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General Motors has been enduring some serious problems with recalls recently, and it is hoping to avoid launching another major safety campaign. 200,921 2014 Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra pickups are under the microscope due to a rare problem with their instruments, an issue GM calls calls "inconsequential to motor vehicle safety." The Detroit-based automaker believes that the glitch is so minor that it has filed a petition with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration asking the government safety watchdog for permission to pass on recalling the vehicles.

The fault at issue can occasionally cause the instrument cluster to reset when drivers use the steering wheel controls to browse songs from an external media device connected to the truck's USB ports. If a song's title information exceeds 2,000 bytes, according to The Detroit News, then the instrument panel can reset, which in turn causes the gauges, shift position indicator and cruise control telltale to turn off briefly. When rebooting, other instrument panel lights may briefly illuminate without their functions actually being activated. GM claims that if this does happen, the instrument display lights go out for about 1.5 seconds and the bulb check lasts a further five seconds. However, this snafu has no actual affect on the truck's operation. The glitch is present in trucks built between January 29, 2013, and October 28, 2013.

GM apparently first found the problem in a test vehicle on September 20, 2013, and it confirmed the cause in October. It sent a letter to NHTSA at the end of October asking for an exemption to a recall. "We do not think this issue presents a threat to safety and we are asking the NHTSA to agree. We will wait for the agency's response and if the petition is rejected, we would conduct a field action," said GM spokesperson Alan Adler to Autoblog in an email. According to The Detroit News, the only reported cases of the problem have been in GM's test fleet. The letter submitted to NHTSA is attached below.

Show full PR text
The following information is submitted pursuant to the requirements of 49 CFR 573.6 as it applies to a determination by General Motors of a noncompliance involving certain 2014 model year (MY) Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra vehicles.

573.6(c)(1): Chevrolet and GMC Brands of General Motors Company

573.6(c)(2)(3)(4): This information is shown on the attached sheet.

573.6(c)(5): General Motors has decided that certain 2014 MY Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra vehicles fail to conform to Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) 101, Controls and Displays, S5.3.1 e, and FMVSS 102, Transmission Shift Lever Sequence, Starter Interlock, and Transmission Braking Effect, S3.1.4.1. On some vehicles, the instrument cluster will reset if a customer uses the steering wheel controls to browse and select songs to play from an external device plugged into one of the USB ports. When the cluster resets, the analog gauges and identifications, the PRNDM indicator and the Cruise Control telltale will turn off momentarily. Instrument cluster telltales will be illuminated briefly without the presence of their underlying conditions.

573.6(c)(7): GM was notified on September 20, 2013, of an occurrence of this condition by a third-party conducting vehicle evaluations on behalf of General Motors. Upon notification of the incident, the responsible GM Engineering team requested information to understand the issue.

On October 10, 2013, the root cause was determined to be the instrument cluster software, which causes the instrument cluster to reset if a buffer that stores the embedded song titles of the external media overflows due to the song titles being too long. Development of a software solution was immediately started.

On October 17, 2013, GMNA Product Investigations began to investigate the issue as a potential noncompliance.

The software solution to correct the condition in production as well as to be used for a potential field remedy completed validation on October 22, 2013.

The issue was presented to the Field Performance Evaluation Review Committee and on October 24, 2013, the Executive Field Action Decision Committee decided that the vehicles were not in compliance with the requirements of FMVSS 101 & 102.

Vehicles at the two involved assembly plants were placed on a shipping hold pending their correction with the revised software. Instrument clusters with the revised software were implemented in production on October 25, 2013 and October 28, 2013.

573.6(c)(8): General Motors intends to submit to the agency a petition for an exemption from the notice and remedy provisions of the Safety Act because this noncompliance is inconsequential to motor vehicle safety.

573.6(c)(10): GM does not at this time plan to make a statement to the media concerning the subject matter of this compliance action or submit any notification letters to owners or dealers. If the petition is not granted, General Motors will conduct a field action and provide the dealer bulletin and owner letter when available.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 40 Comments
      NAIF S
      • 1 Year Ago
      I realize that the readers of this blog do not need to hear it from me but, it seems what is "INCONSEQUENTIAL" to GM is its QUALITY and its CUSTOMERS.
        elprogramer
        • 1 Year Ago
        @NAIF S
        A defective piece would be covered under the warranty. A safety recall is another matter entirely.
      redssstew
      • 1 Year Ago
      For a Company Desperate to change its Public Perception, they should just get ahead of this without anyone asking them too. Just Fix the Damn Trucks and give owners reassurance that you care! Me being the owner of a Cobalt SS, I am more than a little upset at how they have put my life in danger!
        Jerry
        • 1 Year Ago
        @redssstew
        I sold my LS earlier this week. Final straw in a string of quality issues and recalls...
      That Mike
      • 1 Year Ago
      This will only affect people who keep their music collection very organize. Depending on the language use a character is either 1 or 2 bytes, so a person using /jump_drive/my_music/year/genre/artist_name/album/filename.
      Avinash Machado
      • 1 Year Ago
      Very bad for their image.
      carboy55
      • 1 Year Ago
      Take it from Chrysler, sparring with NHTSA doesn't turn out well.
      WHO
      • 1 Year Ago
      GM claims their failure ignition switches are insignificant also! Sadly people die because GM thinks things are unimportant.
        carguy1701
        • 1 Year Ago
        @WHO
        Riiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiight, because Honda totally hasn't ignored things like brake rotors that warp after ~10k miles and rear suspension components that warp, leading to excess negative camber.
      Andrew
      • 1 Year Ago
      typical autoblog anti GM hate this s stupid it isn't even GM fault you shouldn't have song titlrs over 2000 letters besides this is such a minor glitch who cares stupid micro$oft makes buggy crap yet stupid sheep buy there crappy os I only buy apple they are the best ever thats why micro$oft goes wuth FORD crappy products GM and apple for me only simply the best better than all the rest better than anyone even you
        Bryant Keith
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Andrew
        is this language? How does someone manage to be this intoxicated at noon?
          hp
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Bryant Keith
          He's probably on one of his UAW beer/marijuana breaks.
          mhart27
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Bryant Keith
          For a second I thought he was an Autoblog writer;)
      Rotation
      • 1 Year Ago
      This problem is ridiculously minor. If you have any songs with titles that long (you don't), then rename them or just don't play them. This is not recall-worthy.
        Arizonarelax
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Rotation
        A GM instrument cluster RESETS because a title in a song is over 2000 bytes. GM said, "We do not think it presents a safety risk..." but did not confirm that it will NOT present a safety risk. Now if I understand your statement correctly, you are suggesting a workaround, for this "bug". Just curious, have your renamed your song titles exceeding this field length? Have you tested your suggestion? By using your suggested fix, am I no longer at risk of my dash resetting and did you confirm I am no longer at a safety risk? It's a good thing you said to do this and not throw-away all of my media devices that allow for long song titles.
          Rotation
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Arizonarelax
          Yes. I renamed all my songs to have titles less than 2K. Less than 1K even. It's not all your media devices, it is only USB mass storage class devices. Your interpretation of GM's statement is bizarre. You act like they don't know the effects. They do know know the effects, they just don't think your dash "winking" is a safety risk. They can confirm they do not feel it presents a safety risk and that's as far as they can confirm, because they cannot know NHTSA's opinion on the matter until it is rendered.
          Rotation
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Arizonarelax
          Yes. I have ensured all my song titles are under 2k. Under 1k in fact. It's not media devices, it's USB storage devices.
        gazaer
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Rotation
        Ridiculously Minor? - Space Shuttle Challenger - The Comet Aircraft - Jeep Death Wobble There is more but my point is with the amount of electronics going in today's vehicles greater QA should be given. Resetting a dash due to field length is a bit extreme. It should just error out.
          Bernard
          • 1 Year Ago
          @gazaer
          It shouldn't cause any error, it should truncate gracefully. Sanitizing user inputs is a very basic first step in creating secure software. Unfortunately security is often over looked by development teams trying meet requirements on a demanding timetable. Of course, I would expect software security to be a higher priority in a car/truck, but I'm not the one counting the beans.
      Aurio Salimonne
      • 1 Year Ago
      Professional grade truck,professional grade company!!and Ms Marry Bara is not new on this place she is been at GM for 30 years,great job,and S.A.I.C. Or Daewoo won't help here to get blame for!
      greg
      • 1 Year Ago
      another reason not to buy a silverado besides the Porsche 911 style redesign (lazy) and now the gauge panel is flummoxed by a long title of a song. all the reason to buy a Ford F150.
      Bernard
      • 1 Year Ago
      Why on earth would a song title be 2,000 bytes? Did someone use their college thesis for a song title? Sheesh.. Why can't the NHTSA spend all those tax dollars on real problems?
        merlot066
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Bernard
        We're not talking MB, we're talking single bytes. A blank word document is over 9,000 bytes.
      m_2012
      • 1 Year Ago
      I wonder which song titles shut the truck off? Allowing infotainment CANbus onto the main bus - amatuers.
        Jerry
        • 1 Year Ago
        @m_2012
        Guessing Pink Floyd's Shine On You Crazy Diamond should do the trick. Has anyone tried it yet?
        Rotation
        • 1 Year Ago
        @m_2012
        What makes you think it's the main bus? All that happens is the dash reboots. The car doesn't turn off. The windows don't go down. The cruise doesn't even turn off. It appears the dash displays track titles, so it needs this info, so it legitimately gets it. It just fails to range check it and so overflows a buffer.
          m_2012
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Rotation
          Then it should be no problem to fix.
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