In March 2021, a safety report was submitted to GM’s Speak Up for Safety program regarding a warranty claim affecting the seat belt on a low mileage 2021 Cadillac XT4. The customer’s complaints included a rattling noise coming from the passenger side rear seat belt. The rattle could be heard while driving or when attempting to use the seat belt. The dealer determined that the noise was caused by a missing lower fastener in the retractor assembly. A search for similar allegations discovered three additional potentially related claims also involving XT4 vehicles. In each case, the complaint was a rattling noise that was determined to be caused by a loose or missing fastener in a rear seat belt retractor.
An investigation also revealed that 2016-2021 Chevrolet Malibu vehicles were assembled at the same place using the same right-hand rear side assembly process and added these vehicles to the investigation. Data for the entire population of approximately 1.4 million 2019-2021 XT4 and 2016-2021 Malibu vehicles produced at Fairfax found no additional related claims.
Investigator analysis of the repair procedure determined that the procedure could have been the cause of the loose or missing fasteners under a specific set of circumstances that was unlikely to occur, but possible. The investigator retrieved plant manufacturing records to determine whether other vehicles were subject to similar repairs. Those records identified 437 such vehicles out of the total population. Testing was also conducted that determined it was possible for the condition to be present with the absence of warning noises, even though each of the three relevant field reports did describe audible warning signs.
Although no additional related claims were found, GM have decided to conduct a recall.
According to the defect report, GM will be recalling certain 2016-2021 Chevrolet Malibu and 2019-2021 Cadillac XT4 vehicles manufactured at their Fairfax plant. Dealers will inspect the rear seat belt retractors and tighten them as necessary. GM’s number for this recall is N212333380 and the NHTSA campaign number is 21V-649.