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NHTSA Defect Investigations for the 2003 Chevrolet Cavalier

The Office of Defects Investigations (ODI) is an office within the NHTSA which investigates serious safety problems in the design, construction or performance of vehicles. The NHTSA is authorized to order manufacturers to recall and repair vehicles, if the ODI finds a safety issue. NHTSA investigations for the 2003 Chevrolet Cavalier, both ongoing and closed, are listed below:

  1. TURN SIGNAL MALFUNCTION NHTSA Engineering Analysis #EA04028

    Component(s): Exterior Lighting:Turn Signal

    Summary: On May 14, 2004 the Office Of Defects Investigation (ODI) opened a preliminary evaluation (PE04-043) based on consumer complaints alleging that the brake/tail turn signal lamps would not operate properly when either the tail lights were turned on, the brake pedal was depressed, or when the turn signal switch was activated.on September 14, 2004 ODI upgraded PE 04-043 to an engineering analysis (EA04-028).GM states that some brake/tail/turn signal lamp bulbs can prematurely become inoperative due to excessive heat buildup within the bulb sockets.the cause of the excessive heat build up was determined to be a lack of thermal grease placed in between the bulb and the socket. By letter dated October 27, 2004 GM notified NHTSA that it will conduct a safety recall (NHTSA # 04V524) covering all MY 2003 vehicles.GM dealers will inspect the rear lamp bulb socket assemblies and apply thermal grease to them or replace them with new assemblies with thermal grease already attached.model year 2004 and newer vehicles have the thermal grease installed from the factory. The action taken by GM is sufficient to resolve the issues raised by this investigation.accordingly, this investigation is closed.

    NHTSA: For detailed information & supporting documents, see the official NHTSA page concerning investigation #EA04028 »

  2. TURN SIGNAL MALFUNCTION NHTSA Preliminary Evaluation #PE04043

    • Status:
      CLOSED
    • Date Opened: May 14, 2004
    • Date Closed: September 14, 2004
    • Recall: no recall issued

    Component(s): Exterior Lighting:Turn Signal

    Summary: Complainants allege that the rear turn signals fail to illuminate and do not provide a signal to drivers in following vehicles.ODI has received one report of a crash where the complainant braked and attempted to make a left turn and the following vehicle impacted the complainant's vehicle in the driver-side door.in May 2002, GM's supplier made changes to the bulb socket that included stopping the use of thermal-mastic grease in the bulb socket.GM reports that the grease reduces arcing at the contacts and dissipates heat thus preventing melting of the socket material or burning of the contacts.most of the subject vehicles were produced without grease applied to the bulb socket.in June 2003, GM directed the supplier to resume the use of grease in the socket.GM issued technical service bulletin (tsb) 04-08-42-004A on July 15, 2004 advising technicians to make sure that adequate amounts of grease were added to the bulb sockets on all service parts.ODI will upgrade this investigation to ea 04-028 to further examine the issue.

    NHTSA: For detailed information & supporting documents, see the official NHTSA page concerning investigation #PE04043 »

  3. ENGINE STALLING - FUEL PUMP FAILURE NHTSA Engineering Analysis #EA07015

    • Status:
      CLOSED
    • Date Opened: November 01, 2007
    • Date Closed: October 28, 2008
    • Recall: no recall issued

    Component(s): Fuel System, Gasoline
    Fuel System, Gasoline:Delivery
    Fuel System, Gasoline:Delivery:Fuel Pump

    Summary: ODI's analysis of the stalling incidents that have resulted from subject component failures found that they can occur at any speed and generally result in a no restart condition.these are generally considered to be factors that increase the potential severity of stalling incidents.however, these incidents have occurred at relatively low rates in the subject vehicle population when compared with prior investigations involving similar categories of engine stall consequences.even for the early MY 2003 production, where higher failure rates were noted, the rates of pump failures resulting in engine stall are lower than rates recorded in prior investigations of populations that were not recalled.further investigation of this matter would not be an efficient allocation of Agency resources.accordingly, this investigation is closed.the closing of this investigation does not constitute a finding by NHTSA that a safety-related defect does not exist.the Agency will continue to monitor complaints and other information relating to the alleged defect in the subject vehicles and take further action in the future if warranted.see document file for more information about this closing resume.

    NHTSA: For detailed information & supporting documents, see the official NHTSA page concerning investigation #EA07015 »

  4. FUEL PUMP FAILURE NHTSA Preliminary Evaluation #PE07033

    • Status:
      CLOSED
    • Date Opened: June 28, 2007
    • Date Closed: November 01, 2007
    • Recall: no recall issued

    Component(s): Fuel System, Gasoline
    Fuel System, Gasoline:Delivery
    Fuel System, Gasoline:Delivery:Fuel Pump

    Summary: An engineering analysis has been opened to further investigate the scope, frequency and potential safety-related consequences of the alleged defect.General Motors (GM) has identified an issue with accelerated motor brush wear in the fuel pump assembly of model year (MY) 2001 through 2003 Chevrolet vehicles that can cause the pump to stop operating.General Motors indicated that peroxide or sulfur, which are both present in varying amounts in gasoline, can react with the copper commutator of the pump motor and corrode/roughen the surface.a rough commutator surface increases the rate of brush wear.the increased electrical resistance caused by degradation of the brush-commutator interface inhibits current flow through the motor windings.according to GM, the condition will usually result in a no-start condition because of the high current required during start-up.when the alleged defect does cause a stall while driving incident, the vehicle typically cannot be restarted.GM's analysis of warrant claims showed that no start/hard start was the most common condition and the frequency of claims associated with stall while driving incidents was too low to warrant field action. This investigation has been upgraded to an engineering analysis (EA07-015) to further assess the complaint and warranty claim data and the analyses provided by GM.

    NHTSA: For detailed information & supporting documents, see the official NHTSA page concerning investigation #PE07033 »

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