By: Russell Maas | Published: February 5th, 2013
General Motors is recalling nearly 13,000 Chevrolet Malibu vehicles due to problems with the rear suspension and airbags that may malfunction.
The Chevrolet Malibu model recall was announced by National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) on January 30, after a test fleet driver detected a minor noise and a handling defect caused by rear suspension bolts that may not have been tightened to the specified torque.
As a result of the problems, the rear suspension bolts may progressively become looser, creating difficulty in handling the vehicles, particularly at high speeds, posing an increased accident risk.
General Motors is investigating the exact cause of the defect and has indicated that the rear cradle assemblies were fashioned with manual tooling that was not error proofed to ensure the correct torque of all of the bolts.
The recall impacts Chevrolet Malibu vehicles manufactured by General Motors Company from December 6, 2011 to January 15, 2013, which were sold in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico.
To date, no injuries or accidents have been reported in connection with the defective rear suspension bolts. The loosening of the rear suspension bolts may be initially noticeable by a rattling noise and minor steering malfunction.
In addition to the rear suspension problems, General Motors also expanded an airbag recall issued last fall, to include the following 2012 models; Buick Verano, Chevy Cruze, and Sonic cars in the United States and Canada. The initial recall was announced in November of 2012 and consisted of 2,949 GM vehicles in the United States and 500 in Canada.
The driver side front airbag recall stemmed from a short that may intermittently contact the airbag terminals, potentially causing the airbag not to deploy when necessary, posing an increased risk of injury or death to the driver.
General Motors advised dealers to check the rear suspension bolts’ torque and retighten to the proper specification. GM has sent the dealer bulletin on January 18, 2013 and initiated mailing letters to owners on January 21, 2013. General Motors also advised that the company has not provided notice about reimbursement because all recalled vehicles involved are still covered under the new vehicle warranty. Consumers with recalled vehicles may contact General Motors Customer Assistance at 1-800-353-3867