General Motors LLC is recalling nearly 691,000 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 and GMC Sierra 1500 pickup trucks due to an electrical issue that can cause temporary loss of power steering during low-speed turns, increasing the risk of a crash. The affected trucks were built between January 2013 and September 2014 for the 2014 model year, GM said, estimating that about 2 percent of the 691,000 are actually affected by the defect. GM notified the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and its dealerships on June 29, saying that when a fix was available, the dealerships would update the trucks’ software for free.
A GM spokesperson said that the company is working on a fix and that it will notify customers as soon as it is available to its dealers. Actions that demand high electrical current, such as low-speed turns, can cause temporary low voltage within the trucks’ electrical systems, GM said. When the system voltage drops below 8.8 volts for more than one second, as it may during low-speed turns, the trucks’ power steering assist is disabled until voltage returns to 9 volts for at least 40 milliseconds, the company explained. That loss of power steering could result in the driver temporarily losing control of the steering wheel, even though the issue typically happens within a one-second period, GM said. Other electrical subsystems might also shut down at the same time or just before, temporarily disabling the radio, door locks, air conditioning and cruise control, among other devices.
GM opened a safety investigation into the issue in February after complaints related to the loss of power steering. It was able to link the various cases to an underlying electrical issue, the company said. It told dealers on June 29 to stop delivering the vehicles to customers until they could be fixed. Only 2014 model year trucks were affected because prior to 2015 model year production, a series of product and process changes were made that addressed the potential sources of the temporary low voltage conditions that disable the trucks’ power steering assist, GM said.
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