DETROIT -- If recalls are a kind of a manufacturer do-over, this month's recall of some Chevrolet Cobalts and HHRs for a power-steering defect was a do-over of a do-over.
General Motors already had ordered a replacement of power-steering components on those cars in a recall action several years ago. Now, it's telling owners that the fix wasn't good enough.
The redo comes as an embarrassment to the company and an annoyance to customers, but it's a sign of how deep GM is digging to uncover and address any latent safety issues amid the scrutiny created by its deadly ignition-switch defect. In addition to accelerating reviews of pending safety issues, GM says it is analyzing past recalls and other "field actions" to see whether it did enough.
About 4 million of the more than 20 million vehicles GM has called back this year are connected to previous recalls, according to a review of records by Automotive News. Among the items GM is examining are recalls that covered only certain versions of a particular nameplate or only some of the models that shared a faulty part.
For example, it recalled Saab 9-3 convertibles for fragile seat belt retractors in mid-June, a decade after 9-3 sedans were recalled for the same issue.
As it pores through issues both old and new, GM is weighing complaint rates less heavily than it tended to in the past, focusing more on the nature and possible consequences of problems, even if evidence suggests they are rare.
"They're being overly aggressive in taking care of these," said Alec Gutierrez, senior analyst with Kelley Blue Book. "With the level of scrutiny they're under right now, they would prefer that cars have zero risk right now. Even if there's a one-in-a-million chance, they're going to go ahead" with a recall.