DETROIT – Under pressure from the federal government, General Motors is recalling nearly 3.8 million big pickup trucks and SUVs in the U.S and Canada to fix a brake problem.
There have been 113 reports of crashes and 13 injuries related to the problem, according to GM, which has an assembly plant in Allen County.
The recall covers the Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra 1500, 2500 and 3500 pickups from the 2014 through 2018 model years. Also included are the Cadillac Escalade from 2015 to 2017, and the GMC Yukon and Chevy Suburban and Tahoe from 2015 through 2018.
GM says that as it ages, the pump in the power-assist brakes can put out less vacuum power than needed, increasing stopping distance and the risk of a crash.
The company is recalling 3.46 million vehicles in the U.S., and it recalled another 310,000 in Canada in June. GM said global numbers weren't available.
Dealers will recalibrate the electronic brake control module at no cost to customers. Owners were to be notified starting Sept. 6.
NHTSA, the government's road safety agency, began investigating the problem in November after getting 111 complaints from owners of poor brake performance.
GM says the problems occur rarely and mostly at low speeds like driving in parking lots. Even with the problem, the brakes “continue to function and exceed the requirements of the appropriate federal motor vehicle safety standard,” GM spokesman Dan Flores said.
The vacuum pump is lubricated with engine oil that flows through a filter screen.
In some of the trucks, oil sludge or other debris can clog the screen, reducing oil flow and causing the pump's vacuum output to drop, Flores said.
The trucks, he said, have a secondary power brake assist system which works when there are problems with the main system, but it is limited at lower speeds. The reprogramming will activate the secondary system faster.
GM isn't replacing the pumps because pump failures are rare and already covered by an extended warranty, Flores said. “This remedy will improve brake performance in any situation where brake vacuum drops,” he said.