Auto recalls happen with some frequency, and sometimes the auto product defects are serious. While you may receive a recall notice about a seemingly minor defect, it is still important to understand the risks associated with the defective product. In other cases, the seriousness of the recall may be obvious to you. According to a recent report in MarketWatch, General Motors (GM) has recalled 640,000 trucks because of a risk of “fire-causing seat belts.” Indeed, the automaker has already received two separate reports of fires starting. Although GM has not yet received any reports of injuries, it is extremely important for anyone who owns one of these vehicles to heed the recall information to avoid serious burn injuries and other irreparable harm.
Learning More About the Recent GM Recalls
As we mentioned above, 640,000 GM trucks have been recalled due to a fire risk. To put that number in perspective, it totals more than half a million vehicles. It is not a fire in the engine or another part of the vehicle that may seem likely to burn, rather, there is a problem with the seat belts. According to the MarketWatch report, GM “uses a small explosion to move a piston that tightens the seat belts before a crash.” With this mechanism, the “explosion can release hot gas through an opening in a bracket, possibly setting the carpet on fire.”
The vehicles that are affected by the recall include 2019 and 2020 Chevrolet Silverado trucks, as well as 2019 and 2020 GMC Sierra trucks. In addition, some of the heavy-duty pickup truck models are also affected, including the 2020 Silverado heavy-duty pickup truck and the Sierra 2500 and 3500 heavy-duty pickup trucks. The defective seat belt is supposed to be a “high-tech” model, yet it poses a risk of serious injury to consumers. In the event that a fire started in a vehicle and the occupants could not put it out, everyone in the vehicle could sustain severe or even fatal injuries.
Anyone who currently drives one of these vehicles will be able to have the problem repaired at a GM dealer for no cost, but there is no official date yet for the recall to begin. Vehicles in the U.S. and across the globe are affected by the defect.
What Should You Know About Auto Defects and Recalls?
When you hear about a serious auto defect and recall like the recent GM recall, what should you do? An article in Esurance emphasizes that you should first learn the specifics of the recall and whether your vehicle is affected. As that article clarifies, auto manufacturers are required to send a letter to any customer who has been affected by the recall, but the article also urges customers to check the website for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to determine whether your vehicle is part of the recall.
Once you do receive a recall letter, it should provide you with all the information you need to manage the recall and to keep yourself safe. As Esurance explains, any auto recall letter you receive should provide you with the following information:
- Description of the auto defect;
- Potential injury risks posed by the defect;
- Warning signs or symptoms of the defect;
- How the problem can be repaired, or what the automaker will do if a repair is not possible;
- How long a repair or replacement will take; and
- Specific instructions for your next steps.
If you receive a recall notice, you should follow the instructions precisely. Even if the defect does not seem particularly serious to you, it could pose injury risks.
Contact a Product Liability Lawyer in West Palm Beach
If you or someone you love was injured by a defective auto product, a West Palm Beach product liability attorney may be able to help. Contact Lesser Lesser Landy & Smith PLLC for more information.