General Motors (GM) has recently identified a significant safety defect in some of its electric vehicles (EVs). This issue, affecting specific 2023-2024 model year GMC Hummer EV Pickups, 2024 GMC Hummer EV SUVs, and certain 2024 Chevrolet Silverado EVs, revolves around a crucial component of vehicle safety: the seat belt.
Discovery and Investigation of the Defect
In August 2023, a GM seat engineer, utilizing the company’s Speak Up for Safety (SUFS) program, reported a potential flaw after being alerted by GM’s seat supplier. The concern was about a loose front seat belt buckle bolt in a seat built for a 2024 HUMMER EV. This prompted GM to initiate a thorough product investigation.
Working closely with the supplier, GM discovered that the assembly process might not have been consistently adhered to, leading to possible out-of-sequence torquing of seat frame assembly bolts. This irregularity could result in the seat belt buckle attachment bolt not being tightened to the required specifications. After reviewing the supplier’s manufacturing records, GM identified seat frame assemblies that deviated from the intended assembly order.
Upon inspecting 754 suspect seats, GM and the supplier found two seats with improperly torqued attachment bolts. Fortunately, as of now, GM is not aware of any accidents or injuries related to this condition.
The Importance of Seat Belt Safety
The seat belt is a fundamental safety device in any vehicle, designed to protect occupants in the event of a collision or sudden stop. A properly functioning seat belt system can significantly reduce the risk of serious injury or death during an accident. It’s a vital line of defence, ensuring that passengers are securely restrained and minimizing their movement during a crash.
The Recall and Corrective Measures
In November, GM’s Safety and Field Action Decision Authority decided to conduct a safety recall. Vehicle owners will be notified and advised to return to their dealers for inspection. The specific focus will be on tightening the left and right front seat belt buckle attachment bolts.
Owners of affected vehicles may notice a rattle near the seat belt buckle, signalling the potential issue. It is crucial for owners to heed this warning and take prompt action.
GM has designated the recall number as N232419280, and it is also recognized under the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) campaign number 23V-786.
This recall by GM underscores the importance of stringent quality control and responsive safety measures in the automotive industry. The seat belt, a simple yet vital safety component, must meet the highest standards of reliability. GM’s action in addressing this issue serves as a reminder of the ongoing need for vigilance and regular vehicle maintenance to ensure the safety of all road users.