California residents who own four-wheel drive full-size SUVs or pickup trucks manufactured by General Motors between 2014 and 2018 may be wise to leave their vehicles in two-wheel drive for the time being. The nation’s largest automaker has announced that it is recalling more than 600,000 Chevrolet Suburban, Chevrolet Tahoe, Chevrolet Silverado, GMC Yukon and GMC Sierra models to remedy a potentially dangerous software glitch. The problem, which can cause unintended and erratic braking, only manifests itself when the vehicles’ four-wheel drive systems are activated.
GM says that the problem has only been found in four-wheel drive vehicles equipped with 5.3-liter V8 engines and 3.08-ratio rear axles. These vehicles are fitted with potentially faulty wheel-speed sensors. A failure of these faulty sensors could trigger the vehicle to activate its driveline-protection system. If this happens, warning lights on the pickup truck or SUV’s dashboard will illuminate and its brakes will be applied on the side opposite to the faulty sensor. This would happen when the vehicle is put into four-wheel drive and reaches speeds of between 41 and 60 mph.
The wheel-speed sensors are faulty because their axle-ratio calibrations are incorrect. This means that they are not able to properly calculate wheel speeds. GM will reprogram the Electronic Brake Control Modules of the recalled vehicles at no cost. The company says that it is not aware of any accidents that have been caused by the defect.
Consumers who are injured in accidents caused by shoddily manufactured or poorly designed goods may wish to obtain Costa Mesa defective product and machinery legal representation. Personal injury attorneys with experience in product liability litigation may seek to hold manufacturers financially responsible when they fail to meet their duty of care to protect their customers from harm. This kind of lawsuit could include claims for damages to cover medical bills, pain and suffering and lost income. When manufacturers act with gross negligence, attorneys could also seek punitive damages.
Source: CNET, “General Motors recalls 600,000-plus pickups, SUVs for unintentional braking“, Sean Szymkowski, Oct. 31, 2019