GM Recall Information 2014

by Harry Bradley on August 12, 2014

GM Recall InformationAt nearly 30M vehicles, the number of GM recalled vehicles this year is staggering, and the recalls keep coming. If you own a GM vehicle, you need to find out what recalls and service updates have been issued for your car or truck. Any year, any model, any GM brand, you need to do your research and get your vehicle to the dealer for these updates – many involve substantial issues such as airbag failure, electric assist steering failure, fuel leaks and more. Listed below are several sources where reliable GM recall information is available.

How to Find GM Recall Information for My Vehicle

GM Recalls Record Number of Vehicles in 2014

At last count GM has issued recalls for nearly 30M vehicles in 2014, and the list is growing. For perspective, consider that GM produces less than 10M vehicles a year, meaning GM has recalled more vehicles this year than it produced in the last three years combined. This smashes the previous single-year manufacturer record, and we’re only in August. “GM’s recalls eclipse Ford Motor Co.’s previous single-year record for a company of 23.3 million in 2001. With 64.6 million cars and trucks on U.S. roads, according to Experian, GM is calling back the equivalent of 40 percent of its vehicles.” Automotive News 8 July 2014.

Also, consider that recalls are only released for substantial safety issues, not for any and all defect issues. As stated by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration: “When is a recall necessary? When there is a safety-related defect in the vehicle or equipment.” NHTSA – Motor Vehicle Safety Defects and Recalls Campaigns. Recalls are serious and not released merely for broken cup holders or radio knobs. If you have pending recalls, you need to know!

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Where Can I Find GM Recall Information?

You may be tempted to contact your local dealer and leave it at that. In fact, that is what GM is telling owners to do: “Contact your preferred Certified Service Dealer”. However, the volume of recall information released combined with GM’s documented history of mismanaging defect information gives you about 30M reasons to do your own homework and not rely solely on GM mailings or dealer phone calls for your safety recall information.

Luckily, independent sources of information are available. For detailed instructions on finding the most complete service information for any vehicle see my previous post: How to Find Recall Information and Bulletins. For quick and reliable recall-only information check the following sources:

NHTSA at SaferCar.gov – Recall Search (vehicle specific)
CNN hosted recall list (all vehicles, searchable)
GM hosted recall list (all vehicles, non-searchable)

The NHTSA site is your best bet for reliable, current and detailed info for your vehicle – try it first. For the fastest overview without details try the CNN list – it’s searchable with summary information and is fairly up to date. The GM’s list is the most current, including last week’s releases, but is a non-searchable graphic requiring keen eyes and a magnifying glass. Other lists can be found at the Wall Street Journal and USA Today but they have not been updated since June and are already 60 days out of date so use only for quick corroboration, if at all: WSJ and USA Today.

GM claims also to provide vehicle specific recall information through a website set up for that purpose at recalls.gm.com where owners can enter their vehicle VIN# for pending recalls. However, I tried 4 different vehicles (2007 Chevy Cobalt, 2008 Saturn Outlook, 2009 Pontiac G6, 2014 Chevy Camaro) and received a system error on each attempt. I finally received the following “system unavailable message” below – at least they’re consistent.

GM Recall Unavailable

GM will release millions of recalls and service advisories this year, but with GM’s historically poor record of information handling, I cannot stress enough the importance of doing your own investigating. I recommend not only searching for recalls, but also doing the full search with the methods listed here: How to Find Recall Information and Bulletins. As stated in the previous article, most information for non-safety related service messages are released only to the dealers and not to you, even if you are entitled to receive the part upgrade or replacement under warranty. If you want to know for sure, do your homework before calling the dealer. It is the only way to make sure you get the most complete repairs to which you are entitled at your scheduled service appointment.

Can I use the Lemon Law?

Vehicle defects are actionable under the lemon law after they have been a recurring issue subject to several repairs. See my previous article on the effect of recalls on the lemon law: Brake Defects, Lemon Law Eligible. The general rule is that only after an authorized dealer has tried and failed to fix any problems are you able to use the lemon law to get out of your vehicle. If you haven’t seen the problem, you probably haven’t yet asked your dealer to fix it, so you may not yet be able to seek lemon law assistance even with the flood of recalls this year. I suspect the vast majority of the vehicles covered under the 2014 recalls will be asymptomatic and not subject to the lemon law. However, if you previously made complaints about a problem now covered under a new recall, GM’s confirmation of multiple defects may be welcome news.

If you have taken your vehicle to the dealer on at least three prior occasions complaining of problems, you are now likely eligible to make a claim. Never mind that the dealer may have changed no parts or performed only limited diagnosis on those previous occasions. The defining criterion is that you made the complaint and presented your vehicle for repairs. Now that the defect(s) are proven by a recall, you may be able to part ways with a troublesome vehicle.

Time to File a Lemon Law Claim

If the dealer was unable to fix your vehicle despite several repair attempts, you should explore the possibility of filing a claim under the lemon law. The lemon law entitles you to your own legal counsel at the manufacturer’s expense so there’s no reason not to make a call and find someone to help. Most consumer attorneys provide the initial consultation at no-cost. Even if you don’t have a case yet, you’re only out the phone call and will have gained very useful information for the future.

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