GM Recalls – Will They Never End?

It’s been exactly one month since I blogged about the GM recall of 2.6 million vehicles that may have faulty ignition switches. Now, on May 15, GM has announced five – count ‘em, five – more recalls for 2.7 million more vehicles.

Here are the details on the latest recalls:

Corrosion issues:

2004-2012 Chevrolet Malibus from 2004 to 2012, Chevrolet Malibu Maxxs from 2004 to 2007, Pontiac G6s from 2005 to 2010 and Saturn Auras from 2007 to 2010 are recalled because the wiring harness in the brake lamps could have become corroded. The corrosion could cause the brake lights not to work, increasing the risk of a rear-end collision. In addition, the cruise control, traction control, electronic stability control and panic braking assist could be disabled.

It seems that GM has known about this issue for many years, because they issued a technical service bulletin about it in 2008 and had 14,000 warranty complaints from consumers. Apparently NHTSA also had an inkling something was going on, or should have . . . more of those red flags missed . . . because they got 1,300 complaints about the problem. “Only” 13 crashes and two injuries were caused by the defect.

Overheating problem:

111,889 Chevrolet Corvettes from the 2005-2007 model years may lose low-beam headlamp operation. The electric control center under the hood sometimes becomes heated by the engine, to the point that a circuit wire can become bent or broken. This causes the low-beam headlights not to illuminate. As GM says, this “could reduce the driver’s visibility, increasing the risk of a crash.” Ya think?

Braking difficulties:

Drivers of 140,067 Chevrolet Malibus from the 2014 model year with 2.5L engines and stop/start technology may have difficulty braking because the hydraulic brake boost is ineffective. Not only is more pressure required on the brake pedal, but the distance required to come to a stop is increased. GM says four crashes have occurred, but they’re not sure they were caused by the brake problem.

Windshield wiper malfunction:

Drivers of late-model Cadillac CTS (19,225 from the 2013-2014 model year) may have found themselves without an operable windshield wiper system if they had to jump start the car this winter and the wipers were turned on but restricted by ice and snow.

Tie rod failure:

The seriousness of the windshield wiper malfunction pales in comparison to this potential problem. GM recalled some 2014 Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra light duty pickups and 2015 Chevrolet Tahoe SUVs because the tie rod can separate from the steering rack, resulting in a sudden crash. This is of such import that letters were sent by overnight mail to affected customers and dealers.

Of course we’re glad that GM is taking steps to get these vehicles repaired before more people are killed by their defective cars and trucks. And we’re likely to see more recalls now that GM has added 35 more safety investigators to their payroll. But I suspect that when the Senate subcommittee investigating the GM ignition switch debacle next meets, they will express some additional concerns about the millions of defective vehicles on the road.