GM Expands Brake Recall

Keith Barry
·3 min read

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General Motors is recalling an additional 14,620 trucks and SUVs because their brakes may suddenly become difficult to use, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

The recall addresses a flaw with the power brake-assist system, which reduces the amount of effort a driver needs to exert to stop the vehicle. If the system fails, he or she may find that the brake pedal takes much more effort to push. Drivers may also find that it takes more distance for their vehicle to stop, which could lead to a crash, NHTSA says. The problem is more likely to happen at low speeds, such as when maneuvering in a parking lot or slowing for a pedestrian in a crosswalk.

GM said in a statement that drivers may notice some other irregularities immediately before the brakes malfunction. They include a vibrating brake pedal, a change in the amount of pressure needed to depress the brake pedal, a ticking noise coming from the engine compartment, or a “Service Brake Assist” message on the dashboard instrument cluster.

Today’s announcement is an expansion of an earlier recall of 3.5 million vehicles. It includes additional Cadillac Escalade, Chevrolet Tahoe, and GMC Yukon SUVs and Chevrolet Silverado 1500 and GMC Yukon 1500 pickup trucks from the 2018 model year that are equipped with either a 5.3L or 6.2L V8 engine.

According to NHTSA documentation, these vehicles should have been in the original recall announced last September. The need for an expanded recall was discovered after GM received reports of brake problems on vehicles that hadn’t already been recalled for this issue. The automaker conducted further investigations, which included what GM called “an in-depth analysis of plant-level manufacturing records,” and found that more vehicles needed to be recalled.

NHTSA opened an investigation into brake problems with GM trucks and SUVs in November 2018 after it received 111 complaints from drivers. In an email, a GM spokesperson told Consumer Reports that the company was aware of a total of 113 crashes and 13 injuries because of the problem, none of which have taken place since the original recall was issued.

The Details

Vehicles recalled:

• 2018 Cadillac Escalade SUVs manufactured between May 22, 2017, and Sept. 30, 2017
• 2018 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 pickup trucks manufactured between April 25, 2017, and Sept. 30, 2017
• 2018 Chevrolet Tahoe SUVs manufactured on Aug. 22, 2017
• 2018 GMC Sierra 1500 pickup trucks manufactured between April 25, 2017, and Sept. 30, 2017
• 2018 GMC Yukon SUVs manufactured between May 22, 2017, and Sept. 30, 2017

The problem: The power brake vacuum pump—a component within the braking system—may generate less pressure over time because of a buildup of debris. As a result, the output of the power braking system may decrease.

The fix: Dealers will update software in vehicles at no charge to owners.

How to contact the manufacturer: Vehicle owners can call Chevrolet at 800-630-2438, Cadillac at 800-458-8006, or GMC at 800-462-8782.

NHTSA campaign number: 20V603. GM’s own number for this recall is N202300860.

Check to see whether your vehicle has an open recall: NHTSA’s website will tell you whether your vehicle has any recalls that need to be addressed.

If you plug your car’s 17-digit vehicle identification number (VIN) into NHTSA’s website and a recall doesn’t appear, it means your vehicle doesn’t currently have any. Because automakers issue recalls often, and for many older vehicles, we recommend checking back regularly.