The pickup truck once was a humble draft horse employed by farmers, artisans and laborers. Now it is grown to a vehicle driven by folks from all walks of life and an outsized symbol of America’s can-do attitude. Its’ popularity is unsurpassed. So it is newsworthy when GM announced that it recalled the 2017-2019 Chevrolet Silverado and the sister GMC Sierra fitted with the 6.6-liter diesel engine in the 2500/3500-series heavy-duty pickup trucks. The manufacturer cited concerns over the optional engine block heater’s power cord, which sometimes short circuits if the heater’s coolant leaks. Contamination of the block heater’s sealing surface during assembly is said to be the cause.
Owners should look for smoke or detect the smell of something burning. They may also notice puddles of anti-freeze from the leaking block heater. The malfunctioning heater may blow a fuse or trip a circuit.
The recent announcement came after previous reports of this problem in early 2019. There was an overall number of 122 complaints by customers on this issue. Between December 3, 2019, and May 28, 2021, 24 cited the problem as a possibility of causing a fire. Ironically, Ford had its’ own recall involving block heaters in 2019.
While they announced the recall, GM has not developed a solution beyond disconnecting the heater. It will offer replacement block heaters and heater cords under a separate customer satisfaction initiative. It will officially send out a notice for the recall in the middle of August, ideally with a solution.
Owners of this model should be on the lookout for this problem and demand that the dealer fix or replace any damaged parts caused by the leak or a fire.