm, breeze less day.

Buick’s luxury sedan might be OK in town, or in a city with a lot of traffic. As long as the driver can’t get to speeds over forty-five, or have any chance to zip along open roads. The electric power steering function seems to break down at fifty-five mph and above. If you’re confined to stoplights and congested surface streets, the Buick LaCrosse might be suitable for you.

But never purchase this car if you plan on driving it at highway speeds. Especially don’t plan to take it on a roadtrip. That would be a nightmare. To constantly correct and straighten the LaCrosse’s perilous road-drifting is mentally and physically draining. The straying is also nauseating for the unfortunate passengers.

Unfortunately, Buick doesn’t want to admit there is anything wrong with the steering. They refuse to do a “buyback” with the owners of the car I drove. They have no fix or solutions for the faulty steering. I suppose if they did, that would be an admission to how bad the electric power steering really is, and that would be like opening the floodgates, and would possibly turn into a dreaded nationwide recall. Instead, they’ll let drivers continue to be at risk.

A local mechanic told the owners of that LaCrosse that he’d received complaints about the steering on that Buick model. A local salesman admitted he’d experienced the same effect when he test drove the model. Is Buick lying, then, about their electric power steering being perfectly normal with no complaints from users? It’s hard to say. Maybe admitting the truth about a botched steering system isn’t financially in their best interest, yet.

Why am I wasting my time writing this so-called review of Buick’s 2012 LaCrosse? Because I find it’s my moral duty to spread the word any way I can about this dangerous electric steering system. It frightens me to think of these luxury sedans barreling along the nation’s speedy highways, shiftily drifting toward the ditch or oncoming traffic. It angers me that a world famous car manufacturer wouldn’t be more responsible, or accommodating to their customers. It fits into the theme of this blog: dirtiness, or nastiness in America.

Buick should really do the right thing and fix their electric power steering before drivers and their passengers are injured or killed because of it.

Lastly, there are hints of displeasure online about Buick’s steering system. My San Antonio lists it as a negative: “electronic steering is too sensitive”, and Automobile Magazine writes, “…it uses electric power steering, which isn’t nearly as natural feeling as the hydraulic steering…”.

If you have had any comparable problems or issues with the Buick LaCrosse, please email me. If there are more criticisms of this electric power steering on the web, send me the link.

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