Laguna Hills, CA – Sep. 23, 2019 – In April of this year, General Motors announced a recall on certain 2017-2019 Chevrolet Trax vehicles, due to the possibility that a joint in one or both of the front lower-control arms had been welded in an improper position. GM recently decided to expand the scope of that recall, as a result of further investigations, so that it now applies to include other Chevrolet Trax vehicles that were built in the period between July 1, 2015 and June 30, 2017.
At the request of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, GM is handling the recall as a new field action. However, in practical terms, it counts as a “population extension”—the defect remains the same as the one listed in the prior recall, with no significant differences.
The defect is now known to exist in certain 2015-2018 model year Chevrolet Trax vehicles. GM estimates that 93,639 such vehicles have the potential to contain the defect, and that roughly 50 percent among that number do indeed contain it.
“In some of these vehicles, a joint in one or both front lower-control arms may have been improperly welded,” state details in documents filed by GM with the NHTSA. “Over time and in rare cases, an improperly welded joint can fatigue and break, causing the lower-control arm to partially separate from the vehicle”.
If the lower-control arm does separate from the vehicle, then the front wheel attached to the arm will toe outward, adversely affecting steering and increasing the possibility of a crash.
According to the GM documents, the defect was caused because “the component surfacer that is welded to the bushing housing did not conform to applicable design specifications, and as a consequence, was not properly welded to the bushing housing.”
The manufacturer is not yet aware of any vehicle crashes that are attributable to the defect, but notes that if the lower-control arm were to partially separate, the driver may hear a loud noise, and feel the tire begin to rub against the wheel well.
Timeline of Events
The initial recall, which applied to certain 2017-2019 model year Chevrolet Trax vehicles, was announced in April 2019. At the time of that recall, GM was not aware of any claims relating to the defect in question within vehicles built prior to July 2017.
However, in September 2019, GM’s Safety and Field Action Decision Authority reviewed an analysis of field claims generated following the April recall, which found instances of the defect (some confirmed and some unconfirmed) in vehicles built as early as July 2015. Based on that data, the decision was made to create a new recall that applies to a larger range of Chevrolet Trax vehicles.
The repair for the defect is currently available, and will be done at no cost to the customer. Customers who own a vehicle potentially containing the defect will be notified by mail by GM. Dealers will inspect the left and right front lower-control arms, and, if necessary, replace them free of charge.
There are other methods by which drivers can check if their vehicle is involved in the recall: For example, they may enter their Vehicle Identification Number at the GM Owner Center website or at the NHTSA website in order to find out whether or not their automobile might be affected by the recall.
GM notes that they corrected the potential for the defect by implementing new actions at their supplier in April 2019, such as amending the specifications for the welding, and introducing standardized inspections before and after the weld operation.
For more information on this or other vehicle recalls past or present, visit MotorSafety.org.