Officials said the problem was linked to 14 accidents and involved 2005-10 Chevrolet Cobalts, 2005-06 Pontiac 4s, 2005-07 Pontiac G5s and 2005-06 Pontiac Pursuits.
The Pontiac 4 was sold in Mexico and the Pursuit in Canada. The others were sold in the United States.
GM blamed the problem on a supplier that is partially owned by Toyota Motor. A GM executive said the system received from the supplier didn't meet requirements for reliability and durability.
The problem caused additional effort to be needed when trying to steer the vehicles in some circumstances. GM insisted the cars were safe to operate but still would fix the problem.
GM's announcement comes on the heels of a series of recalls by Toyota totaling about 8.5 million vehicles for a series of issues, including accelerators and brakes. Toyota officials were to appear Tuesday before their third congressional committee in a week to answer questions about the recalls.