Issues with Engine Control Modules Leads GM to Announce Malibu Recall

Laguna Hills, CA – September 19, 2019 – Complications with 1.5L turbo engines has caused the fuel injectors on some 2018 Chevrolet Malibu vehicles to become disabled, leading the car manufacturer to announce a recall for that particular make and model.

Because of the issues, the car engine may be prevented from starting, or drivers could experience stalls, therefore increasing the possibility of collision.

Unfortunately, the updated software designed to fix the defect has not yet been completed—but once it is available, dealers will reprogram the engine control module (ECM) on affected vehicles to prevent the error from occurring.

The defect

According to documents filed by General Motors, the defect applying to the 1.5L turbo engines could potentially affect more than 175,000 vehicles, with the manufacturer estimating that roughly 1 percent of those automobiles contain the defect.

“Under certain conditions, an error in the vehicles’ ECM software can cause data used by the ECM to become corrupted,” stated the description of the defect in GM’s safety recall paperwork, “When this occurs, the ECM may send a signal disabling the engine’s fuel injectors.

If the fuel injectors are disabled, the engine may not start and, in rare cases, the engine may stall after it is started.” This means the vehicle may stall at speed, which would significantly increase the possibility of collision.

However, other makes and models of the Malibu should not contain the defect, as they run off different ECM software.

Finally, to aid drivers in taking necessary precautions, GM has advised that vehicles with this defect may see their check-engine light illuminate if the error arises.

Timeline of events

GM informed the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration of the vehicle recall in a letter dated September 10, 2019.

According to that letter and other documents regarding the defect, GM first became aware of the error in May 2019, when it came to the company’s attention as a result of higher-than-usual warranty rates for ECM replacements in 2018 Malibu vehicles.

The warranty claims illustrated to GM the risks associated with the defect —that engines may fail to start in the first place, or, more dangerously, may stall while the vehicle is moving at speed.

In collaboration with the supplier of the ECMs, Continental Automotive Systems, the manufacturer discovered notable differences between the software used in 2018 and 2019 models of the vehicle, and soon afterwards discovered a defect in the 2018 software which has the potential to disable the engine’s fuel injectors. 

The solution

The software update that corrects the ECM issue will be done by dealers at no charge to owners of the automobile. However, that software update is not yet complete, meaning the recall notices will have to wait until the fix is completely prepared.

The bulletin will only be posted once the software update has been completed, at which point drivers who own the vehicle will be able to bring it to their local dealership for the aforementioned fix.

Also, vehicle owners directly affected by the recall will be notified by mail. Dealers themselves were notified of the problem in early September, and more information is sure to follow in the coming weeks and months.

To find out if your vehicle is part of this recall, use MotorSafety.org’s free look-up tool.

Sean ReyesIssues with Engine Control Modules Leads GM to Announce Malibu Recall

General Motors Recalls Various Vehicles Due to Vacuum Pump

Laguna Hills, CA – September 17, 2019 – The possibility that vacuum pumps on various General Motors vehicles may fluctuate in performance over time has caused the company to conduct a vehicle recall.

According to the “Frequently Asked Questions” document provided by the manufacturer, General Motors has decided that a defect, which relates to motor vehicle safety exists in the following vehicles:

  • 2014 – 2018 Cadillac Escalade
  • 2014 – 2018 Chevrolet Silverado
  • 2014 – 2018 Chevrolet Suburban
  • 2014 – 2018 Chevrolet Tahoe
  • 2014 – 2018 GMC Sierra
  • 2014 – 2018 GMC Yukon

The defect

Within the vehicles that contain this defect, the engine-mounted mechanical vacuum pump output may decrease over time, diminishing the power brake assist and therefore increasing the distance required to stop the vehicle.

This ultimately leads to an increased possibility of crash or collision.

According to documents filed with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the number of vehicles that potentially contain the defect is greater than 3,450,000, with GM estimating that 2 percent of the autos in that total are almost certainly affected by this issue.

The following vehicles make up the group possibly saddled with the vacuum pump problem:

  • Cadillac Escalade 2015 – 2017
  • Chevrolet Silverado 1500 2014 – 2018
  • Chevrolet Suburban 2015 – 2018
  • Chevrolet Tahoe 2015 – 2018
  • GMC Sierra 1500 2014 – 2018
  • GMC Yukon 2015 – 2018

There are certain symptoms that drivers may experience if their car is among those affected by the vacuum pump defect. For instance, they may feel vibration in the brake pedal, or experience a change in the amount of pressure required to depress the brake.

Other possible signs of the problem include a ticking noise coming from within the engine compartment and unintentional activation of the secondary hydraulic brake assist system, according to GM.

Finally, the manufacturer noted that if the vacuum level drops to a level below 10 kPA, a “Service Brake Assist” message will appear in the Driver Information Center within five minutes.

GM has determined that while the defect may potentially increase the possibility of collision, all of these vehicles are otherwise safe to drive before undergoing repair of the vacuum pump.

Timeline of events

According to a chronology provided by GM, the NHTSA opened a preliminary investigation into the subject in November 2018, at which point the manufacturer also began an internal investigation of the same issue.

In December, after reviewing the results of both investigations, GM’s Safety & Field Action Decision Authority decided to extend the warranty on vacuum pumps for all the vehicles listed above.

Then, in July 2019, GM received results of additional investigation into the subject by the NHTSA, which prompted yet another internal inquiry on the part of the manufacturer.

This final study concluded August 29, 2019, when GM decided to conduct an official recall on the automobiles to provide them with new software calibration.

Dealers were notified of the recall in early September 2019, with GM planning to send direct notifications to affected drivers in the near future.

The solution

Vehicles that contain the defect can be brought to a local dealership, where the dealer will reprogram the electronic brake control module with a new calibration that corrects the problem, should the vacuum assist become depleted.

Drivers who own a vehicle involved in the recall will be notified by mail. There will be no cost to vehicle owners for the repair or remedy.

Check your car’s recall status using MotorSafety’s free vehicle lookup tool.

Sean ReyesGeneral Motors Recalls Various Vehicles Due to Vacuum Pump

Glass Mix–Up Prompts Recall of GM Vans

Laguna Hills, CA – June 7, 2019 – Over a thousand Chevrolet Express and GMC Savana vehicles with model years 2016 to 2019 produced by General Motors LLC, are due to be recalled as a result of the possible wrong installation of tempered glass in the automobiles’ rear windows.

The vans were meant to be installed with laminated glass, which tend to be more resistant to shattering, but instead feature tempered glass. In the event of a serious accident – such as a rollover – the tendency of tempered glass to explode increases the risk of injury.

GM intends to send out advisories to owners of these vehicles, urging them to take the automobiles to their nearest GM dealer for a free repair. It’s unclear as of yet when those notifications will begin.

The defect

According to documentation filed with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, General Motors is recalling an estimated 1,159 Chevrolet Express and GMC Savana vans, whose model years range between 2016 and 2019.

An internal investigation determined that some of these automobiles may have been installed with tempered glass, described as such because they’re reinforced with heat to strengthen their resilience.

While tempered glass has more safety properties than standard glass, laminated glass – the type the vehicles are meant to have – has an extra layer of vinyl, which enables the glass to hold its shape more effectively in the event of a crash.

This also helps prevent the potential of ejection from the vehicle should motorists not have their seat belts on during an accident.

Because the vehicles in question do not comply with Number 226 of the government’s Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard, which relates to ejection mitigation, GM has decided to pull the 1,150+ vans from the marketplace so that tempered glass can be swapped out with laminated where necessary.

Timeline of events

The flaw in question came to the attention of General Motors March 18 of this year, when an engineer for the company happened to notice that both a Chevrolet Express and GMC Savana had rear-quarter windows installed with tempered glass instead of the correct laminated type.

The engineer made the company aware of the flaw through its Speak Up For Safety, which was formally launched in 2014 and serves as a “see something say something” outlet for GM employees when something is amiss.

A formal investigation was launched roughly a week after the engineer first spotted the flaw, and concluded May 13.

GM’s Field Action Decision Authority determined that, as a result of the findings, some of the cars in question may indeed fail to comply with the ejection mitigation rule established by NHTSA and recommended a recall.

The solution

Although GM has not yet determined when notifications will be distributed, it intends to inform owners of 2016 – 2019 Chevrolet Express and GMC Savana to bring their automobiles back to any GM dealer so the proper glass can be installed. The fix will come at no charge to owners.

To find out if your vehicle is part of this recall, use MotorSafety.org’s free look-up tool.

The recall number is N192218960.

Sean ReyesGlass Mix–Up Prompts Recall of GM Vans

GM Recalls 2017 – 2019 Chevrolet Trax Vehicles for Steering Issues

Laguna Hills, CA – April 26, 2019 – General Motors is recalling certain 2017 – 2019 Chevrolet Trax vehicles. Improper welding of a joint in one or both of the front lower-control arms may result in the detachment of the arm from the vehicle.

This could potentially cause the front wheel to toe outward, impacting the vehicle’s steering and handling and leading to a greater chance of crash. As many as 112,958 vehicles may be affected.

The defect

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration report on this problem, an improperly welded joint in one or both of the front lower-control arms could fatigue and break, resulting in the vehicle’s lower control arm partially separating from the vehicle.

If this were to happen, the front wheel attached to the control arm would toe outward, adversely affecting the vehicle’s steering and potentially causing the tire to rub against the wheel well, increasing the risk of a crash.

Timeline of events

A GM dealer filed a field product report November 14, 2018 concerning a left front-control arm that partially separated from a 2018 Chevrolet Trax.

Based on a visual inspection of photos of the failed control arm, GM found that the weld connecting the arm to the bushing did not match design specifications. I

In response, GM’s supplier originally stated that the welds on the failed component part and other control arms produced at its facility conformed to design specs.

Following a formal product investigation on January 31, 2019, GM’s supplier confirmed on February 28 that the welds on the failed part did not comply with the applicable design specifications.

The welds were improperly modified because the lower-control arm stampings failed not match specs.

From March through April, the automaker worked with its supplier to identify affected vehicles that may have been manufactured with the defective part and to assess the condition’s impact on vehicle performance.

GM engineers at the Milford Proving Grounds conducted drivability testing April 12 on a Chevrolet Trax vehicle with a front lower-control arm that was cut at the affected weld.

GM’s Safety and Field Action Decision Authority consequently decided April 15 to conduct a safety recall. As of that date, only two warranty claims relating to this condition had been reported for cars sold in the U.S., with no evidence of any crashes.   

The solution

GM has not yet provided a notification schedule for the recall. The automaker will notify owners, and dealers will inspect the left and right front lower-control arms, replacing them as necessary, free of charge.

The NHTSA Campaign Number for this recall is 19V312000.

To find out if your vehicle is part of this recall, use MotorSafety.org’s free look-up tool.

Sean ReyesGM Recalls 2017 – 2019 Chevrolet Trax Vehicles for Steering Issues

GM Recalls 2016 – 2018 Cadillac CTS and ATS, Chevy Camaro and Corvette for Power Steering Issue

Laguna Hills, CA – March 28, 2019 – General Motors is recalling certain 2016 – 2018 Cadillac CTS and 2017 Cadillac ATS, Chevrolet Camaro and Chevrolet Corvette vehicles because the power steering assist system may fail, increasing the risk of a crash. As many as 26,772 vehicles may be affected.

The defect

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration report on this problem, the affected vehicles may experience a loss of electric power steering assist while driving. This would demand more effort in steering, especially at lower speeds, with a potentially greater risk of a crash.

Timeline of events

GM launched an investigation September 18, 2018 into loss of power steering assist in the 2017 Chevrolet Camaro.

Between September 19 and late October, GM’s safety investigator, with help from engineering experts, analyzed vehicle owner questionnaires, customer complaints, legal claims, and warranty data to assess the number of cases in the field and to identify common root causes.

An intermittent electrical loss within the torque-sensor printed circuit board was found in about 80 percent of the cases reviewed. The same issue was found in two Corvette steering gear assemblies. GM then expanded its investigation, discovering that the Cadillac CTS and ATS were also at risk.

Between November and mid-December, field analysis revealed spikes in warranty rates between June and September 2016, and a three-day window in February 2017.

Between mid-December and late January 2019, GM worked with its supplier to identify the problematic circuit boards and VIN numbers of affected vehicles.

Following an open investigation review, GM’s Safety Field Action Decision Authority decided  January 31 to conduct a safety recall.

The solution

The recall will begin March 2019. GM will notify owners, and dealers will replace the power steering gear assembly, free of charge. Owners will receive a second notice when the remedy becomes available. GM’s number for this recall is N182182760.

Check your car’s recall status using MotorSafety’s free vehicle lookup tool.

Sean ReyesGM Recalls 2016 – 2018 Cadillac CTS and ATS, Chevy Camaro and Corvette for Power Steering Issue

GM Recalls GMC Sierra 3500 And Chevrolet Silverado 3500 Trucks for Fueling Issue

Laguna Hills, CA – March 27, 2019 – General Motors is recalling certain 2016 – 2018 GMC Sierra 3500 and Chevrolet Silverado 3500 pickup trucks equipped with gasoline engines and dual fuel tanks.

If the fuel level sensor in the front tank becomes stuck in a low-level position, the fuel transfer pump may continue to pump fuel from the rear tank to the front tank even after it is full, causing an overpressure condition in the front tank. As many as 18,574 vehicles may be affected.

The defect

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration report on this problem, the fuel level sensor in the front tank may stick in a low-level position, allowing the rear tank to overfill the front tank.

In rare circumstances, the front fuel tank could expand and contact a moving drive shaft, which could create a hole in the front fuel tank and allow fuel to leak.

If this happens in the presence of an ignition source, a fire could occur. Customers may hear a grinding or knocking noise if the over pressurized front fuel tank contacts the moving drive shaft.

Timeline of events

GM originally recalled certain 2011 – 15 heavy duty trucks equipped with gas engines and dual fuel tanks for the same issue starting October 12, 2017.

Although the automaker saw no indications at that time that the condition existed in similar trucks built after 2015, it began to monitor field data for later model years. GM conducted an initial review April 16, 2018 and a subsequent review October 28.

GM’s Open Investigation Review board looked at potentially relevant new field reports identified through the monitoring process November 28 and decided to open an investigation into applicable 2016 – 2018 trucks.

The investigator reviewed the new field data with GM’s subject matter experts.

It was found that the problem may be present in vehicles built before the carmaker began using a new low pressure fuel pump in October 2017, but there was no evidence that the condition existed in vehicles equipped with the new fuel pump.

As with the previous recall, the issue was limited to heavy duty trucks with gas engines and the dual-tank option, and the only trucks produced with those options were the 3500 series chassis-cab vehicles.

The Open Investigation Review board reviewed the results of the investigation on January 28, 2019.

As a result, GM’s Safety & Field Action Decision Authority decided on January 31 to launch a safety recall for heavy duty trucks built between 2016 and 2018, before GM began using the new low-pressure fuel pump.

The solution

The recall began March 5, 2019 when owners were sent an interim notification. A second notification will be issued when the remedy becomes available. Dealers will replace the rear tank fuel pump module free of charge.

Dealers will also inspect the front tank and replace if necessary. Courtesy transportation is available for customers whose vehicles are involved in this recall and are within the warranty coverage period. GM’s number for this recall is N182204190.

The NHTSA Campaign Number for this recall is 19V088000.

To check if your vehicle is part of this recall, use MotorSafety.org’s free look-up tool.

Sean ReyesGM Recalls GMC Sierra 3500 And Chevrolet Silverado 3500 Trucks for Fueling Issue

GM Recalls More Than 1,000 Chevy Malibus for Air Bag Defects

Detroit – January 31, 2019 – General Motors is recalling certain 2010 – 2011 Chevrolet Malibu vehicles, due to a potentially dangerous air bag defect. Up to 1,145 units may be affected by this issue.

The defect

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Safety Report, in the event of a crash necessitating deployment of the driver frontal air bag, the air bag inflator in these cars may explode due to being over pressurized.

If the inflator explodes, sharp metal fragments may strike the driver or other occupants, resulting in serious injury or death.

Timeline of events

On November 30, 2017, an attorney contacted GM and claimed that on September 22, 2017, the front-driver air bag inflator in a 2011 Chevrolet Malibu ruptured during a crash-related deployment and injured his client.

GM reported the allegation to NHTSA on December 6 of the same year in accordance with Standing General Orders 2015-01 and 2015-02.

Between November 30, 2017 and December 13, 2018, GM made multiple attempts to locate and inspect the vehicle to confirm whether or not a rupture had occurred.

A GM engineer was permitted to inspect the vehicle and components. Based on that examination, GM determined that the front-driver airbag inflator in the subject vehicle likely over pressurized and ruptured during deployment.

On December 19, 2018, GM presented the inspection photos and the other findings of its preliminary analysis to the NHTSA. On December 20, 2018, GM’s Safety Field Action Decision Authority (SFADA) decided to conduct a safety recall on the ARC inflators built in the suspect manufacturing lot.

At the time of the initial filing, GM was not aware of other rupture allegations involving this ARC inflator in GM vehicles.

The solution

GM has notified owners of these potentially problematic vehicles, and dealers will replace the front driver air bag module for free. Interim notices informing owners of the safety risk were mailed February 8, 2019.

Owners will receive a second notice when the remedy becomes available, which is expected to be in late March 2019. GM’s number for this recall is N182206630.

The NHTSA Campaign Number for this recall is 19V-019000.

To find out if your vehicle is part of this recall, use MotorSafety.org’s free look-up tool.

Sean ReyesGM Recalls More Than 1,000 Chevy Malibus for Air Bag Defects

GM Recalls More Than 150 Vehicles for Damaged Airbag Modules

Laguna Hills, CA – December 27, 2018 – General Motors LLC (GM) is recalling certain 2019 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Crew Cab and GMC Sierra 1500 Crew Cab vehicles due to potential issues with airbag modules. The potential number of units affected is 154.

The defect

According to the NHTSA notification, these vehicles have a retainer ring within the passenger-side airbag module that may have been damaged during the assembly process.

This damage could allow gas to escape during airbag inflation and deployment, which would reduce the amount of gas available to fill the airbag.

Since the passenger-side frontal air bag module in affected vehicles may have been damaged during assembly, possibly resulting in the air bag not inflating properly in the event of a crash, the risk of injury is significantly increased if a crash does occur.

Timeline of events

On December 6, 2018, the manufacturer notified GM of the issue. On December 17, 2018, General Motors LLC (GM) informed the NHTSA. On December 26, 2018, the recall began.

This recall is not connected to the widespread Takata airbag recall which has been ongoing, and affected certain Saab, Chevrolet, Pontiac, Saturn, and GMC models.

The solution

GM will notify owners, and dealers will replace the passenger side air bag module, free of charge. The recall began on December 26, 2018. GM’s number for this recall is N182198820.

Courtesy transportation is available for customers whose vehicles are involved in a product program and still within the warranty coverage period. The NHTSA Campaign Number for this recall is 18V-868.

To find out if your vehicle is part of this recall, use MotorSafety.org’s free look-up tool.

Sean ReyesGM Recalls More Than 150 Vehicles for Damaged Airbag Modules

GM Recalls Several Vehicles for Air Bag Deployment Issues

Laguna Hills, CA – November 27, 2018 – General Motors LLC (GM) is recalling certain 2019 Buick Encore, Chevrolet Spark, Traverse, and Trax vehicles due to a potential air bag deployment issue. The potential number of units affected is 12.

The defect

According to the NHTSA Recall Safety Report, in a small number of the listed vehicles, the sensing diagnostic module (SDM) may have been left in “manufacturing mode” and not activated at the assembly plant prior to shipment.

If the SDM is in manufacturing mode, the vehicle’s airbags will not deploy in a crash, increasing the risk of occupant injury. Most other functions controlled by the same module, such as seatbelt reminder, event data recording and post collision notification, will also be inactive.

Drivers may receive advance notice of this issue via the airbag/supplemental inflatable restraint malfunction indicator lamp on the instrument panel, which will illuminate and remain illuminated (solid or flashing) after the vehicle is turned on.

Timeline of events

On October 3, 2018, a vehicle in GM’s Bupyeong, Korea plant was discovered to have a flashing airbag warning light after passing validation testing.

GM subsequently started an investigation into the issue, which determined that the vehicle’s sensing and diagnostic module (SDM) was set to “manufacturing mode;” when in this setting, the SDM is unarmed and the supplemental inflatable restraints are disabled.

GM further determined that the condition’s root cause is an error in a software update to GM’s production process at certain plants.

When the module is originally programmed during vehicle assembly, GM sets it to manufacturing mode, which is designed to prevent accidental restraint and air bag deployment when the vehicle is in the assembly facility.

Once full assembly is complete, all GM vehicles are subjected to a series of quality tests called dynamic vehicle tests (DVT), and at the conclusion of this process, the vehicle’s sensing diagnostic module (SDMs) is activated, which arms the restraints.

The error which was discovered in the software update can prevent the SDM from being activated in some vehicles at the conclusion of DVT. Due to this error, which only affected 12 vehicles, on October 25, 2018, GM’s Safety Field Action Decision Authority (SFADA) decided to conduct a safety recall.

The solution

GM will notify owners, and dealers will reprogram the SDM module to the correct mode, free of charge. The recall began November 6, 2018.

Check your car’s recall status using MotorSafety’s free vehicle lookup tool.

Sean ReyesGM Recalls Several Vehicles for Air Bag Deployment Issues

GM Recalls Over One Million 2015 Vehicles Due to Faulty Steering Assist

Lilburn, Georgia – September 22, 2018 – General Motors has discovered a defect which relates to motor vehicle safety in the following vehicles:

  • 2015 Chevrolet Silverado LD
  • 2015 Suburban and Tahoe vehicles
  • 2015 GMC Sierra LD and Yukon vehicles
  • 2015 Cadillac Escalade

GM has issued a recall for over one million vehicles.

The defect

According to the NHTSA Safety Recall Report, the affected vehicles may experience a temporary loss of EPS assist, followed by a sudden return of EPS assist.

This is most likely to happen during low-speed turning maneuvers. The loss and sudden return of EPS assist typically occurs within a 1 second period. The steering malfunction is caused by an electrical/software issue.

The danger lies in the fact that if EPS assist is lost and suddenly returned, the driver could have difficulty steering the vehicle. The likelihood of a crash is increased, especially at low speeds.

Low speed turns can cause temporary low voltage conditions, and if system voltage drops below 8.8 volts for more than 1 second, EPS assist is disabled. When voltage returns to 9 volts for a minimum of 40 milliseconds, EPS assist returns.

If power steering assist is lost a driver information center message may alert the driver to an EPS problem, and other electrical sub-systems may shut down just prior to or at the same time as the EPS event.

This can cause disruption to operation of the radio, stabilitrack, the DIC, chimes, door-lock cycling, air conditioning, or cruise control.

Timeline of events

In late June 2018, an increase in field reports and customer complaints about EPS issues led GM to open a safety investigation into loss of EPS in the subject vehicles. 

GM’s safety investigator and engineering-analysis experts determined the loss-of-EPS issues was caused by the same electrical issue discovered in trucks that GM recalled in 2017. GM’s Safety Field Action Decision Authority subsequently chose to conduct a safety recall.

The solution

According to an NHTSA FAQ published for the recall, customers who own a vehicle involved in the field action will be notified by mail by General Motors, but the exact date the recall will begin is not yet set and the manufacture has not published a notification schedule.

Dealers will perform a reflash of the EPS module software. The inspection/repair will be done at no cost to the customer, and is available at Cadillac, Chevrolet and GMC dealers. Customers are strongly urged to repair their vehicle as soon as possible.

Courtesy transportation is available for customers whose vehicles are involved in the recall, and whose vehicles are still within the warranty coverage period for the warranty which is associated with the recall.

Check your car’s recall status using MotorSafety’s free vehicle lookup tool.

Sean ReyesGM Recalls Over One Million 2015 Vehicles Due to Faulty Steering Assist