General Motors has recalled Chevrolet Malibu Eco and Buick LaCrosse and Regal sedans that have the eAssist mild hybrid system because of a problem with the system control electronics that can create a fire risk. The recall covers 38,197 cars – 2013 Malibu Ecos and the Buicks from the 2012 and 2013 model years. According to documents on the NHTSA website, the “Generator Control Module” circuitry in the trunk may malfunction, causing gradual loss of battery charge and an indicator light to go on. The documents say that “if the vehicle is continued to be driven, the engine may stall and/or the vehicle may not start. In addition, there may be a burning or melting odor, smoke and possibly a fire in the trunk.” The stalling problem could create a safety hazard.
The battery drain affects the vehicle’s conventional 12-volt battery and not the lithium-ion battery that’s part of the hybrid system. GM is notifying owners. Dealers will test the GCM and replace it, as necessary. Owners should not drive the car with the warning light on and should take the car to a GM dealer. More information is available from GM at 800-521-7300 (the GM recall number is 13136) and from NHTSA’s safety hotline at 888-327-4236 (TTY 800-424-9153), or go to www.safercar.gov.
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