How’s this for deja vu? General Motors is recalling certain 2017 to 2023 Chevrolet Bolt EVs due to a fire risk. If that sounds familiar, that’s because it is. The Bolt EV has already been subject to multiple recalls over fires. But don’t worry! This fire recall isn’t battery-related. It’s actually a lot more mundane than that.
Here’s what the NHTSA recall report has to say.
General Motors has decided that a defect which relates to motor vehicle safety exists in certain 2017 – 2023 model year Chevrolet Bolt EV vehicles. In certain crashes that cause the front seatbelt pretensioners to deploy, the exhaust from the deployed pretensioner may ignite fibers in the floor carpet near the B-pillar.
If you’re not familiar with seatbelt pretensioners, that’s okay. I’m here to help.
They’re basically little explosive charges that detonate in a crash to cinch up a seatbelt, with the aim of preventing your neck from becoming a curly fry. While that’s likely a massive oversimplification, the pertinent information is that explosions like these can create hot gas, and hot gas often doesn’t pair well with flammable stuff like carpet. There’s a certain irony to a safety device potentially causing a fire, but that’s the way it goes sometimes.
The NHTSA defect report claims that the carpet on Bolts has only ignited in three instances, two of which were in the past few months. In case you’re wondering why GM’s only issuing a recall now, it’s likely due to a pattern only emerging this year. Given how 111,242 vehicles are affected by this recall, this means that just 0.0026 percent of cars have already been affected. Recalls are often issued out of an abundance of caution, so GM’s nipping this little issue in the bud.
Fortunately, a fix has already been devised, and it’s much lower-tech than you might imagine. GM plans on putting foil between the carpet and the pretensioner. Yes, foil. Hey, it’s a great insulator often used in both OEM and motorsport applications, so foil seems like a reasonable solution. GM will also fit several cars with pretensioner covers, a fairly minor additional fix all things considered.
So, if you happen to own a Chevrolet Bolt between the model years 2017 and 2023, expect a letter in the post from GM telling you to book in for a free fix at your local dealer. Owner notification is said to happen on January 30, which means it won’t be long now before this issue can be quite literally patched over. If you happen to own a Chevrolet Bolt EUV, don’t worry, those cars use a different carpet design and aren’t affected by this recall.
Ultimately, it’s a fairly standard and mundane recall. But it’s kind of another black eye for the Bolt EV—I’m sure GM was sick of seeing that car’s name in headlines next to the word “fire.” Nonetheless, the Bolt EV remains a pretty excellent car. It’s won multiple awards, including “EV of the Year” over at Electrek, a site historically known for hardcore Tesla fandom (and thus, a tough crowd.) It remains a great deal if you can find one, too.
Just make sure all the recalls are taken care of.
Lead photo credit: Chevrolet
The 2024 Chevrolet Blazer EV Draws A Piano Black Arrow From Its Quiver And Aims It Directly At The Heart Of The Ford Mustang Mach-E
Support our mission of championing car culture by becoming an Official Autopian Member.