Some motorists say that owning a General Motors (GM) vehicle is giving them a headache -- literally.
Several newer models of GM's full-size trucks and SUVs have been the focus of complaints from their owners about vibrations that are causing them to feel dizzy or suffer from headaches. According to complaints filed with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, a few people have reported that some vehicles start vibrating when they hit speeds ranging from 40 to 60 miles per hour.
Owners of 2015 models of the Chevy Tahoe and Suburban, Cadillac Escalade, and GMC Yukon have turned to the NHTSA to vent about the problem, with drivers complaining of discomfort, headaches and vertigo. GM said it's aware of the issue, which the company described as "not common," and said it wants to fix the cars for concerned customers.
"Chevrolet, GMC and Cadillac dealers have a detailed diagnostic procedure to find vibration problems so they can fix them," GM spokesman Tom Wilkinson said in an email. "Costs would be covered by the new vehicle warranty."
But the problem may not be that easy to remedy, according to trade publication AutoGuide. It notes that a GM preliminary information bulletin told dealers to check a vehicle's roof bows to make sure they are properly bonded with the roof sheet metal. In case of a problem, the technicians would need to rebond the roof bows and include new panel control vibration material, although there's no guarantee the fix would work, AutoGuide noted.
GM said the vibration could be caused by issues ranging from tire balance to exhaust resonance. "These are potential problems with any vehicle, but the large interior cavity of an SUV, crossover or minivan can amplify the effect, much like the way the sound box of a guitar amplifies the vibration of the strings," Wilkinson said.
The automaker said vehicle owners who have the problem should visit their dealers to get the issue diagnosed and repaired.
Some people say they've already been to their dealers multiple times to try to find a way to stop the annoying vibrations, but to no avail.
"Vehicle has a terrible vibration," an owner of a 2015 GMC Yukon wrote on the NHTSA complaint site. "Has been to dealer 7 times, for a total of 4 weeks." Fixes included replacing the ring/pinion, driveshaft, axle, putting on new tires, and putting on new sway bars, the customer wrote, adding, "They have no solutions that work across the board."
While it might be a small problem that impacts only a few drivers, GM is still coping with the aftermath of its faulty ignition switches, which are linked to at least 124 deaths. The crisis caused the company to take a hit to its public perception, with some viewing the company as having made business decisions that favored the bottom line over customer safety. The first trial linked to the defective switches is set to move forward this month.