NHTSA Recalls GM Vans for Potential Fire Hazard

Jason R. Sakurai
by Jason R. Sakurai

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 NHTSA.gov/recalls 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]

Jason R. Sakurai
Jason R. Sakurai

With a father who owned a dealership, I literally grew up in the business. After college, I worked for GM, Nissan and Mazda, writing articles for automotive enthusiast magazines as a side gig. I discovered you could make a living selling ad space at Four Wheeler magazine, before I moved on to selling TV for the National Hot Rod Association. After that, I started Roadhouse, a marketing, advertising and PR firm dedicated to the automotive, outdoor/apparel, and entertainment industries. Through the years, I continued writing, shooting, and editing. It keep things interesting.

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  • EBFlex At the summer property putting boats in the water, leveling boat lifts, cleaning the lots for summer, etc. Typical cabin stuff in the most beautiful place on the planet
  • Lou_BC I've I spent the past few days in what we refer to as "the lower mainland". I see Tesla's everywhere and virtually every other brand of EV. I was in downtown Vancouver along side a Rivian R1T. A Rivian R1S came off as side street and was following it. I saw one other R1S. 18% of new vehicles in BC are EV'S. It tends to match what I saw out my windshield. I only saw 2 fullsized pickups. One was a cool '91 3/4 ton regular cab. I ran across 2 Tacoma's. Not many Jeeps. There were plenty of Porches, Mercedes, and BMW's. I saw 2 Aston Martin DBX707's. It's been fun car watching other than the stress of driving in big city urban traffic. I'd rather dodge 146,000 pound 9 axle logging trucks on one lane roads.
  • IBx1 Never got the appeal of these; it looks like there was a Soviet mandate to create a car with two doors and a roof that could be configured in different ways.
  • CAMeyer Considering how many voters will be voting for Trump because they remember that gas prices were low in 2020–never mind the pandemic—this seems like a wise move.
  • The Oracle Been out on the boat on Lake James (NC) and cooking up some hella good food here with friends at the lake place.
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