Owners of model year 2005-2007 Chevrolet TrailBlazer, Buick Rainier, GMC Envoy and Saab 9-7 SUVs who have faulty gas gauges will get some help from General Motors to pay for the repairs. GM has agreed to pay for half the cost to fix malfunctioning fuel sensors in select vehicles.
The problem of fuel gauges inaccurately representing the amount of fuel left in the tank had led to 668 owner complaints which then prompted the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to investigate the problem in some 865,000 GM vehicles.
The Office of Defects (ODI) described the problem this way: “Consumers have reported incidents of inaccurate and random fuel level reading while driving, resulting in the vehicle running out of fuel and causing vehicle stall with no restart.” Most of the complaints indicated an empty fuel gauge reading after filling the tank. Less than 10 percent involved an engine stall incident.
The NHTSA opened a preliminary investigation into the matter, during which GM developed a remedy procedure and issued a service bulletin to dealers August 10, 2011 to install a new-design fuel level sensor. GM sent letters to owners beginning August 15, 2011. The total population of potential affected vehicles is 867,335.
As reported in Automotive News (subscription required), now that GM has agreed to subsidize half the cost of repairs, the NHTSA investigation is officially closed.
What customers should do
If you are the owner of one of the affected model year vehicles, you should by now have the GM letter. In the letter, GM instructs customers to only take their vehicle to an authorized dealer for repair if they believe their vehicle has the description described in the letter.
If your vehicle needs repair, even though it may no longer be covered by the new vehicle limited warranty and you may not be the original owner of the vehicle, GM will pay for half the cost to repair the vehicle. This is provided that the vehicle exhibits the condition within 10 years or 120,000 miles from the date it was originally placed in service, whichever comes first.
Keep in mind that only vehicles experiencing fuel gauge inaccuracy issues will qualify for the subsidized repairs. As our sister publication TheCarConnection recommends, to be safe, double check your vehicle’s range by resetting the trip odometer every time you fill up the tank.