Letters about the most recent Chevrolet Spark recall are finally being sent to owners. In August, General Motors (GM) issued a massive recall affecting more than 120,000 Chevy Sparks, but it took nearly two months for official notices to be mailed to drivers. This recall involves 2013-2015 Sparks and 2014-2015 Spark EVs, and it’s the second time the manufacturer has had to recall these vehicles for the same problem.
In 2014, GM first recalled 90,000 Chevy Sparks for issues with the engine hood. According to the initial recall notice, these cars had faulty secondary hood latches. The latches were prone to early corrosion, meaning they were more likely to get stuck out of position and fail to hold the hood closed. As a result, the affected vehicles faced a significant risk of having their hoods open and fly up while in motion, obscuring the driver’s view completely. Obviously, this put Spark owners in danger of crashes.
The first recall supposedly solved the problem. However, eight years later, GM issued a second recall for the same issue. The new announcement specifies that even vehicles that were supposedly fixed the first time will need a second repair. GM stated that the supplier of the latches failed to apply enough of the protective coating that prevents rust to the latch and associated parts.
This suggests that more than 120,000 people nationwide have been in danger for a decade due to a manufacturing defect. That’s an unacceptable risk. Here’s why something as small as a car hood latch poses such a threat to safety, other problems with the Spark, and what you can do about issues that the manufacturer has failed to fix.
The Dangers of Loose Car Hoods
The hood of your car plays a vital role in keeping your engine clean and free from debris. However, it can only do its job if it remains down. The secondary latches affected by recalls are responsible for keeping the hood from flying up if the primary latch fails or isn’t fully closed. They can’t perform that task if they rust and remain stuck open.
In that case, the car’s hood is only held in place by gravity. General Motor’s Spark, like most other modern vehicles, has a hood designed to be lightweight and easy to lift when it’s not latched, making routine maintenance easier. Unfortunately, when the latches fail, that means that they’re light enough for a strong wind to lift them up.
Suppose you’re driving on the highway. Your car is traveling at more than 60 miles per hour, generating a significant amount of wind. For Sparks with defective latches, it’s too easy for the hood to fly open. If so, it will completely block your view of what’s happening in front of you, making it impossible to see or even find a safe place to pull over. That’s a recipe for disaster. In fact, it’s led to 22 crashes already.
Other Chevy Spark Recalls and Problems
Hood issues are far from the only problems in the Chevy Spark. According to NHTSA documentation, Sparks have been recalled nine times since the line was first released in the US in 2012. Issues these EVs have faced include loose suspension bolts, faulty electrical equipment, and a lack of seatbelt warnings or key reminders.
The most dangerous problem was a fault that prevented all airbags from deploying in a crash. This glitch occurred in the Sensing Diagnostic Module (SDM) in certain 2019 Sparks. The factory apparently failed to turn off “manufacturing mode” on these SDMs, preventing them from sensing crashes. As a result, no airbags would deploy if these vehicles were involved in an accident. That could put all passengers in these GM vehicles at significant risk of injury or death.
What Can You Do About a Faulty Chevy Spark?
If you’ve had problems with a manufacturing defect in your Spark, you have options. According to California lemon laws, any vehicle with substantial, manufacturing-based mechanical issues that persist after the manufacturer has made a reasonable number of attempts to repair it may be a lemon.
Under state laws, your car needs to meet the following criteria to be a lemon:
- You first noticed a manufacturing defect within 18,000 miles or 18 months of purchase, whichever occurred first; and
- The manufacturer attempted to fix hazardous flaws twice and failed, or less dangerous issues four times and failed; or
- The car has been out of service for at least 30 days due to repairs for manufacturing flaws
If you meet these three standards, you have grounds for a claim.
But what about difficult-to-detect problems like faulty hood latches or airbag glitches? It can be challenging to tell if these problems return. What if your warranty expires in the meantime?
That may not affect your claim. As long as you tried to get your vehicle repaired within the 18-month/18,000-mile window, you might still be able to file a claim. The statute of limitations for warranty claims is four years in California. Even if your warranty has expired, if you discover that the manufacturer failed to repair the problem successfully, you might be able to make a lemon claim anyway.
For Spark owners, that’s excellent news. The initial recall happened within 18 months of sale for most affected vehicles, and the second makes it clear the issue wasn’t fixed the first time. Should it reoccur, you may be able to file a lemon claim to get the problem resolved for good.
Discuss Your Claim With Experienced Lemon Law Attorneys
Lemon claims can be complicated, but you don’t need to handle them alone. At Johnson & Buxton – The Lemon Law Guys, we’re prepared to help. We’ll discuss your case, help you determine if you have grounds for a claim, and advocate for you throughout the process. Call 866-761-2317 or reach out online to learn more about how we can help you get your faulty Chevy Spark repaired, replaced, or refunded.