Chevy issues another fire-related Bolt EV recall

Chris Teague

Chris Teague

bolt ev recall

Despite being a value-packed EV with decent features and solid range, the Chevrolet Bolt EV has been through the wringer over the last few years. Between 2020 and 2021, Chevy recalled every Bolt it had made to that point because of a battery defect and increased fire risk. We’re now learning of the third fire-related Bolt EV recall, but this time it’s due to a very specific defect in certain 2017-2023 Bolt models: The seatbelt pretensioner can unintentionally explode, igniting the carpet nearby.

bolt ev recall

The issue came to light in September when a 2018 Bolt caught fire in Korea after a collision. Officials determined that the fire originated around the B-pillar, and GM opened an investigation a few weeks later. The automaker found three potentially related incidents and issued the recall on December 8. Pretensioner systems activate during a collision to remove slack from the seatbelt and secure passengers in their seats. The propellant that helps clamp down on the belt creates a small explosion, which can get a little out of hand in this case.

Dealers will repair the pretensioners in two phases, depending on the type of fix needed. Some cars will need metal foil on the carpet near the pretensioner, while others will also need a pretensioner cover installed. Owners needing the simple foil fix will be notified first, followed by owners needing the cover.

bolt ev recall

GM began installing the foil at the factory in late October, so the absolute newest Bolts aren’t included in this recall. The slightly larger Bolt EUV is also not involved, nor are Bolt models in the GM Cruise fleet (autonomous driving division). 

The previous recalls in 2020 and 2021 involved every Bolt built to that point. GM halted production until it could work with battery supplier LG on a fix. During that time, owners were advised to limit maximum charging to 90 percent and charge after each use instead of running down the battery.

Another fire-related recall is a bad look for Chevy, but the car has a long list of redeeming factors in its favor, not least of which is its bargain-basement price tag. The Bolt is thousands cheaper than some of its closest competitors, and buyers don’t have to give up on having the best features to get that price.

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