Weeks after issuing recalls for safety problems in some of its most popular cars, GM says it needs to fix defective fuel gauges that can give SUV drivers little or no warning their vehicle might run out of fuel. GM's latest recall potentially affects 51,640 SUVs that were built in 2013.
GM has been criticized for its handling of recalls this year, which include a steering flaw and problems with ignition switches and air bags. Each of those recalls affected hundreds of thousands of vehicles.
The fuel gauge problem can be fixed by adjusting the vehicles' software, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The agency's website details the vehicles involved:
"General Motors... is recalling certain model year 2014 Buick Enclave, Chevrolet Traverse, and GMC Acadia vehicles manufactured March 26, 2013, through August 15, 2013. In the affected vehicles, the engine control module (ECM) software may cause the fuel gauge to read inaccurately."
Explaining the problem in a letter to NHTSA, GM's investigation unit wrote that defective calibration of the ECM "may result in inaccurate fuel
gauge readings at both the high and low end of the fuel range by as much as one quarter of a tank."
GM says the work to fix the problem will be carried out with no charge to the owners, noting that the vehicles are still under warranty.
"The company doesn't know of any crashes or injuries related to the problem," the AP reports. "GM says dealers will reprogram the software for free, starting immediately. The company will also notify owners by mail."