Do you own a Chevy Silverado or GMC Sierra diesel from the past two years? If so, you might want to turn off the engine block heater.
Both trucks from the 2017-2019 model years are the subject of an upcoming recall by General Motors. According to GM, a defective cable on the engine block heater may cause a short circuit and start a fire.
There are two scenarios where the heater wiring can be a fire risk: the first involves frayed or damaged cords that can short circuit, while the second involves coolant leaking into the engine block heater. Both scenarios can cause serious damage at a minimum, especially if the coolant pools around the cable terminals.
The recall affects approximately 364,000 diesel trucks: 324,226 units in the US and 40,319 units in Canada. Of those, about 61,000 vehicles are still in dealership lots.
Affected models include:
- 2017-2019 GMC Sierra 2500 HD
- 2017-2019 GMC Sierra 3500 HD
- 2017-2019 Chevrolet Silverado 2500 HD
- 2017-2019 Chevrolet Silverado 3500 HD
- 2019 Chevrolet Silverado 4500 Medium Duty
- 2019 Chevrolet Silverado 5500 Medium Duty
- 2019 Chevrolet Silverado 6500 Medium Duty
The fire risk was discovered when a QC engineer examined a defective engine block heater that was returned under warranty. After noting the frayed wiring and the potential implications, he submitted a report as part of GM’s “Speak up for Safety” initiative last December.
This triggered an internal investigation by February, and by April the company had logged 19 fire claim incidents involving the engine block heater.
GM recommends that owners of affected vehicles should refrain from using the engine heater function for now. The company will be contacting owners once a repair program is in place.
For further questions, owners can contact GM’s customer service numbers for their respective brands:
- Chevrolet: 1-800-222-1020
- GMC: 1-800-462-8782
If you believe your truck might have been damaged by this scenario, you can also contact the NHTSA hotline at 1-888-327-4236 and mention recall number 18V586000.