Niagara Gazette

Columns

December 19, 2013

TOM'S CORNER: GM, Dodge recalls and other automotive news

Niagara Gazette — General Motors has announced two recalls that together cover nearly 60,000 Chevrolet Malibu sedans in the U.S. The more serious of the campaigns seeks to address a wiring issue that has resulted in two vehicle fires. The problem, which affects 14,930 2013 Chevrolet Malibus equipped with power-adjustable front seats, stems from a wiring harness that can chafe against the frame causing the insulation of a circuit on the wiring to wear through to the conductor and create a short to the grounded seat frame.

This in turn can result in a bevy of maladies, including unintentional seat movement, flickering lights, sparks and melted wiring. Of course, the latter two problems can cause a fire. There are no known crashes or injuries connected to the issue, but GM does say it is aware of two fires in unattended vehicles that burned out on their own. GM has yet to announce when it plans to implement a fix for the defect.

Separately, GM is calling back 44,406 2014 Malibus due to HVAC controls that may not function properly when the car is turned on, instead reverting to the setting selected the last time the car was driven. Simply an uncomfortable annoyance in most instances, the flaw can turn into a safety issue in situations when the driver needs to clear the windshield using the defroster. GM will begin notifying owners of the problem next month, at which time dealers will reprogram the HVAC module free of charge.

For Dodge Ram owners, a mis-aligned steering system tie-rod assembly has prompted the recall of more than 1 million examples of its heavy-duty pickup truck range.

The affected vehicles are 2003 through 2012 Dodge Ram trucks, around 453,000 of which it says will likely need to be repaired. The remaining roughly 726,000 won’t need to be fixed, the automaker said in a release issued to members of the media.

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