The Basics: General Motors is recalling more than 4 million vehicles, most of them in the U.S., to fix an air bag software defect linked to one death and three injuries. Recalled vehicles are from the 2014 to 2017 model years and include models from Buick, Chevrolet, GMC and Cadillac.
The Issue: In rare cases, the car’s sensing and diagnostic module — a tiny computer that senses what the vehicle is doing and controls air bag deployment — can go into test mode, the company said. If that happens, the front air bags won’t inflate in a crash. The seat belts may not work either.
The company discovered the problem in May when a 2014 Chevrolet Silverado crashed and its air bags didn’t deploy. GM notified Delphi. The two companies tested the modules and decided to recall the vehicles last week.
The Fix: GM will notify customers and update the software for free. Dealers already have access to the software update so they should be able to repair the vehicles quickly.
Notes: This is unrelated to the ongoing record recall of air bags made by Japanese supplier Takata that now affects more than 20 million vehicles from more than a dozen manufacturers. These air bag modules were supplied by Delphi Automotive and made at a plant in Kokomo, Ind., according to NHTSA documents.
- 2014-2016 Buick LaCrosse, Chevrolet SS, Chevrolet Spark EV
- 2014-2017 Buick Encore, GMC Sierra 1500, Chevrolet Corvette, Chevrolet Trax, Chevrolet Caprice police car and Chevrolet Silverado 1500
- 2015-2017 Chevrolet Tahoe, Chevrolet Suburban, Chevrolet Silverado HD, GMC Yukon, GMC Yukon XL, GMC Sierra HD, Cadillac Escalade and Cadillac Escalade ESV.
The Issue: The vehicles are outfitted with an ABS actuator pump that may allow brake fluid to leak onto an internal circuit board, which could increase the chance of an electrical short and fire. The problematic ABS actuators, supplied by Advics, were built with a seal that falls short of hardness specifications. The issue has been traced to inappropriate die temperature controls during manufacturing.
Notes: An ABS warning light alerts drivers to potential failure. In one case involving a 2016 Maxima, the warning lamp illuminated before the ABS actuator caught fire.
The Fix: Service technicians will inspect the ABS actuator serial number and replace the module if it falls within the affected range.
The Basics: A Ford recall involving faulty door latches is getting bigger. The automaker is adding another 1.5 million vehicles to an original recall at the request of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The expansion involves the 2013-15 Ford C-Max and Ford Escape, 2012-15 Ford Focus, 2015 Ford Mustang and Lincoln MKC and 2014-16 Ford Transit Connect models. (A previous recall covered those same vehicles.)
The Issue: The vehicles have doors than can swing open while they’re in motion because of side-door latches that can break. The automaker reports one accident and three injuries.
The original recall in August involved 830,000 vehicles.
Notes: The expanded recall will cost Ford $640 million, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Ford says the charge would appear in its third-quarter financial results, and would result in the company’s full-year pre-tax profit margin being lowered $10.2 billion. Previous estimates called for the Dearborn company to match or exceed its 2015 profit margin of $10.8 billion.
The Fix: Ford dealers will replace the side-door latches at no cost. Customers should visit www.ford.com for more info and click on safety recalls.