For Some GM Drivers, The Heat is On: Faulty A/C Problems Raise Questions—and Temperatures

Faulty A/C Problems Raise Questions—and Temperatures

Drivers of popular General Motors vehicles nationwide say they are in a fix: the A/C in their newer-model trucks is not working, and repair parts are nowhere in sight. Among the vehicles affected: Chevrolet Silverado, Tahoe and Suburban; GMC Sierra, Yukon and Yukon XL; and Cadillac Escalade and Escalade ESV.

NBC 5 Responds found 100 cases recently reported to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and scores of other unhappy GM drivers lashing out online. While General Motors acknowledges the problem and a national backlog on replacement parts, no recall or notice to dealers, called a Manufacturers Communication, has been issued.

The situation leaves drivers frustrated, waiting weeks to get their hands on the needed part during the hottest part of the year, and for those whose cars are just out of warranty-- facing repair estimates ranging from $1,100 to more than $4,000.

Take the Kuffel’s of Hoffman Estates, for example. They say their 2015 Chevrolet Suburban was just out of warranty when the air conditioner conked out.

"I couldn’t understand why a vehicle that was only 2-years-old was having trouble with air conditioning," Mark Kuffel told NBC 5 Responds.

A trip to a mechanic confirmed a condenser hose had cracked, draining the car of refrigerant on the spot. From there, the news went from bad to worse for the family of six.

"To get it fixed would be 10-12 weeks for the part to come in," Kuffel recalled, with a preliminary estimate of $1,400.

Online, we found plenty of company for the Kuffels. Drivers who tell NHTSA they’ve waited weeks multiple weeks but can’t get their hands on needed parts. Some who faced estimates ranging from $1,100 to more than $4,000 to fix it. Many drivers in states with summer temperatures that soared above 100 degrees, afraid to put their kids or their pets in their own vehicles.

NBC 5 Responds asked GM if a recall is planned. A GM spokesperson offered this statement:

“We are aware of the part constraints of air-conditioning units available for service repairs of some GM full-size utilities. We have resolved the issue with our supply base, and have already doubled the number of parts produced each week for service repairs. We expect to fulfill the back ordered parts by the end of August, prioritizing those customers who have waited the longest for replacements. We apologize for any inconvenience this has caused, and are working with customers on an individual basis to meet their needs.”

GM also told NBC 5 Responds customers awaiting parts are eligible for a loaner vehicle. That came as news to drivers we talked to, who said they were muscling through the heat, driving with windows down until their dealer could get the needed parts. GM dealerships are getting an earful from customers, but are also at the mercy of the manufacturer’s backlog.

GM confirms the models affected include the Chevrolet Silverado, Tahoe and Suburban; GMC Sierra, Yukon and Yukon XL; and Cadillac Escalade and Escalade ESV, but did not specify which model years. The complaints we saw were mostly about 2014-2015 models.

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