General Motors (GM) is recalling 6,280 police cars because the vehicles can lose electric power steering assist abilities. This can increase the risk of a crash because steering the vehicle will require extra effort. The recall includes model year 2014-2016 Caprice Police Pursuit Vehicles. After an Illinois police department first complained about the problem in September 2015, an investigation confirmed that corrosion of the connector between the electric power steering module and the torque sensor connector may cause a loss of electric power steering assist.
The assigned investigator found that a previous field action for Model Year 2014 – 2016 Chevrolet Caprice vehicles, in which dielectric grease was applied to the torque sensor harness to address fretting corrosion in its connectors, did not provide sufficient protection against fretting corrosion under the heavy usage schedules for police vehicles (often exceeding 20 hours per day).
Since the police use the vehicles for such long periods of time, the connectors are can corrode much faster than they would if they were being used by a typical civilian driver. GM will repair vehicles that haven’t shipped from their plant by applying epoxy to the connector. For vehicles in the field, dealers will replace the steering gear assembly with replacement parts that have gold plated terminals which are resistant to fretting corrosion.
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