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GM 6L90 Transmission Investigation: What You Need to Know

  Norman Taylor & Associates
  October 24, 2023

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is investigating transmission failures in Chevrolet Express and GMC Savana vans. This investigation comes after five reports of failures, raising concerns about the safety of these vehicles; here’s what you need to know.


The Affected Vehicles

The NHTSA is focusing on the 6L90 transmission used in the 2016-2018 and 2021-2022 Chevrolet Express and GMC Savana cutaway models, which are often used as ambulances and school buses.

The investigation is limited to cutaway vans, and the 2019 and 2020 models aren’t affected.


What Are the Reported Transmission Problems?

The complaints filed with the NHTSA allege that the affected vehicles experience a loss of power when shifting into “Drive” or “Reverse,” preventing them from moving.

The NHTSA contacted GM, who found a defect in two production runs of valve body separator plates, which were improperly machined during the manufacturing process. This issue can cause excessive wear to the plastic valve body check balls, leading to transmission failure.


What Was GM’s Response?

GM disclosed to the NHTSA that a total of 89 ambulances and 1,961 school buses are equipped with potentially defective 6L90 transmissions. The company is working to rectify the problem and has implemented quality control measures to ensure future valve body separator plates are machined correctly.


NHTSA’s Evaluation and Potential Recall

The NHTSA’s Office of Defects is currently evaluating the severity of the transmission problems to determine the appropriate course of action. At this stage, no official recall has been issued.

It’s important to note that this isn’t the first recall affecting Chevrolet Express and GMC Savana cutaway models. In a previous recall, approximately 150,000 vehicles were recalled because exposed connectors or cut wires could corrode and cause a fire.


GM’s Future Plans: New Transmissions for 2024 Models

Looking ahead, General Motors has announced a change in transmission options for its 2024 light commercial vans, including the Chevy Express and GMC Savana. The MYD transmission, which is the focus of the investigation, will be replaced with the 8-speed heavy-duty automatic transmission.


The Lemon Law and Commercial Vehicles

California’s lemon law protects commercial vehicles, like the Chevy Express and GMC Cutaway vans. If a manufacturer sells you a “lemon,” they must issue a refund or replacement after a reasonable number of repair attempts.

However, there are additional requirements for commercial vehicles under the lemon law. It must be purchased or leased primarily for business purposes, the business must have no more than five registered cars in California, and the gross vehicle weight must be less than 10,000 pounds.


Think Your Car Is a Lemon? Contact Us!

If you think your 2016 or newer car may be a lemon, contact Norman Taylor & Associates at 818-244-3905. We’re a reputable California lemon law firm that can help you understand your rights and guide you through the process.

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