General Motors under investigation for airbag failures

Washington, D.C. – April 19, 2021 – The U.S. government’s highway safety regulator is investigating General Motors (NYSE:GM) over reports of airbag malfunction. The investigation cites 15 complaints and covers the following vehicles:

  • 2020 – 2021 Cadillac CT4
  • 2020 – 2021 Cadillac CT5
  • 2020 – 2021 Cadillac Escalade
  • 2020 – 2021 Cadillac Escalade ESV
  • 2020 – 2021 Cadillac XT5
  • 2020 – 2021 Chevrolet Silverado 1500
  • 2020 – 2021 Chevrolet Silverado 2500
  • 2020 – 2021 Chevrolet Silverado 3500
  • 2020-2021 Chevrolet Suburban
  • 2020 – 2021 Chevrolet Tahoe
  • 2020 – 2021 GMC Sierra 1500
  • 2020 – 2021 GMC Sierra 2500
  • 2020 – 2021 GMC Sierra 3500
  • 2020 – 2021 GMC Yukon
  • 2020 – 2021 GMC Yukon XL
  • 2020 GMC Sierra Denali
  • 2021 Chevrolet Suburban 1500
  • 2020 Chevrolet Silverado 4500HD
  • 2020 Chevrolet Silverado 5500HD
  • 2020 Chevrolet Silverado 6500HD

Complaints  

Of the 15 complaints consumers submitted to the regulator, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), six mention serious crashes where the airbags failed to deploy, while eight highlight injuries that occurred in connection with the problem.

One complaint from Dayton, Ohio graphically describes the consequences when one driver’s airbag failed to deploy in an accident, resulting in a serious head injury. During the accident, “something hit [the driver’s] face while the “steering wheel airbag” failed to deploy. The driver remembers crawling out of their overturned Cadillac Escalade and being taken to the hospital. Upon being discharged, the person experienced “loss of taste and smell” except for the “smell of brain matter” from “fluid” dripping down their nasal cavity.

Other complaints describe the airbags failing to deploy despite the driver hitting several trees

Cause of the problem

The administration’s investigation points to a bulletin GM posted for dealers and repair shops in March, addressing problems with the airbag warning light. The bulletin blames the problem on “rust particles in the connection terminal interface of the driver airbag inflator.”

However, according a statement obtained by the Associated Press (AP), GM said it was unaware of any airbags failing to deploy due to this problem, adding that its own analysis of the issue found that airbags would still deploy in a crash even if the malfunction light was on.

Warning signs

Some of the complaints describe the airbag and “service safety restraint system” warning lights coming on as often as “every two to three minutes when driving.”

Other GM airbag recalls

GM has recently recalled close to 6 million cars because of potentially lethal Takata airbags that may rupture when deployed. Separately, in April NHTSA launched another investigation after multiple car manufacturers – including GM – recalled airbags that were improperly folded during the installation process and could fail to deploy. The airbags were manufactured by Joyson, a successor of Takata.

It is not clear who produced the GM airbags at the center of the current investigation.

Is your vehicle part of this recall?

Over 749,000 vehicles could be recalled as a result of NHTSA’s investigation. To do a GM recall check, bookmark MotorSafety’s free vehicle lookup tool and come back to the site when more details become available.

Rebecca RandGeneral Motors under investigation for airbag failures

General Motors recalls over 94,000 SUVs for damaged seat belts

Warren, MI – April 7, 2021 – General Motors (NYSE:GM) has recalled 94,641 vehicles whose seat belts may become damaged or trapped, increasing the risk of injury. The recall includes the following SUVs:

  • 2021 Cadillac Escalade
  • 2021 Cadillac Escalade ESV
  • 2021 Chevrolet Suburban
  • 2021 Chevrolet Tahoe
  • 2021 GMC Yukon
  • 2021 GMC Yukon XL

Recall summary

The third-row seat and third-row seat belts in these vehicles may have been installed incorrectly. Therefore, they may become “entrapped” or damaged, making them difficult to use or latch. 

Risks

In the event of a crash, the seatbelt might break, amplifying the risk of injury. As stated in this  article about  a recent General Motors recall, seat belts saved about 15,000 lives in 2017 alone.  

Other General Motors recalls

In December 2020 General Motors recalled over 600,000 vehicles, including the 2021 Yukon XL, due to the seat belts being “loose or detached from the seat frame.” In 2021, Chevrolet Tahoe was part of a 33,000-strong  recall due to defective Continental tires.

Repair

GM dealers will inspect and replace damaged seat belts for free. Owners will be contacted about this recall on May 3.

Is your vehicle part of the recall?

Approximately 95,000 vehicles are part of this General Motors recall. To perform a General Motors recall check, use Motor Safety’s free vehicle lookup tool.

Aleksandra SnesarevaGeneral Motors recalls over 94,000 SUVs for damaged seat belts

General Motors recalls over 33,000 cars over risk of flat tires

Warren, MI – March 11, 2021 – General Motors  (NYSE:GM) has recalled 33,838 vehicles whose tires may rupture out on the road. The recall includes the following models:

  • 2020 Buick Enclave
  • 2020 Cadillac Escalade
  • 2020 Cadillac Escalade ESV
  • 2020 Cadillac XT4
  • 2020 Cadillac XT5
  • 2019-2020 Chevrolet Blazer
  • 2018-2021 Chevrolet Express
  • 2019-2020 Chevrolet Silverado 1500
  • 2020 Chevrolet Suburban
  • 2020 Chevrolet Tahoe
  • 2020 Chevrolet Traverse
  • 2019-2020 GMC Acadia
  • 2018-2021 GMC Savana
  • 2019-2020 GMC Sierra 1500
  • 2020 GMC Yukon
  • 2020 GMC Yukon XL

Recall summary  

Before being placed in service, tires are “cured,” or given final shape, using a mold and a rubber “bladder.” The tires in question were accidentally cured for longer than necessary, making them prone to rupture and failure.

While the tires are being recalled by GM, they are part of a larger problem with Continental brand tires. This recall expands an earlier GM recall in November 2020 and includes more models that may be equipped with defective tires.

In its turn, Mercedes-Benz has also just announced that it would inspect over 2,500 cars due to the same issue. To read about warning signs that may indicate that the tires are defective, please see the recent article we wrote about that recall.

Risks

The defective tires may suddenly go flat. Additionally, the outer tread – which is the part that touches the road –  could separate from the rest of the tire. Both conditions could cause the driver to lose control of the car and crash.

The repair

GM dealers will inspect and, if necessary,  replace vehicles’ tires for free. Notifications with more information will be sent to owners around April 12.

Recent Chevrolet recalls, GMC recalls

GM recalled nearly 6 million vehicles equipped with potentially dangerous Takata airbags in February. The airbags’ inflators may break apart after a crash and kill or injure the occupants of the car with sharp metal fragments.

The recall spanned several GM brands, including Chevrolet and GMC. 

Is your vehicle part of this recall?

Over 33,000 vehicles are included in this GM recall. To see if your [type of vehicle] is one of them, use MotorSafety’s free vehicle lookup tool.

Rebecca RandGeneral Motors recalls over 33,000 cars over risk of flat tires

General Motors begins government-ordered Takata airbag recall

Warren, MI – February 15,  2021 – General Motors (NYSE:GM) has begun its recall of nearly 6 million vehicles built with potentially dangerous Takata airbags. The recall includes the following models:

  • 2007-2014 Cadillac Escalade
  • 2007-2014 Cadillac Escalade ESV
  • 2007-2013 Cadillac Escalade EXT
  • 2007-2013 Chevrolet Avalanche
  • 2007-2013 Chevrolet Silverado 1500
  • 2009-2014 Chevrolet Silverado 2500
  • 2009-2014 Chevrolet Silverado 3500
  • 2007-2014 Chevrolet Suburban
  • 2007-2014 Chevrolet Tahoe
  • 2007-2013 GMC Sierra 1500
  • 2009-2014 GMC Sierra 2500
  • 2009-2014 GMC Sierra 3500
  • 2007-2014 GMC Yukon
  • 2007-2014 GMC Yukon XL

Recall summary  

The recalled vehicles were built with Takata airbag inflators that, due to damage from moisture, may explode when the airbags are deployed. If the inflator explodes, its metal casing can fragment into shrapnel that could fly into drivers’ and passengers’ bodies, possibly maiming or killing them. This December article explains in more depth why the U.S. government ordered General Motors to recall these vehicles

Repair

Recalled GM vehicles are divided into five priority groups, labeled priority group 6 through priority group 10. Owners of the vehicles in group 6 – whose cars are older and were sold or registered in the hottest parts of the country –  will be notified by mail when repair is available in early March. Consumers in groups 7-10 – that are considered lower risk – will be advised of the recall in late February, but it is not clear when the repair will be available.

However, consumers in both categories may be able to receive a repair earlier by contacting their dealer.

Use MotorSafety’s free vehicle lookup tool to see if your car is affected and to connect with an authorized dealership.

All repairs will be free of charge.

Risks

Exploding inflators pose a significant danger to vehicle occupants. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has confirmed that Takata inflators have killed at least 18 people in the U.S. and at least nine more abroad. 

You can find some broad recommendations for owners of affected cars – including a list of cars that should NOT be driven – in this article detailing the background of this GM recall.

Other GM airbag inflator recalls

In December, GM recalled Chevy Silverado 1500, 2500 and 3500 trucks, as well as GMC Sierra 2500, 1500 and 3500 pickups whose roof airbag inflators could shoot off an end cap, potentially injuring occupants or distracting them.

Is your vehicle part of this recall?

Nearly six million vehicles are included in this Takata / GM airbag recall. To see if your car is one of them, use MotorSafety’s free vehicle lookup tool.

Rebecca RandGeneral Motors begins government-ordered Takata airbag recall

General Motors vehicles recalled for potential fuel leaks

Warren, MI– December 10, 2020 – General Motors (NYSE:GM) has recalled 194,105 vehicles due to missing bolts on the start-stop accumulator end cap. The missing bolts may result in a transmission oil leak, a loss of vehicle power or an engine fire. This General Motors (GM) recall includes:

  • 2018-2019 Chevrolet Cruze sedans
  • 2018-2019 Buick LaCrosse sedans
  • 2018-2020 Chevrolet Equinox SUVs
  • 2018-2020 Chevrolet Traverse SUVs
  • 2018-2020 GMC Terrain SUVs
  • 2018 Chevrolet Malibu sedans
  • 2019-2020 Buick Encore SUVs
  • 2019-2020 Buick Enclave SUVs
  • 2019-2020 Cadillac XT4 SUVs
  • 2019-2020 Chevrolet Blazer SUVs
  • 2019-2020 GMC Acadia SUVs
  • 2020 Cadillac XT6 sedans

Recall summary  

Your vehicle’s transmission is designed to transfer engine power to the driveshaft. The start-stop accumulator shuts down the engine when it is not in use to achieve better fuel economy and cut down on emissions.

Each start-stop transmission accumulator is attached using four bolts. In the case of the recalled vehicles, due to a supplier software error, two of the required bolts are missing

Risks 

Missing bolts can create a number of issues:

  • Transmission oil leak: A leak may damage other engine parts, and driving the vehicle without the proper amount of oil or transmission fluid may damage the engine.
  • Loss of vehicle power: A loss of power may prevent the driver from accelerating into a busy road or onto a highway, increasing the risk of an accident. A power loss may also reduce the driver’s ability to speed up to avoid an accident. Finally, the vehicle may slow down on its own until it comes to a complete stop, increasing the risk of being struck by another vehicle coming up from behind.
  • Increased risk of fire: A fire can injure the vehicle occupants, or cause the driver to lose control and cause an accident. This article explains what you should do if you believe your vehicle is on fire.

The repair

To fix the issue, dealers will need to check the start-stop accumulator end cap and determine if any bolts are missing. If they are, the dealer will replace the end cap at no cost to the owner. GM expects the recall to begin on December 14, 2020.

Is your vehicle part of this recall?

This GM oil leak recall includes over 194,000 vehicles. To see if your car is one of them, use MotorSafety’s free vehicle lookup tool.

Ken BoydGeneral Motors vehicles recalled for potential fuel leaks

General Motors ordered to recall 5.9 million cars equipped with Takata airbags

Pleasanton, CA – December, 3 2020 – The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has ordered General Motors (NYSE:GM) to recall 5,888,421 pickup trucks and SUVs built with potentially dangerous Takata airbag inflators, which could explode and fling deadly shrapnel into vehicle occupants. The infamous airbag inflators have already killed 27 people and injured at least 250 more, and are part of the largest auto recall in history. The latest installment of the recall – which already encompasses 19 car manufacturers and “tens of millions” of cars – includes the following GM models on the GMT900 platform: 

  • 2007-2014 Cadillac Escalade ESV and EXT SUVs
  • 2007-2014 Chevrolet Avalanche pickups
  • 2007-2014 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 and 2500/3500 pickups
  • 2007-2014 Chevrolet Suburban SUVs
  • 2007-2014 Chevrolet Tahoe SUVs
  • 2007-2014 GMC Sierra 1500 and 2500/3500 pickups
  • 2007-2014 GMC Yukon XL SUVs

Recall summary

The recall concerns the vehicles’ passenger-side airbag inflators. The inflators use ammonium nitrate to generate a small explosion to inflate the airbags. If this volatile chemical is exposed to heat and humidity, it becomes porous. The extra surface area in this microscopic swiss-cheese allows the ammonium nitrate to burn faster, thus causing a much stronger explosion than intended. This explosion can blow up the inflator and send bits of shrapnel flying into vehicle occupants at high speeds, potentially maiming or killing them.

NHTSA first ordered GM to recall the affected cars in 2016. The company had recalled 330,198 vehicles on the GMT900 platform in May 2015, but argued that the rest of vehicles that are now being recalled should be excluded because the airbag defect was “inconsequential.” This argument was rejected by NHTSA on November 23. Despite disagreeing with the decision,  GM said it would not appeal.

‘Almost no data’ to back up claims

NHTSA consulted air-bag chemical expert Harold Blomquist regarding these findings, who rebutted GM’s many claims that unique design features could prevent their inflators from exploding. “GM expended little effort over the last two years to methodically study the claimed features in order to substantiate their effectiveness,” he said in his 75-page review of GM’s petition. As a result, Blomquist said, GM had “almost no data” to back up their claims that their Takata airbags were somehow less dangerous.

Previous Takata airbag recalls

Automakers have been issuing ever-expanding recalls of Takata airbags for seven years, with 100 million inflators recalled worldwide. Volkswagen, BMW and Honda all recalled cars this and past year because of the airbag issue.

Repair

GM will replace the Takata airbags with a different model, free of charge. More information about the recall schedule should be released by December 24. 

What to do if you own a recalled vehicle

NHTSA has issued a few broad recommendations for drivers in the Takata recall population:

  1. Don’t have your dealer disable your airbags. “It is much more likely that your airbag will perform properly and protect you in a crash than cause harm,” NHTSA says.
  2. “If you feel uncomfortable continuing to drive your vehicle before it is repaired, you should contact your dealer to see if they will provide a loaner until the repair is completed,” NHTSA says. Dealers and manufacturers aren’t required to provide loaners, but it can’t hurt to ask. 
  3. If you’re offered an interim repair, take it. Some automakers will offer to replace the old Takatas with newer ones, which are safer. “It is an inconvenience to have your vehicle serviced twice and to wait for a final repair,” NHTSA says, “But rejecting an interim replacement air bag is not worth the continued higher risk of injury or even death to you, your family, and your friends while waiting for the final repair.”

Some automakers have advised riders not to sit in the front passenger seat. 

Here is the list of vehicles that NHTSA says should NOT be driven.

Is your vehicle part of this recall?

Nearly 6 million vehicles are included in this GM Takata Airbag recall. Use MotorSafety’s free lookup tool to see if your vehicle is affected. 

Rebecca RandGeneral Motors ordered to recall 5.9 million cars equipped with Takata airbags

General Motors issues another round of recalls for brake assist system

Pleasanton, CA – November 25, 2020 – General Motors (NYSE:GM) has recalled 14,620 vehicles that operate with either 5.3L or 6.2L V8 engines. In each case, the  power of the mechanical vacuum pump  – which helps the engine with several key functions, including braking – may decrease. This may negatively affect the brake assist system. The recall includes:

  • 2018  Cadillac Escalade sedans
  • 2018 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 trucks
  • 2018 Chevrolet Tahoe SUVs
  • 2018 GMC Sierra 1500 trucks
  • 2018 GMC Yukon SUVs

Recall summary  

Among other functions, the mechanical vacuum pump provides power to the brake assist system. Due to a design error that was not addressed during a previous recall for the same issue last year, “the output” of the pump can drop over time, making the power brake assist system less effective.

There are several factors that alert the driver to the brake assist issue:

  • The brake pedal may vibrate when the driver applies the brakes
  • Braking requires more effort
  • A ticking sound is emitted from the engine compartment when the brakes are applied
  • The driver may see a “Service Brake” message pop up on the dash

Risks 

If the brake assist is not operating correctly, the driver must press on the brake pedal with more effort and depress it further to be able to stop the vehicle.

This change in braking ability increases the risk of a crash. Drivers may not be able to brake quickly enough to slow or stop the vehicle. GM notes that the problem is more apparent at low speeds when a driver applies soft pressure to the brakes.

The repair

To fix the issue, dealers will need to inspect the Electronic Brake Control Module and reprogram the system. The recall free of charge and began on November 16.

Is your vehicle part of this recall?

Over 14,000 vehicles are included in this General Motors recall. To see if your car is one of them, use MotorSafety’s free vehicle lookup tool.

Ken BoydGeneral Motors issues another round of recalls for brake assist system

General Motors recalls SUVs for blocked fuel pump nozzle

Laguna Hills, CA – November 16, 2020 – General Motors (GM) (NYSE: GM) has recalled 2,781 midsize SUVs which may have a blocked fuel pump nozzle that could stall the vehicle. The recall includes:

  • 2020 Buick Enclave
  • 2020 Cadillac XT5 and Cadillac XT6
  • 2020 Chevrolet Traverse
  • 2020 GMC Acadia

and concerns the fuel tank pump module (MODULE – F/TNK F/PMP, #84702674).

Recall summary  

The issue stems from the fuel pump, which supplies the vehicle’s engine with the gasoline it needs to run. A tube inside the fuel pump may be blocked by burrs left over from the manufacturing process. This could keep fuel from getting to the engine, particularly if the gas tank is already running low. If the engine is starved of fuel, the car could unexpectedly stall while driving.

Risks

A car that stalls in moving traffic, especially at high speeds, can get hit from behind as other drivers may not have enough time to react. Even if the driver safely gets to the shoulder, they are still at risk of being hit. This raises the risk of injuries or death for everyone involved.

For information on what to do if your car stalls, please see this article.

The repair

Owners will be notified about the recall by mail starting on November 30. GM will replace the fuel pump module for free, but this service is not yet available. In the meantime, owners who are not comfortable driving their recalled car may be eligible for courtesy transportation through their vehicle’s warranty.

Is your vehicle part of this recall?

Over 2,700 vehicles are part of this GM recall. To see if your car is one of them, use MotorSafety’s free vehicle lookup tool.

Rebecca RandGeneral Motors recalls SUVs for blocked fuel pump nozzle

General Motors recalls vehicles for contaminated brake booster

Pleasanton, CA – Sept 24, 2020 – General Motors (GM) (NYSE: GM) has recalled 6 different vehicle models which may have a contaminated component in the braking system. This contamination could disrupt sensor communications to the brake booster, making it harder to stop the vehicle and increasing the risk of a crash. The recall includes:

  • 2020-2021 Buick Encore GX subcompact SUVs
  • 2020 Cadillac CT4 and CT5 luxury sedans
  • 2020 Cadillac XT4 compact SUVs
  • 2020 Chevrolet Corvettes
  • 2021 Chevrolet Trailblazer crossovers

Recall summary  

The recall concerns the brake-by-wire system, which uses an electronic brake booster to help stop the car quickly without depending on how hard the driver presses the brake pedal. 

In June, GM launched an investigation after receiving multiple complaints about the strength of the brakes. They discovered that, due to a factory cleaning issue, the connector between the rotor position sensor and the electronic brake control module had been contaminated.

This contamination can disrupt communication between the two parts and disable the electronic brake booster.

Safety tips

Drivers with a failing brake booster may notice that their brakes are difficult to press. They may also notice an increase in the car’s stopping distance. 

Own one of these affected vehicles? It may be wise to keep an eye on the instrument panel, which will display a warning message if the brake booster fails. If this happens, keep the increased stopping distance in mind as you drive.

The repair

Dealers will replace the vehicles electronic brake control module for free. However, this repair is not yet available, as GM is still working on sourcing enough replacement brake boost modules. The company will notify owners when the repair becomes available.

Is your vehicle part of this recall?

Over 3,000 vehicles are part of this GM recall. To see if your car is one of them, use MotorSafety’s free vehicle lookup tool.

Rebecca RandGeneral Motors recalls vehicles for contaminated brake booster

General Motors trucks recalled for a software error

Laguna Hills, CA – Dec. 20, 2019 – General Motors LLC is recalling certain 2019 Chevrolet Silverado 1500, Cadillac CT6, and GMC Sierra 1500 vehicles. The Electronic Brake Control Module (EBCM) may have a software error that could disable the Electronic Stability Control (ESC) and Antilock Brake System (ABS).

The potential number of vehicles affected is estimated at 463,995.

The Defect

The affected vehicles have a software defect in the EBCM that will disable the ESC and ABS for a single ignition cycle. In situations where the ABS and ESC are disabled, the vehicle diagnostic’s telltale lamps won’t light up, leaving the driver unaware of the problem. Driving without knowledge of a defective ABS or ESC may increase the risk of a crash. In addition, the lack of warning of a defect puts the vehicles out of compliance with S5.3 of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 126 and S5.1 of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 135.

According to General Motors, an estimated one percent of the total vehicles for each model are affected.

Timeline of Events

On November 15, 2019, General Motors’ EBCM supplier, ZF TRW, informed the company that they had found a software error while investigating a related product. On December 5, 2019, General Motors’ Safety and Field Decision Authority decided to call for a noncompliance recall.

The Solution

General Motors will provide dealers with a list of affected vehicles through GM GlobalConnect Recall Reports. General Motors dealers are expected to reflash all affected EBCMs, updating the software and correcting the problem. Moving forward, the software error has been corrected for the 2020 model year.

Because all affected vehicles are the current model and under warranty, General Motors will not have to provide reimbursements. Owners can check to see if their vehicle is being recalled by searching their VIN number at www.vinrcl.safercar.gov/vin/. In some cases, courtesy transportation may be provided to affected drivers. Dealers will be notified of the recall December 12, 2019. GM will begin notifying individual owners January 27, 2020.

For more information on this or other recalls past or present, visit MotorSafety.org.

Sean ReyesGeneral Motors trucks recalled for a software error