General Motors (GM) has issued a substantial recall impacting over 600,000 2020-2023 Chevrolet Equinox and GMC Terrain SUVs. The recall addresses a particular concern related to the child seat anchorage systems in these vehicles. During the manufacturing process, the anchorage bars were incorrectly powder-coated, potentially compromising their ability to securely hold a child safety seat in place.
The excessive powder coating on one or more of the four LATCH anchorage bars for the rear seat lower child seat raises safety concerns and renders the SUVs non-compliant with Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 225.
What causes the child seat latch anchor problem?
The issue involves incorrect powder-coating of the Chevy Equinox car seat anchorage bars, which could result in an increase in their diameter beyond acceptable tolerances.
This excessive thickness of the paint may cause the bar diameter to exceed the specified 6 millimeter plus or minus 1 millimeter thickness outlined in the Federal/Canada Motor Vehicle Safety Standard- making it impossible to properly attach a child safety seat using the anchorage bar system.
As per the Department of Transportation, the Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children (LATCH) system is an attachment system designed to replace the seat belt for installing a car seat. It has been a standard feature in most vehicles produced on or after September 1, 2002. Recently, GM was made aware of potential issues when Transport Canada notified the company that a 2022 model-year GMC Terrain failed compliance testing for CMVSS 210.2(3)(b).
In response to an investigation conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), GM launched its own product investigation, discovering that one of its suppliers had periodically utilized a coating provider with inadequate process controls to monitor the finish applied to the LATCH anchorage bars installed in their vehicles.
To assess the extent of the problem, GM conducted a survey on 72 employee-owned vehicles, identifying 56 non-conforming parts during the examination.
Which vehicles have defective LATCH Anchorage Bars?
The following GM vehicles may have defective child restraint anchorage systems:
- 2020-2023 Chevrolet Equinox
- 2020-2023 GMC Terrain
Do the affected GM Child Restraint Anchorage Systems conform to the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards?
No, affected vehicles with defective child restraint systems do not comply with Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 225.
Does the manufacturer have a solution for the issue?
Yes, GM announced that dealerships will conduct a thorough inspection of the LATCH anchorage bars and proceed to remove and replace the finish, if deemed necessary, at no cost to the vehicle owners. This service will be provided to ensure the safety and proper functioning of the anchorage system.
Until the remedy is fully completed, owners are strongly advised to utilize the vehicle’s rear seat belts for installing child seats. This temporary measure will ensure the safety and security of children during travel. Owner notification letters were released on June 26, 2023.
What should I do if my vehicle is a part of the recall?
If your vehicle is part of the recall, it is essential to take immediate action to address the safety concern. Here are the steps you should follow:
- Contact the Dealership: Get in touch with an authorized Chevrolet or GMC dealership as soon as possible. Inform them that your vehicle is part of the recall and schedule an appointment for the necessary inspection and repair.
- Inspection and Repair: At the dealership, the LATCH anchorage bars will be thoroughly inspected to determine if they have the excessive powder coating issue. If required, the dealership will proceed with removing and replacing the finish on the anchorage bars to ensure they meet safety standards.
- Use Rear Seat Belts: Until the recall remedy is completed, GM advises owners to use the rear seat belts to install child seats as a temporary safety measure.
- Contact a Lemon Law Attorney and Consider Filing an Individual Claim: If you believe your vehicle’s repeated issues persist even after the recall remedy, it may be beneficial to consult a Lemon Law attorney. They can provide legal guidance and help evaluate if your vehicle qualifies as a lemon under state laws.
Follow the recall process promptly to ensure the safety of yourself and your passengers. Affected GM drivers can reach out to Chevrolet customer service at 800-222-1020 or GMC customer service at 800-462-8782. This recall is identified by the NHTSA campaign number: 23V339000, while GM has assigned the recall number N232403240 for reference.
To check if your vehicle is affected by an open recall, you can visit the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s website. By entering your car’s 17-digit vehicle identification number (VIN) on their website, you can determine if any open recalls require attention.
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