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No injuries reported in Silverado fires, but GM recalls 370,000

New York owners of Chevrolet pickup trucks may be aware that the 2014 Silverado was rumored to be a front-runner for North American Truck of the Year. In a bit of unfortunate timing, however, General Motors announced that it was recalling 370,000 Silverados and GMC Sierra pickups due to the potential for a fire to start in the vehicles’ engine compartments and possibly lead to injuries. Each of these models, which are similar in design, had been the subject of rave reviews from automotive media outlets.

Eight fires had been reported by GM from a problem with the engine control software. A glitch increased the risk of exhaust components overheating and created the possibility of an engine compartment fire. Three of the events were in consumer-owned vehicles, the company said. No injuries had resulted from the fires at the time of the recall. Not all regions of the country ran the same risk of the problem, which occurred only in areas with very cold weather.

The range of the recall effort meant that many of the vehicles affected by the GM action had not yet been delivered to consumers. Since the trucks could still be on dealer lots, the automaker instructed owners and dealers to keep an eye out for the yellow “check engine” light, which would come on and stay on, as would a message warning of reduced engine power on the pickups’ driver information center.

Distraction caused by an engine fire or other mechanical trouble could result in a car accident. Malfunctions causing loss of power or sudden braking could put drivers at risk of a rear-end collision. Lawsuits may be filed against carmakers in the event of an equipment failure leading to a crash.

Source: CNBC, “Embarrassing setback as Chevy Silverado vies for Car of the Year“, Paul A. Eisenstein, January 12, 2014

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