If You Have One of These Chevy Cars, It Could Catch on Fire, GM Warns

Ten of these cars have caught on fire in less than a year, causing concern over its battery.

Everyone knows their car needs a check-up or tune-up periodically, but even maintaining those regular visits to your dealership or mechanic may not prevent you from dealing with a very serious problem if you own a certain Chevrolet vehicle. GM recently announced the recall of one type of Chevy car, including all models from the past six years, due to a handful of reported incidents of the vehicle in question setting ablaze. Read on to find out if your car could be affected and what to do if so.

GM has issued a recall on all Chevy Bolt models from 2017 to 2022.

Michael McDaniel, 30, of Bakersfield, completes his purchase after charging his 2019 Chevy Bolt rental at a charging station at the corner of Bay and Columbus in San Francisco, Calif., on Thursday, September 26, 2019. It took nearly an hour to charge his vehicle at the total of $6. (Photo By Yalonda M. James/The San Francisco Chronicle via Getty Images)
Yalonda M. James/The San Francisco Chronicle via Getty Images

On Friday, GM issued a voluntary recall of its Chevrolet Bolt, one of the behemoth car maker's most successful entries into the electric vehicle market.

The recall, which includes both Chevy Bolt EVs and Bolt EUVs, pertains to more than 73,000 cars manufactured between 2019 and 2022. It's an extension of a previous recall of Bolts built between 2017 and 2019 that the company issued in November, according to the Associated Press. The initial recall included about 69,000 Chevy Bolts, making it now 142,000 affected cars in total.

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There have been at least 10 reports of the cars catching on fire.

Its name is seen on body of the new Chevy Bolt EV, an electric car
Alex Wong/Getty Images

According to GM, this latest recall is because of a problem with the lithium-ion batteries. In rare cases, GM said in a press release, two defects in the manufacturing of the batteries resulted in fires.

GM first noticed the problem in November, after five separate incidents of Bolts catching on fire, which led to two reports of people suffering smoke inhalation and one house fire. That's when GM issued the initial recall on the earlier Chevy Bolt models.

More recently, a car owner in Chandler, Arizona, reported that his newer model Bolt also caught fire, bringing the total number of Bolt-related fires to 10, GM spokesperson Dan Flores told the AP.

The company wasn't initially sure what was causing the fires. But after several more were reported earlier this year, they determined that they seemed to happen when the car was at almost full charge. They traced the problem to the car's ion battery pack, which South Korean tech company LG produces.

"After further investigation into the manufacturing processes at LG and disassembling battery packs, GM discovered manufacturing defects in certain battery cells produced at LG manufacturing facilities beyond the Ochang, Korea, plant. GM and LG are working to rectify the cause of these defects," the company said in a statement.

Chevy has asked that Bolt owners stop charging their cars overnight and follow a strict protocol.

Electric vehicle charging station

To avoid a potential fire, Chevy recommends concerned Bolt owners follow several steps. For one, Bolt owners should avoid leaving their car batteries charging overnight indoors, when a potential fire could spark and go unnoticed. They also say to "park your vehicle outside immediately after charging."

Owners should also "set their vehicles to a 90 percent state of charge limitation using Hilltop Reserve mode (for 2017-2018 model years) or Target Charge Level (for 2019-2022 model year) mode," the company advised.

Chevy added that if you're a Bolt driver, you should "charge your vehicle more frequently and avoid depleting your battery below approximately 70 miles (113 kilometers) of remaining range, where possible."

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Chevy is also offering replacement batteries for affected Bolts.

electric cars lined up at charging stations
Shutterstock/ Virrage Images

Chevrolet recommends that Bolt drivers stop by their dealerships to have their cars inspected. The company will also replace batteries in all affected models free of charge to the consumer. The Washington Post estimates that the total cost for the battery replacements will exceed $1 billion for GM.

They have also made a concierge service available for concerned customers, which can be reached at 1-833-EVCHEVY. It's open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 12:00 a.m. ET, and Saturday and Sunday from 12 p.m. to 9 p.m. ET.

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