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GM Recalls 200k Vehicles Over "Missing or Loose Bolts"

GM isn’t up there with Toyota in terms of quality control and assurance, but some problems don’t stem from the automaker per se. Regarding the recall we’re going to cover today, “an error in the supplier’s assembly line software logic” is to blame for missing or loose bolts on the start-stop accumulator endcap.
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BorgWarner is the supplier in question, and the debacle started in July 2020 after General Motors discovered two missing bolts on two accumulators. Immediately after that, BorgWarner started containment efforts and the biggest of the Big Three in Detroit opened an investigation into the matter.

According to the Part 573 Safety Recall Report submitted to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, no fewer than 194,105 vehicles are in the process of being called back. Known owners will be notified on December 14th through first-class mail, and authorized dealers within the U.S. have been instructed to replace the start-stop accumulator if any bolts are missing.

Vehicles that may exhibit this issue were built from the 2018 through 2020 model years, and they include 12 nameplates. These are the Buick Enclave, Encore, and LaCrosse, the Cadillac XT4 and XT6, the Chevrolet Blazer, Cruze, Equinox, Malibu, and Traverse, as well as the GMC Acadia and Terrain. Care to guess what these babies all have in common? Well, that would be the torque-converter transmission.

The Hydra-Matic 9T50 is a nine-speed automatic introduced for the 2017 model year by the Chevrolet Malibu Turbo, and Ford has famously refused to utilize this tranny in front-/all-wheel-drive vehicles like the Edge. “The small efficiency benefit did not justify the added weight and cost of an extra clutch and gear,” declared a spokesperson at that time, which is why Ford decided on an eight-speed box.

Turning our attention back to the recall, care to guess why a loose or a missing bolt is such a big deal for GM? Well, either of these conditions “could result in a transmission oil leak and may progress to a loss of propulsion, which could increase the risk of a crash.” Adding insult to injury, transmission fluid leaking onto a hot component of the four-pot engine or exhaust system may lead to a vehicle fire.
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 Download: Missing or Loose Bolts on Start/Stop Accumulator (PDF)

About the author: Mircea Panait
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After a 1:43 scale model of a Ferrari 250 GTO sparked Mircea's interest for cars when he was a kid, an early internship at Top Gear sealed his career path. He's most interested in muscle cars and American trucks, but he takes a passing interest in quirky kei cars as well.
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