VANCOUVER -- In 2014, while driving on the highway near Abbotsford, Kiran Kang had a terrifying experience with her vehicle’s steering.

“I thought I was going to die,” she said.

The electric power steering in Kang’s 2006 Acura failed and she barely made it off the road.

“It was so hard that it took all the strength in me,” she said. “If I wasn’t in panic survival mode I probably couldn’t have steered it.”

The problem was diagnosed after the vehicle had been towed. The electric power steering control unit had failed and it was recommended that she get it replaced. It would have cost $1,600, but she decided to hold off because it started working again.

“Because it was so expensive to get it done,” Kang explained.

That was a mistake. Later that year, Honda acknowledged the defect with a warranty extension to cover the cost, but Kang says she never got the notice. Over the years the steering issue seemed to be okay, but it became a problem again and in August she tried to get Honda to fix it at no cost. Her request was denied.

Safety recalls don’t expire

Typically, safety recalls don’t expire and the defect on Kang’s 2006 Acura is listed in Transport Canada’s recall database. But Honda says it was a warranty extension, not a recall, and the auto manufacturer is not obligated to pay after a warranty extension has expired.

But Kang wonders why Honda later paid for an airbag recall issued in 2017.

“There’s no end, deadline on that one and I don’t know why there is on this one,“ she said.

What you can do

Here’s the catch: Transport Canada says in 2018 the Motor Vehicle Safety Regulations were changed to strengthen vehicle safety. That includes what must be prescribed in the notice, and a new power to order the correction of a safety defect at no cost, if necessary.

All vehicle owners need to periodically check Transport Canada’s recalls and defects database to make sure they don’t miss defects or recalls.

You should also check your vehicle identification number with the manufacturer to ensure there are no defects or technical service bulletins that need to be addressed.

Keeping your address updated with the manufacturer is crucial. Some defects may not be covered by the manufacturer, but if they are they may be covered under an extended warranty.

Safety recalls are typically covered, while technical service alerts are usually covered only if your vehicle is still under a factory warranty.

But don’t wait or delay getting your car fixed if it’s the subject of a safety recall.

Although Kang’s steering appears to be working, she’s not taking any more changes and now plans to get it fixed.