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US agency probing complaints that steering column control computer can fail on 2 VW models

DETROIT – U.S. safety regulators are investigating reports that a steering column control computer can fail on two Volkswagen models, knocking out the horn and air bags.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says it received nine reports of the problem on the 2012 Passat and CC models. The probe covers about 30,000 cars.

Owners have complained that the failure happens during normal driving conditions and is sometimes accompanied by a noise from the steering column. The agency says that when the computer fails, the air bag warning light illuminates on the dashboard.

Investigators will look at how often the problem happens and the consequences before deciding if a recall is needed.

Volkswagen says it’s co-operating with the investigation, and that any customer whose air bag warning light is illuminated should contact their VW dealer.