General Motors is recalling more than 3.4 million full-size pickups and sport-utility vehicles due to a problem that makes it hard to brake and has led to 113 crashes and 13 injuries.
The recall is to resolve problems with vacuum pumps on 2014-2018 model year vehicles, including some Cadillac Escalade, Chevrolet Silverado, Chevrolet Tahoe, GMC Sierra, Chevrolet Suburban and GMC Yukon vehicles.
The problem with the pump is that amount of vacuum it produces can lessen over time, according to documents GM sent the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The issue first came to light in November 2019 when the agency began an investigation after receiving complaints about nine crashes and two injuries.
NHTSA then gave GM the information it collected, including additional field reports, in July so the company could conduct its own query.
What GM said it found is that the problem could affect braking in “rare circumstances.” NHTSA said in a statement the “vehicles may experience brake boost failure, which would require increased brake pedal effort, leading to a hard brake pedal feel, and potentially increased stopping distance.”
The problem is that the vacuum assist pump, which is lubricated with engine oil that flows into the pump through a filter screen, can in some cases lose effectiveness over time, because stuff like oil sludge or other things can accumulate on the filter screen, according to the company.
Earlier models aren’t affected as they use a different brake assist system design, and vehicles manufactured after 2018 were not equipped with the affected pump design, Reuters reported.
GM said dealers will reprogram the electronic brake control module to improve how the system utilizes the hydraulic brake boost assist function when vacuum assist is depleted at no cost to the owner. The company began notifying owners on Sept. 6.
Additionally, the company issued two smaller recalls at the same time. About 177,000 2018 Chevrolet Malibu cars with 1.5-liter turbo engines were recalled due to a problem with the engine control module software that could disable the car’s the fuel injectors.
It also recalled about 91,000 model-year 2019 Chevrolet Express and GMC Savana large vans because the seatbelt-unfastened warning light will not illuminate for approximately five seconds after the ignition is moved to the “on” or “start” position, which means they are not in compliance with federal motor safety regulations.