At least 8,519 Chevrolet 2013 Malibu models are being recalled this week after it was revealed by a General Motors letter to the National Highway Traffics Safety Administration that there may be a serious problem with the rear suspension cradles. Discovered during an inspection by a GM test fleet driver in December, the problem stems from specific bolts in the rear suspension that may not have been torqued adequately in the manufacturing process.
The concern around this problem ranges from minor to severe, as drivers could experience anything from strange noises to sudden loss of control while operating the vehicles. According to GM, the severity of concern depends on which bolts were not properly torqued.
“The effect will vary depending on which bolt is involved and the progression of the condition,” a GM official wrote in the manufacturer’s letter to the NHTSA. “Initially, noise and a minor handling defect may be noticed. As the condition progresses, sudden changes in the vehicle handling could occur and the driver may not be able to control the vehicle, particularly at higher speeds, which could result in a crash without prior warning.”
The vehicles in question have already been linked to a supplier that is near the Detroit/Hamtramck Assembly Plant, according to Autoblog, but because the NHTSA has yet to issue a recall notice, it cannot be determined if there will be more Malibu vehicles affected by this manufacturing error. However, the GM letter to the NHTSA states that “an audit of company vehicles was conducted and found no additional vehicles with this condition.”
In the meantime, GM has already begun contacting Malibu owners who may be affected by this rear suspension issue, and the company is instructing them on their next steps. GM dealerships will provide free service to these owners, and they will fix the torque issue at no cost. For additional information, consumers can contact GM at (800) 630-2438.