GM today issued a safety recall (NHTSA ID 21V-189) for fires occurring in 2020 and 2021 Chevrolet Express and GMC Savana vehicles with 6.6L gas engines. If a battery short circuit occur, drivers may get a low battery voltage warning, the battery may die, or a fire may occur in the engine compartment. NHTSA immediately issued a critical Recall Safety Alert given the grave nature of this safety defect. NHTSA said, “Until these recalled vehicles have been repaired, the safest place to park them is outside and away from homes and other structures.”
- Way back on December 7, 2020, a GM employee submitted an issue to GM’s Speak Up For Safety program following discovery of a dead battery in a 2021 Chevrolet Express at GM’s Wentzville Assembly plant. On December 7, 2020, a short-term containment was implemented at Wentzville Assembly and Springfield-Navistar Assembly.
- December 9, 2020, it was determined that the clearance between the positive battery cables and the engine compartment fuse block assembly attachments could allow contact in some circumstances, causing batteries to drain. On
- December 23, 2020, service bulletin #20-NA-225 was issued which directed technicians to trim back anti-rotation tabs on positive battery cables for 2021 Chevrolet Express and GMC Savana vehicles experiencing low battery charge after sitting a short period of time.
- January 21, 2021, GM’s Field Service Engineering group was notified of an underhood battery fire on a 2021 Chevrolet Express. Review of dealer-provided photographs suggested that the fire originated at the positive battery cable attachment near the fuse.
- January 26, 2021, GM opened an investigation on the battery cable-to-fuse clearance on.
- February 2021, GM’s investigator researched two warranty claims from December 21, 2020 and January 8, 2021 involving underhood fires in 2021 Chevrolet Express vehicles. In both cases, the engine compartment fuse block assembly had to be replaced.
- March 1, 2021, GM became aware of a fourth fire; this one on a 2021 GMC Savana. Dealer-provided photographs support the conclusion that fire originated at the positive battery cable attachment near the fuse.
- March 11, 2021, GM’s Safety and Field Action Decision Authority decided to conduct a safety recall. GM is not aware of any accidents or injuries associated with this condition.
Dealers will remove a portion of the anti-rotation tab on both positive battery cable terminals near the engine compartment fuse block assembly attachments. All covered vehicles are under warranty, so reimbursement is not offered.
NHTSA urges all consumers to report any safety concerns online or by calling our Vehicle Safety Hotline (Toll-Free: 1-888-327-4236 / Hearing Impaired (TTY): 1-800-424-9153). Vehicle owners can visit NHTSA.gov/recalls and enter their 17-digit vehicle identification number to see if their vehicle is under recall. If it is, vehicle owners should call their nearest dealership immediately to schedule a Free interim repair.