Warren, Mich. – Aug. 15, 2017 – General Motors has recalled nearly 700,000 vehicles suspected of containing faulty electronic power steering software, according to documents filed with the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration. The campaign affects 2014 Chevrolet Silverado LD pickup trucks manufactured between Jan. 30, 2013 and Sept. 4, 2014, as well as 2014 GMC Sierra LD pickups with production dates ranging from Jan. 29, 2013 to Sept. 4, 2014. GM estimates that 2 percent of the vehicles named in the recall contain the defective EPS software.
Vehicles referenced in the recall could potentially contain EPS software prone to sudden shutoff during low-voltage maneuvers such as low-speed turns. The software normally fails within a one-second span, when system voltage measurements drop below 8.8 volts. With the EPS disabled, operators have difficulty navigating the vehicle. This poses a serious safety risk to owners, passengers and other drivers. However, GM has yet to receive any field reports connecting the defective software to any accidents or injuries.
Timeline of Events
On Feb. 2, 2017 GM opened an internal investigation into EPS software installed in some vehicles after receiving multiple customer complaints and vehicle owner’s questionnaires mentioning momentary loss of EPS function. Throughout February and April, the automaker reviewed the collected customer complaints, warranty claims and VOQs to determine if the vehicles referenced in these reports shared similar mechanical features. GM did indeed find technical links between the models and launched an extended field investigation to gather more data, eventually discovering that faulty software was the root cause of the EPS failures.
Over the course of April and May, GM engineers conducted internal tests at the company’s testing facility in Milford, Michigan in an effort to recreate the and evaluate the EPS problem. The automaker was able to gain a deeper understanding of the defective software and its impact on driveability. Engineers discovered that the EPS software stalled in particularly low-voltage situations and required at least 9 volts of electricity to maintain proper operations.
In June, the GM Open Investigation Review re-evaluated the original reports collected in February. On June 22, the car company’s Safety Field Action Decision Authority announced that an official safety recall was necessary. GM notified dealers of the campaign Aug. 7, according to internal documentation submitted to the NHTSA.
The automaker has ordered dealers to update the EPS software in affected models with a new iteration released May 19. The repairs are to be administered free of charge. GM plans to notify owners via first-class mail beginning Aug. 15. Those in need of more immediate assistance can contact GM customer service at (800) 462-8782 or the NHTSA Vehicle Safety Hotline at (888) 327-4236.