General Motors has issued a product defect recall for nearly 150,000 Buick and Chevrolet SUVs because the emergency spare tire jacks in these vehicles may break when they are in use. According to Consumer Reports, if the tire jacks break when a vehicle is lifted, it could collapse and cause serious injuries to anyone near or under the vehicle. So far, GM knows of one injury as a result of this product defect.
Details of the Recall
The recall includes Buick Encore GX and Chevy Trailblazer SUVs, and is expected to begin in late July. Until the jack is replaced, GM says vehicle owners should contact Chevrolet Roadside Assistance Center at 800-243-8872 or the Buick Roadside Assistance Center at 800-252-1112 instead of trying to change a tire using the emergency jack.
Because there is a shortage of replacement parts, new vehicles affected by this recall may be sold without an emergency jack, with a replacement to be provided to owners at a later date. The emergency jack could fail if it is not positioned properly as a GM engineer found when a jack broke during durability testing on a 2021 Chevrolet Trailblazer in March 2021. After opening an investigation into the failure, the automaker discovered that the jack had been wrongly positioned. The automaker said it has identified 21 reports of emergency jack failures in these vehicles.
Product Liability Issues
Defective tire jacks can result in catastrophic injuries or even fatalities. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that more than 10,000 people are seriously injured each year while using a car jack or a similar type of hoist. A study by the National Center for Statistics and Analysis showed that about 40% of car jack failures occurred when the vehicle was being partially lifted for tire changes. About 18% of these failures were linked to pressure loss in the jack, which means it could not support the vehicle. Some of the common injuries reported in these types of car jack failures include amputations, fractures and internal organ damage.
When these types of products fail causing serious injury or death, the manufacturer of the faulty device can be held liable for the injuries, damages, and losses caused. Injured victims can seek compensation for damages including medical expenses, lost income, hospitalization, cost of rehabilitation, pain and suffering and emotional distress. An experienced product defect lawyer will be able to advise injured victims and their families regarding their legal rights and options.