General Motors Recalls Various Vehicles Due to Vacuum Pump

December 2, 2021 Update – GM has remedied 2,588,566 vehicles with the issue of vacuum pump issues in the 2018 GMC Yukon among others.  GM has deemed 21,474 vehicles including the 2018 Chevrolet Silverado unreachable with an additional 207 vehicles being removed from the vacuum pump recall.

Laguna Hills, CA – September 17, 2019 – The possibility that vacuum pumps in various General Motors vehicles may vary in performance has caused the company to conduct a recall of General Motors vehicles due to vacuum pump issues.

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

Ultimately, this leads to a greater chance of an accident and adds to other risks that Chevrolet vehicles have presented during collision events.

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 a 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 the additional investigation into the subject by the NHTSA, which prompted yet another internal inquiry on the part of the manufacturer.

This final study concluded on 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.

As with the potentially dangerous Takata airbag issue reported in early 2021, drivers with a vehicle involved in the recall will be notified by mail. There will be no cost to vehicle owners for repair or repair. Check your car’s recall status using MotorSafety’s free vehicle recall lookup tool.

Sean ReyesGeneral Motors Recalls Various Vehicles Due to Vacuum Pump