By on April 1, 2021

A warning was issued today to owners of 2021 Chevrolet Express and GMC Savana vans with 6.6-liter gas engines by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). If a battery short circuit were to happen, there may be a low battery voltage warning, the battery might die, or an engine compartment fire could take place.

The NHTSA called for owners of model year 2021 Chevrolet Express and GMC Savana vans to park outside, away from homes, structures, and any flammable materials Until these recalled vehicles have been repaired, the safest place to park them is outside. 7891 Chevrolet Express vans are affected by the recall, along with 2263 GMC Savana vans. Production dates for the Chevrolet are August 4 – December 7, 2020, and September 16 – December 7 for the GMC.

You can visit and enter your 17-digit vehicle identification number to see if your van is under recall. If confirmed, you should call your nearest Chevrolet or GMC dealership immediately to schedule a free repair. You can also download NHTSA’s SaferCar app for Apple or Android and then enter your vehicle, tires, car seat, or other vehicle equipment, and the app will notify you if the recall is applicable.

Clearance between the positive battery cable anti-rotation tab and the fuse attachment posts is small enough to allow contact. When the anti-rotation tabs on the positive battery cable terminal makes contact with the fuse block assembly attachment post, this causes a short circuit which may trigger a low battery voltage warning, cause a battery drain, or worse, lead to an under hood fire.

On December 7, 2020, a General Motors employee discovered a dead battery in a 2021 Chevrolet Express at the Wentzville Assembly plant, and that same day, a short-term fix was implemented at the Wentzville and Springfield-Navistar assembly plants. Two days later, it was determined what the problem was, and on December 23, 2020, a service bulletin was issued which directed technicians to trim back a portion of the anti-rotation tab on the positive battery cable terminals near the engine compartment fuse block assembly attachments.

On January 21, 2021, General Motor’s Field Service Engineering group was notified of an underhood battery fire on a 2021 Chevrolet Express. Upon review, the evidence suggested that the fire originated at the positive battery cable attachment near the fuse. General Motors opened an investigation on January 26, 2021, and in February 2021, two warranty claims from December 21, 2020 and January 8, 2021 involving under hood fires on 2021 Chevrolet Express vehicles were discovered. On March 1, 2021, General Motors became aware of another fire, this one on a 2021 GMC Savana. On March 11, 2021, General Motors’ Safety and Field Action Decision Authority decided to conduct a safety recall. At this time, General Motors is not aware of any accidents or injuries associated with this condition. With all covered vehicles still under warranty, no reimbursement is being offered.

[Image: © 2021 J. Sakurai/TTAC]

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8 Comments on “NHTSA Recalls GM Vans for Potential Fire Hazard...”

  • avatar

    Can we just take a moment to appreciate that the Express and Savanna were offered with the original (albeit Vortec) 350 at their introduction, and now offer the 5th generation small block in a virtually unchanged body?

    • 0 avatar

      A Vortec 350 and a 4L80E, just about the pinnacle of automotive powertrain excellence. With regular maint. an easy 300,000 mi combo. ….and no expensive replacement parts, most jobs 1 – 2 hr. labor. Please see LS series V-8 with cylinder deactivation for the falling from grace example. Maybe, Toyota’s 5.7L could be close but, with starter replacement issues and ability to drink petrol, it fails as a pinnacle powertrain.

      • 0 avatar

        I had a ’97 K2500 so equipped. Unfortunately it lost its battle with rust long before the powertrain was ready to give up the ghost.

        • 0 avatar

          My dad had two GMC Vanduras. Both were absolute rust buckets. The first one you could see the road you were driving on –beneath the passenger seat. The second, the entire side panels were iron oxide, instead of steel.

          For must be 20 years-plus I saw all of these GM vans with rust forming on the rain gutters above the windshield –and GM never did a thing about it.

  • avatar

    Well, at least the folks from GM have moved in a positive direction from the days of the negative battery cable issues with the early Cruze’s.

  • avatar

    I’m curious how many of these equipped with the big engine are cutaways or chassis cabs. The Express is a sh!tty van compared with the newer competition, but it’s an acceptable shuttle bus and a reasonably decent cube truck.

  • avatar

    I’ll take the one in the picture

  • avatar

    …in Grampa Simpson voice…

    “So you see, kids, this is why it’s called a ‘firewall.’ “

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