• Steering component could fail, resulting in a loss of control
  • Recall for 2012 Chevy Express & Suburban, GMC Savana & Yukon XL
  • Dealers will replace defective component at no charge

General Motors announced a voluntary recall of 6,159 large SUVs and vans to address a defective steering part that could fail and result in a loss of steering control.

Included in the recall are both Chevrolet- and GMC-badged versions of some model year 2012 vehicles: the Chevy Suburban and GMC Yukon XL large SUVs and the Chevy Express and GMC Savana full-size vans.

The Express and Savana vans represent the bulk of the recalled vehicles. Only 166 of the recalled vehicles are Suburban or Yukon XL SUVs.

The culprit leading to the recall is a defective pitman shaft, a component of the vehicle's steering gear.

Defective parts that lead to a recall can be found in a variety of ways. Owners sometimes report problems that are determined to be the result of a substandard component. In this case, a GM supplier discovered the defect during testing.

The pitman shaft, a metal component, may not have been properly hardened, a result of an equipment failure in the heat treatment process. Improper hardening could lead to a fracture in the pitman shaft and result in steering loss.

No incidents related to the defective pitman shaft have been reported. Furthermore, GM says testing suggests that, even in "the most severe usage," a failure is unlikely for at least five months.

GM expects to begin the campaign soon, notifying owners starting April 4. GM dealers will inspect and replace the defective part at no charge.

Safety recalls are conducted by automobile manufacturers and regulated by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. More information on this recall can be found on the NHTSA's website, safercar.gov, by searching for campaign ID 12V112000. Alternately, owners may contact GM customer service and reference recall 12055.

What it means to you: GM identified a defective part used on the Chevrolet Express and Suburban and GMC Savana and Yukon XL. Dealers will inspect and replace the part at no charge.

author photo

Nick Palermo is an automotive writer and lifelong car nut. He follows new and late-model used vehicles for AutoTrader.com, writes about vintage cars for Hemmings Classic Wheels and blogs on all things automotive at LivingVroom. He lives in Atlanta with his wife and twins.

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