GM under fire from safety advocates over braking problem caused by recall fix

Sven Gustafson



Safety experts are lambasting General Motors over what they say is the automaker’s slow notification of owners of certain 2019 sedans and trucks that a recall fix could cause power braking to fail and increase the risk of a crash, the Detroit Free Press reports

GM’s original recall in December targeted about 550,000 Cadillac CT6 sedans and Chevrolet Silverado 1500 and GMC Sierra 1500 pickups, all from the 2019 model year, over potentially defective electronic stability control and antilock brakes. In that case, GM said the errors would not show up as a diagnostic warning on the instrument cluster.

But after GM had done recall work on 162,000 vehicles, about 1,700 owner have complained that their power brakes didn’t work after they had the recall done and then used the OnStar app to start their vehicle. GM then issued a supplemental fix for customers who’d already had their vehicles serviced. In this case, a diagnostic warning should illuminate saying either “Service Brake Assist” or “Service ECS,” which GM says is a signal that a customer should not drive the vehicle and instead call their dealer, which will tow the vehicle and have it repaired.

Safety advocates say the automaker hasn’t gone far enough to protect customers. “The fact that you could potentially start a vehicle and not have brakes is a pretty risky proposition,” Sean Kane, president of the Safety Research and Strategies, which works on auto issues for plaintiffs and governmental organizations, told the Freep. “The fact that they wouldn’t notify owners (sooner) is pretty stunning.”

GM told the Freep it was required to notify the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and file paperwork before it notified customers about the original recall, which was made Dec. 12. It then had to investigate and resolve the problem created by its original recall fix before alerting customers.

GM’s call center and dealers are contacting the remaining 900 customers who haven’t yet had the update made to the original recall repair. GM also hired a vendor to send recall letters to the 550,000 customers affected by the original recall notifying them about the update. There are no known injuries or deaths related to the problem.

Read the Freep story here.

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