Under pressure from the federal government, General Motors is recalling over 3.4 million large pickup trucks and jeeps in the United States to resolve the brake problem.
The download covers the Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra 1
GM says that with advancing age, a pump in brake gains can deliver less vacuum power than necessary, increasing the braking distance and risking a crash.
The withdrawal comes after the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration began investigating the issue last November.
Dealers will recalibrate the electronic brake management module at no cost to customers. Owners must be notified by September 6th.
NHTSA, the government's road safety agency, began investigating the problem last year after receiving 111 complaints from owners of poor braking performance. At that time, the agency had nine reports of crashes that caused two injuries.
GM says that problems are rare and mostly at low speeds such as parking. Even with the problem, the brakes "continue to function and exceed the requirements of the relevant federal motor vehicle safety standard," said GM spokesman Dan Flores.
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The vacuum pump is lubricated with engine oil that passes through the filter screen. Some trucks, oil sludge or other debris can clog the screen, reducing the flow of oil and causing the vacuum of the pump to drop, Flores said.
The trucks, according to him, have a secondary brake assist system that works when there are problems with the main system, but it is limited at lower speeds. Reprogramming will activate the secondary system faster.
GM does not replace pumps because pump failures are rare and are already covered by an extended warranty, Flores said. "This protection will improve brake performance in any situation where the brake vacuum is stopped," he said.
The withdrawal comes 10 months after the NHTSA opened its investigation. Asked why it took so long for the recall to occur, Flores said only that the company was cooperating with NHTSA and providing data.
Drivers may feel vibration in the brake pedal or a change in pressure required to depress the brake pedal if their trucks have a problem with the vacuum pump. If the surfaces are problematic, owners will see a message on their dashboard telling them to operate the brake assist system, Flores said.
Although the withdrawal is large, the price will not be high enough for GM to report it to the Securities and Exchange Commission as an event that will significantly affect profits, Flores said. He said he did not know the price.