Recall of 3.4 million pickup trucks and SUVs issued by General Motors
General Motors recently issued a recall for 3.4 million pickup trucks and SUVs because of potentially dangerous brake problems. To date, brake problems in these motor vehicles have resulted in 113 accidents and 13 injuries. No fatalities have been reported.
Because of a condition related to increased brake pedal effort, the following vehicles have been recalled: the Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra 1500, 2500 and 3500 pickups from the 2014 through 2018 model years. Also included are the Cadillac Escalade from 2015 to 2017, and the GMC Yukon and Chevy Suburban and Tahoe from 2015 through 2018.
According to a statement from General Motors, “As the pumps in the power-assist brakes put out less vacuum power than is needed, customers may experience increased brake pedal effort, hard brake pedal, and/or potentially increased stopping distance." Each of these issues could increase the risk of a crash.
GM warns that the brake issue is more prevalent, although rare, at low speeds when the driver normally applies the brakes softly, with the brakes continuing to function and exceeding the requirements of the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) became aware of the issue and started an investigation in November of 2018 after getting 111 complaints from owners citing poor brake performance. At the time, the agency had nine reports of crashes that had caused two injuries. GM says it discovered the problem itself through warranty data.
GM isn’t replacing the pumps because pump failures are rare and already are covered by an extended warranty. GM spokesperson Dan Flores said,
"Dealers will reprogram the electronic brake control module in these vehicles with a new calibration that will improve how the system utilizes the hydraulic brake boost assist function when vacuum assist is depleted. This remedy will improve brake performance in any situation where brake vacuum drops.”
Flores explained that the vacuum pump is lubricated with engine oil that flows through a filter screen. In some of the trucks, oil sludge or other debris can clog the screen, reducing oil flow and causing the pump’s vacuum output to drop. The trucks have a secondary power brake assist system that works when there are problems with the main system, but it is limited at lower speeds. The reprogramming will activate the secondary system faster.
In affected vehicles having the vacuum pump problem, drivers reported that they could feel a vibration in the brake pedal or a change in pressure required to push the brake pedal. Fortunately, should this problem arise, owners will see a message on their dashboard telling them to service the brake assist system.
Dealers will recalibrate the electronic brake control module at no cost to customers. Owners started being notified last month.
If you have one of the vehicles listed above and have not received notification from GM, contact your dealership right away to have your brakes inspected and if needed, repaired.
If you were injured in an accident involving one of the listed vehicles because of the brake problem, be sure to give us a call so that we can discuss your potential personal injury claim. All consultations are free.
If you have any questions about this topic or any other questions related to personal injury law, please call us at 920-725-8464, or toll free at 1-800-529-1552. Our personal injury consultations are always free.
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