Carmaker General Motors (GM) has recalled more than 8,400 brand-new vehicles for transmission problems that could cause them to roll away when at rest. According to the recall, the affected vehicles have faulty sun gears in their transmission that could fail to engage. The recall includes five of GM’s flagship makes and models, including:
- 2022-2023 Cadillac XT5s
- 2023 Cadillac XT6
- 2023 Chevrolet Blazer
- 2023 Chevrolet Traverse
- 2023 GMC Acadia
The recall was issued in late March 2023; owners should have received letters regarding the issue in May 2023. Owners are instructed to use the parking brake when parking and bring their vehicles to the nearest certified dealership to replace the faulty parts at no charge.
Transmission problems like this can pose a serious threat to owners, drivers, and everyone else on the road. Here’s what you should know about these potentially dangerous vehicles, how to tell if your car may be affected, and when a recall contributes to making a car a lemon.
GM Vehicles May Roll Away While Parked
According to GM, the vehicles affected by the recall were constructed with “dimensionally incorrect sun gears” in the transmission. These gears are critical components of the transmission system. Sun gears are responsible for transferring the power generated by the engine to the wheels. They must be precisely sized to fit the rest of the transmission, or the car will not reliably respond to the driver.
In the case of the GMC and Chevy recall, it appears that the gears were slightly too small. As a result, the gear’s teeth do not mesh correctly with the rest of the transmission. This can lead to a variety of problems, including:
- Slippage, where the sun gear doesn’t connect appropriately when changing gears
- Stripping, where the teeth of the gears damage each other and wear down over time, reducing their ability to engage properly
- Separation, where the gear completely fails to connect with the rest of the transmission
Separation is what causes the rollaway issue. The transmission is not just responsible for causing the wheels to move when the vehicle is in drive. It is also responsible for keeping the wheels from moving when the car is in park. If the sun gear isn’t properly sized, it may separate from the rest of the transmission, essentially putting the car in neutral. That permits the vehicle to roll away if parked on a slope. Rollaway cars can cause property damage, serious injuries, or death depending on how far they move and what they hit on the way.
Rolling away isn’t the only problem caused by a faulty sun gear. The problem may prevent the car from shifting into drive when it is started. This is less dangerous but still prevents the owner from safely using the vehicle as intended.
5 Signs Your Cadillac or Chevrolet Has a Faulty Transmission
You can check your vehicle’s VIN on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration website to find out if your specific car was included in a GMC recall, Cadillac recall, or Chevrolet recall. However, any vehicle can have defects like the sun gear problem. Five common signs of a faulty transmission include:
- Grinding noises from the engine: When the transmission’s gears aren’t engaging properly, you may hear a grinding noise from the front of your car as the teeth slip across each other.
- Rough or delayed shifting: Clunky gear shifting is a frequent sign of transmission trouble. This can present as a rumble or vibration when changing speed or a delay between hitting the gas and the car speeding up.
- Slipping gears: If the sun gear is defective, the transmission may struggle to stay in higher gears. If your car randomly downshifts, the transmission may be failing.
- Reduced acceleration: Similarly, the transmission is probably at fault if your car can’t reach or maintain normal highway speeds or if it takes much longer to accelerate than it should.
- Failure to move when in drive and the gas pedal is pressed: If you put the car in drive and your engine revs like it’s in neutral when you hit the gas, the sun gear has disengaged.
Can a Recall Make a Car a Lemon?
Many Cadillac, Chevrolet, and GMC owners are rightfully upset about the transmission recall because their vehicles are basically brand new. If you’re one of these owners, you may be looking for ways to hold GM accountable for selling you a defective car. One way to do this is by filing a California lemon claim.
While a single recall isn’t enough to make a new car a lemon, it can contribute to your claim. In California, a vehicle is considered a lemon if it’s under warranty and the carmaker has failed to repair a manufacturing defect in a reasonable number of attempts.
This law means that a defect that causes a recall isn’t grounds for a lemon claim on its own. However, recalls are only issued for safety defects. The threshold for dangerous manufacturing defect lemon claims is just two failed repair attempts. In other words, you may have a Cadillac, Chevrolet, or GMC lemon if the dealership was unable to repair it for good after two tries.
Talk to the Experts About GMC, Chevy, and Cadillac Lemon Claims
You shouldn’t be forced to live with a dangerously defective vehicle. If you think you have a Cadillac, GMC, or Chevrolet lemon claim in California, get in touch with Johnson & Buxton – The Lemon Law Guys. We have years of experience helping California car owners get compensation for their defective vehicles. Schedule your consultation with our expert lemon law lawyers today to learn how we can help you file your GM lemon claim.