WASHINGTON - American Suzuki Motor Corp. is recalling more than 46,000 MY 2006 Grand Vitara and MY 2005-2006 XL-7 vehicles because of a power steering problem. 

The tension adjuster pulley for the drive belt that operates the power steering pump and air conditioner compressor (if equipped) has an outer portion that is made of plastic. Repeated heat stress can cause the plastic material to deteriorate, and pieces of the pulley can break off. 

As a result, broken pieces of the pulley can get caught between the pulley and the drive belt. This can cause the drive belt to come off, resulting in the driver needing increased effort to steer the vehicle. This problem increases the risk of a crash, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. 

Dealers will replace the power steering pump drive belt tension adjuster pulley free of charge. The safety recall is expected to begin this month. 

Owners can reach Suzuki at (800) 934-0934.