GM recalls SUVs with defective drive shafts


Warren, Mich. – Aug. 31, 2017 – General Motors has recalled a number of sport utility vehicles believed to be equipped with defective drive shafts, according to documentation filed with the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration. The campaign affects 2017-2018 GMC Arcadia, 2018 GMC Terrain and 2018 Chevrolet Equinox models. The automaker estimates that 3 percent of the vehicles have problematic drive shafts.

The Defect

Models referenced in the recall could contain front right intermediate drive shaft assemblies prone to fracture and separation. Engineers have traced the issue to the parts manufacturer Nexteer, which failed to use properly calibrated ultrasonic scanning equipment when performing quality checks.

The defect poses a serious safety hazard to occupants, as vehicles with damaged drive shafts may lose power during operation or roll away when stopped without the parking brake engaged. However, GM has yet to receive reports of accidents or injuries connected to the defect.

Timeline of Events

On July 20, 2017, engineers at the GM assembly facility in San Luis Petosi, Mexico, came across a newly manufactured GMC Terrain sport utility vehicle with a separated right intermediate drive shaft. Quality assurance reviewed the part and confirmed, via Nexteer records, that it had passed end-of-line inspection before being shipped to the assembly site. From July 21-27, engineers at the plant discovered three additional fractured drive shafts, all of which had also passed the final quality check at Nexteer. On July 28, officials at the San Luis Petosi plant filed a report via GM’s “Speak Up for Safety” program.

Nexteer analyzed its records and discovered that drive shaft assemblies produced between June 13 and July 21 were scanned with improperly calibrated ultrasonic scanning equipment. The parts provider confirmed that drive shafts from this batch had been shipped to four separate GM plants, including the San Luis Petosi facility. GM then initiated quarantine programs at these sites. On Aug. 1, Nexteer delivered properly calibrated ultrasonic scanners to the GM assembly facilities, where all vehicle drive shafts were scanned.

GM opened an investigation into the matter Aug. 4., and concluded the inquiry Aug. 14. On Aug. 15, the GM Safety Field Action Decision Authority called for a voluntary safety recall. The car manufacturer notified dealers Aug. 22.

The Solution

GM has asked dealers to replace the front right intermediate drive shafts in affected vehicles free of charge, according to a document submitted to the NHTSA. The company has yet to release a timetable for notifying owners. However, those in need of immediate assistance can call Chevrolet and GMC customer service representatives at (800) 222-1020 and (800) 462-8782. They can also call the NHTSA Vehicle Safety Hotline at (888) 327-4236.

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