In an attempt to avoid yet another recall, GM has warned current owners that their oil change intervals will need to be more frequent that what their vehicle will indicate.
This is due in part to the monitoring software that may have been programmed incorrectly, eventually leading to premature engine component wear on the 2.4L four-cylinder engines. The vehicles affected by this non-recall are a selected number of 2010 – 2012:
In all, nearly 800,000 vehicles will need to return back to the dealership for repair. The warning came about after GM began noticing a higher-than-usual amount of warranty claims for the balance chain (the powertrain warranty on a new GM vehicle is 5 years/100,000 miles for Chevrolet and GMC, and 6 years/70.000 miles for Buicks). If you’re not aware of what a balance chain is, it’s the chain that links the balance shaft to the crankshaft. Over time, a prematurely worn chain can led to higher noise levels, and possibly snap, resulting in thousands of dollars in engine repair or replacement.
GM will be offering a software update to the vehicles affected, in order to reduce the intervals between oil changes. Now generally speaking, the intervals greatly depend on a number of factors, including driving style, climate conditions, the frequency that the vehicle is being driven, etc. They will offer the software upgrade between now and February 2015, with the hopes that this will be a sufficient amount of time for owners to bring in their vehicles.
If this were a GM recall, then this service would be done free of charge, and as of right now, they’re saying that it will be, but since it technically isn’t a recall, they do have the option of charging for the software update for vehicles that are currently under warranty. Although they have not formally announced any plans for vehicles that are out of the powertrain warranty, given what has been transpiring with their rival Toyota in the past few years, the complementary repair may be extended to them as well.