(CNN) — The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is investigating new Tesla Model 3 sedans and Model Y SUVs for a possible steering problem. The apparent issue could involve as many as 280,000 cars, according to a document on NHTSA’s auto safety website.
The agency is aware of 12 complaints of the sudden loss of power steering assistance. While seven of the complaints indicated that steering became harder, five mentioned a complete inability to steer, per the document. The agency is aware of one crash connected to the issue. One person who posted a complaint on NHTSA’s website mentioned coming close to oncoming traffic when her vehicle’s power steering failed as she exited a parking lot.
NHTSA opened a preliminary investigation into the issue on Friday. The Tesla Model 3 and Model Y are closely related and share much of their engineering.
The agency opened a separate probe in March into reports of steering wheels on Model Y SUVs that would detach while driving.
Tesla did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The company generally does not respond to media inquiries.
(Copyright (c) 2023 CNN. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)