Laguna Hills, CA – Sept. 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 certain 2014-2018 model year Cadillac Escalade, Chevrolet Silverado, Chevrolet Suburban, Chevrolet Tahoe, GMC Sierra, and GMC Yukon vehicles.”
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 Aug. 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.
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 ultimately be notified by mail, but they can check if they are affected in advance by entering their Vehicle Identification Number at the GM Owner Center website, or checking the NHTSA’s website. Additionally, drivers may call the customer service line associated with the make and model of their automobile to find out if their vehicle is affected. There will be no cost to vehicle owners for the repair or remedy.
For more information on this recall or others involving General Motors, visit MotorSafety.org.