General Motors issued on Tuesday its largest recall of the year so far, asking owners of nearly 469,000 Chevrolet Malibu sedans from the 2011 and 2012 model years to being their cars in for seat belt repairs. The Detroit maker of Cadillacs, GMCs and Buicks said in a statement that a steel belt that holds the seat belt to the vehicle’s frame can wear and separate, preventing the belt from restraining passengers and drivers in the event of collisions.
GM says it’s aware of only one minor injury and 36 claims related to the problem. The recall includes about 32,000 cars outside of the U.S., mostly in Canada and Mexico. Last year, the automaker called back 1.5 million crossover vehicles for a similar problem: 2009-2014 GMC Acadia, Buick Enclave and Chevrolet Traverse, and 2009-2010 Saturn Outlook.
The company has recalled significantly fewer vehicles in the first five months of 2015 compared with last year, when it called back a record 26.95 million cars. GM CEO Mary Barra oversaw an extensive audit of GM cars in the wake of the controversy surrounding fatal flaws of ignition switches that went undiagnosed for a decade and led to at least 100 deaths.
The Malibu recall announced Tuesday is by far the largest from GM this year.
Check Your GM Vehicle
Click here for General Motors’ recall search database using your vehicle identification number. Here are this year’s GM U.S. auto safety recalls since the start of 2015 through May 12. The list is in descending order by number of affected vehicles. Some recalls below could include a small number of affected vehicles outside of the U.S.
AIR BAG SURPRISE: The Pontiac Vibe sedan was included in a recall of more than 1 million cars including the Toyota Corolla, Toyota Corolla Matrix and Toyota Avalon, all from model years 2003 and 2004. An electrical problem may cause air bags and seat belt pretensioners to deploy inadvertently. At the time these vehicles were made, Toyota and General Motors were building cars together in the California factory now owned by Tesla Motors. It’s not known how many of the 1 million cars covered in this recall are Pontiacs.
SUNROOF PINCH: About 87,000 Chevrolet Malibu sedans from the 2013 to 2015 model years were recalled to replace a sunroof switch that was not adequately recessed. The switch can accidentally be pressed, causing the sunroof to close, potentially on passengers’ or the driver’s fingers. In a separate recall, nearly 60,000 Cadillac ATS compact luxury cars from the 2013 to 2015 model years were recalled for the same issue.
POWER STEERING OOPS: Nearly 70,000 Chevrolet Malibu, Chevrolet Malibu Maxx and Pontiac G6 sedans from the 2006 and 2007 model years were recalled to fix a problem that could lead to sudden power steering loss. If that happens, the vehicle can become much harder to control.
GREEN CAR EMISSIONS: About 50,000 Chevrolet Volt plug-in hybrid electric cars from model years 2011 to 2013 were recalled to fix a problem that could cause a risk of carbon monoxide poisoning. In the affected cars, if a driver leaves the electric system engaged, the battery could drain. If that happens, the gasoline engine will start to recharge the battery. If the car is parked in a garage, the idling engine could emit a dangerous concentration of carbon monoxide.
COPY EDITING FAIL: Nearly 20,000 2015 Buick Encore and Chevrolet Trax subcompact crossovers were recalled to fix tire placards missing vital instructions. The original placards didn’t provide sizing specs for wheels. Drivers could inadvertently have installed incorrectly sized new wheels on their vehicles, increasing in the chance of an accident.
NEW TIRES THAT ACT OLD: About 5,900 Buick Enclave, Chevrolet Traverse and GMC Acadia vehicles, all from the 2015 model year, came equipped with Goodyear P255/65R18 Fortera HL tires. The tires have been found to experience premature tread cracking. Though new, these tires could blow out. In a separate recall, about 4,900 Cadillac CTS-V high-performance sedans from the 2004 to 2007 model years were recalled for the same reason.
SPARK-EMITTING BRAKES: About 3,600 Chevrolet Impalas from the 2014 model year need to be recalled to fix a problem from a prior recall in 2014. The cars need the software in their parking brake modules updated. Without the fix, the parking brakes may only partially disengage from the rear rotors. The affected car may perform as if the brakes are partially engaged even though the instrument panel says the parking brake is released. Prolonged driving under this condition will cause the brake to overheat and emit sparks in some cases. The overall driving experience is similar to driving a car with the parking brake engaged.
MORE POWER STEERING PROBLEMS: About 2,300 Buick Encore and Chevrolet Trax vehicles from the 2015 model year have circuit boards set too close to the steering column assembly housing. With enough wear, the circuit board that controls power steering could fail, causing the vehicles to suddenly become much harder to steer.
PARKING BRAKE FAIL: About 1,700 2015 Chevrolet Cruze sedans might have incorrectly installed left-rear or right-rear parking brake cable brackets. If any of the brackets separate, the parking brake could fail, increasing the chance the car will roll on an incline.
LEAKY ENGINES: About 1,200 Buick Regals, Chevrolet Impalas and Chevrolet Monte Carlos, all from the 2004 model year, have leaky valve cover gaskets. The problem can lead to oil leaking onto a hot exhaust manifold cover, increasing risk of fire. Considering the ages of these cars, consumers might have paid to fix leaky engines that GM acknowledges a decade later was a manufacturing flaw.
CORVETTE CAN GO FLYING: Forty-three 2015 Chevrolet Corvettes were recalled because the vital toe-link outer ball joint on the rear suspension might not have been tightened properly. If a toe link separates while the car is in motion, the driver will experience immediate loss of vehicle stability and steering control.