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General Motors Issues 3 New Recalls Unrelated to Ignition Switch Problem

March 18, 2014

On Monday, General Motors Chief Executive Mary Barra declared that the company has changed the way it handles vehicle recalls after the ignition switch failure claimed 12 lives. As proof, she announced 3 new recalls, which affects over 1.5 million vehicles in the United States. The latest recalls are not related to the ignition switch problem.

This latest round of recalls amounts to twice the number of vehicles GM has recalled in the country in the past year. It affects 1.76 million units worldwide.

The affected GM vehicles are the following: 2009-2014 Chevrolet Express and GMC Savana (with gross vehicle weight under 10,000 pounds); 2013-2014 Cadillac XTS; and 2008-2013 Buick Enclave and GMC Acadia, 2009-2013 Chevrolet Traverse and 2008-2010 Saturn Outlook.

The problem with the Chevrolet Express and GMC Savana vans whose gross vehicle weight ratings are below 10,000 pounds is that they do not meet government requirements for protecting unrestrained occupants. Hence, in the event of a crash, passengers who are not wearing seatbelts are more likely to suffer serious injuries. To make the vehicle comply with U.S. crash standards, GM will rework the material used for the passenger-side instrument panel.

At present, the company does not have enough parts for all affected vehicles, which totals 303,000. All affected units that have yet to be sold will not be delivered until the problem is addressed.

As for the XTS, it is being recalled due to a problem with the brake booster pump. The pump can put pressure within the wiring harness connected to the pump relay, resulting in the loosening of a plug in the relay. When such plug is dislodged, corrosive elements may enter the connector and eventually cause a fire.

GM has claimed that it received two reports of the brake booster pump problem causing Cadillac XTS sedans to suffer from engine fires. In two other cases, overheating resulted in the melting of electrical components. The automaker will fix all 63,903 affected units by sealing the wiring harness plugs, reworking the vacuum hose, and if deemed necessary, replacing wiring harnesses.

As for the Enclave, Acadia, Traverse and Outlook, the defective part is the wiring crimp connectors in the airbag harnesses. All four aforementioned vehicles come with a Service Air Bag warning light in its driver information center. When these connectors become pinched, the light is switched on. Ignoring the light causes the non-deployment of side impact restraints, including the following: seat belt pretensioners, driver and passenger-seat mounted side air bags, and if equipped, the front center air bag.

GM will inspect the wiring harnesses of the affected crossovers and make the connections more secure. 1.18 million units have the defective wiring crimp connectors.

“Today’s announcement underscores the focus we’re putting on the safety and peace of mind of our customers,” Barra said in a statement. “We are conducting an intense review of our internal processes and will have more developments to announce as we move forward.”

Regarding the controversial ignition switch recall, Barra said in the video posted in the automaker’s website on Monday that Delphi (the supplier of the replacement parts for the defective ignition switch) is adding another shift to produce all the much needed parts as soon as possible.

In the memo sent to dealers on the same day, GM said that the dealers can order the replacement ignition switches beginning April 7th. The memo also informed dealers that they cannot stock the part in inventory—they should only place an order for parts needed by vehicle owners.

Photo credit: That Hartford Guy/ Flickr/ CC BY-SA

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