General Motors (GM) is recalling 135,400 Buick and Chevrolet compact crossover SUVs, due to a risk the spare tire emergency jack may break during use, and pose a serious injury risk if the vehicle is elevated when the jack fractures.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) announced the spare tire jack recall (PDF) on June 10, following at least 21 reports of problems involving jacks sold with some Buick Encore GX and Chevrolet Trailblazer SUVs, which broke during use.
The reports indicate the plastic emergency jack may fracture if it is not positioned properly under the vehicles, as specified in the owner’s manual. This could lead to the vehicle suddenly collapsing, potentially while a person is under it, which could lead to serious injury or even death.
A GM test driver discovered the issue after the jack broke during a durability test on the Chevrolet Trailblazer. GM started the investigation in April 2021, and also identified at least 21 reports of jack failures, with one incident resulting in an injury.
The NHTSA mentioned in their report that “this jack design may not be sufficiently robust against fractures if improperly or incorrectly positioned on the vehicle frame by the user.”
GM’s investigation determined the jack had failed because it was mispositioned, and that it could fail under load as a result. GM determined the jack was “sufficiently robust” when positioned correctly but decided to conduct the recall because the failures could still occur with customer usage.
The recall affects the jack assemblies sold with model year 2020 to 2022 Buick Encore GX vehicles, and model year 2021 to 2022 Chevrolet Trailblazer vehicles. The jacks were manufactured by Taejung Industrial Co., Ltd. in South Korea.
General Motors is warning consumers to stop using the jack entirely, and says consumers will be given a free replacement jack that will be made of metal. However, GM, at this time, does not have a sufficient number of replacement jacks, and will communicate to dealers at a later date when sufficient inventory is obtained.
Also, newer models or undelivered vehicles of the SUVs may be sold without a jack entirely due to the shortage of the newer model jack.
In the meantime, owners of the affected SUVs should contact the Chevrolet Roadside Assistance Center at 800-243-8872 or the Buick Roadside Assistance Center at 800-252-1112 instead of trying to use the emergency jack.
GM will reach out to owners of affected vehicles by July 26. Consumers may also contact Buick at 800-521-7300 or Chevrolet at 800-222-1020. Licensed GM dealers will replace the recalled jack with the new model as supplies become available.