Years after complaints first emerged against General Motors, owners are still seeking solutions to their cracked dash woes. If you own a Chevrolet Silverado or Tahoe, or any of the other 2007 to 2014 model-year GM vehicles that were affected by this frustrating issue, we’ve got an update for you.
GM Cracked Dash Class Action Lawsuit: Court Rules to Dismiss
After many rescheduled court hearings, affected GM owners finally have an answer—and it’s not the answer they were hoping for. On February 8, 2019, the court ruled in favor of GM and dismissed the case.
Despite this ruling, however, the court granted plaintiffs the opportunity to replead some of their claims. In the meantime, owners still facing cracked dash problems can file a complaint with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
If you haven’t yet, you may also want to join this Facebook group for ongoing updates from other GM owners who are facing the same cracked dashboard issue.
A Quick Recap: GM Asked to Recall Vehicles with Dashboard Cracking Issue
In 2015, Mississippi resident Kyle Moncrief reached out to WMC Action News 5 after discovering a large crack on the dashboard of his 2011 GMC Yukon Denali, prompting the news channel’s investigators to dig deeper into the issue. What they found was that there had been numerous complaints concerning cracked dashboards on the NHTSA database, with at least eight of them coming from owners of the same vehicle. There were also around 34 similar complaints from 2008 Chevy Tahoe owners.
WMC Action News 5 appealed to the NHTSA on Moncrief’s behalf, but to no avail. They also attempted to get GM to initiate a recall voluntarily, but while they acknowledged the issue, GM insisted that the recurring defect was, quite literally, on the surface.
“Our engineers have investigated complaints of cracks in dashboards as described by WMC and concluded that they do not affect vehicle safety,” GM Communications spokesperson Tom Wilkinson said.
GM did end up paying for Moncrief’s dashboard replacement a week later. But there were still many other customers who were facing the same problem, and with the company still refusing to announce a recall for vehicles affected by the cracking issue, a number of GM owners eventually took matters into their own hands.
It was around this time that a Change.org petition was started to urge the company to recall. Signed by more than 10,000 supporters, the petition asked GM to recall certain 2007 to 2013 vehicles, including the Silverado, Tahoe, and Suburban.
A few years later, GM owners decided to take the fight to the district courts.
GM Owners Initiate Cracked Dash Class Action Lawsuit
The class action against GM was filed in 2018 in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, with plaintiffs coming from more than 20 states. According to the lawsuit, GM should be held accountable for the allegedly defective design that was supposedly causing cracks in dashboards of vehicles such as the Yukon, Silverado, Tahoe, and more. Plaintiffs stated that the issue not only ruins vehicle aesthetics, but also creates a possible safety hazard.
Owners are convinced that a cracked dashboard could compound the severity of a car crash, stating that it could shatter into pieces upon airbag deployment and send shards of dashboard flying at both the driver and their passengers.
The shards, owners said, could also lacerate the airbags and render them useless.
Not Just About Safety—Dash Cracks Equal Diminished Value
Aside from the aforementioned safety concerns, owners of affected Chevy and other GM vehicles have also expressed worry over the diminished resale value of their trucks due to these cracks in their dashboards. Any lasting remedy entails a lofty price that GM has refused to pay—up to $2,000 in repair and replacement costs per dash.
“My 2009 GMC Yukon SLT has a cracked dash at the corner of the airbag, as well as several other cracks. Took it to the dealer for repair and they quoted a repair price of [$1,800],” one owner lamented.
Another owner of a GMC Yukon SLT shared the same sentiment: “I contacted GM and they were simply unconcerned since the auto was out of warranty. It’s a $1,000 repair at the local dealer. One would think that a company like GM would be more willing to stand behind their product with more pride.”
He added, “I have been a GM owner for over 40 years and now I am not sure what type of vehicle I will buy next.”
Possible Causes: Bad Dashboard Design and Cheap Plastic?
Owners claim that GM shifted from a multi-piece to a one-piece dashboard design, which could have caused the ubiquitous flaw, given the lack of relief points to counter additional strain placed on their dashboards.
Others say GM overtightened the bolts securing the dash in place, leading to additional stress on the component.
There are also claims stating that GM used cheap plastic in manufacturing the part.
Naturally, dashboards can break from overexposure to the sun. The lawsuit, however, claimed that the issue cannot be pinned on excessive heat as the cracks in multiple GM vehicles in the same exact locations on the dashboard (particularly around the passenger airbag cover) and in various environments.
The trucks covered by the GM cracked dash class action lawsuit are as follows:
- 2009-2014 Cadillac Escalade
- 2009-2014 Chevrolet Avalanche
- 2009-2014 Chevrolet Silverado
- 2009-2014 Chevrolet Suburban
- 2009-2014 Chevrolet Tahoe
- 2009-2014 GMC Sierra
- 2009-2014 GMC Yukon
Fixing Your Cracked Dash Problem
Owners are advised to fix cracked dashboards at the first opportunity. Having it professionally fixed or replaced can cost you around a thousand bucks or more, which is why installing a dash cover appears to be the quickest remedy. Another option, however, would be to purchase a dashboard repair kit (you may also use any leather and vinyl repair kit) and fill in the cracks yourself.
“My suggestion is to put a dashboard cover in your car,” said Randy Paton, General Manager of Landers Buick GMC, a dealership in Southaven, Mississippi. “Or maybe put a reflector in your windshield to keep your car cooler. That helps.”
Frequently Asked Questions
Many dashboards can be repaired either by filling in the cracks (then sanding and painting the dash) or by installing a molded dashboard cover over the top of the original dash.
In some cases, you can fill in the cracks, then sand the dashboard down and paint it. You may also be able to find a molded dashboard cover that can be installed directly over the original dash.
It may be possible to stop a dashboard crack from spreading by putting a tiny hole (with a larger diameter than the crack) at the end of the crack. This method should only be used on dashboards made of composite plastics.
The cost of replacing a dashboard will vary, depending on the year, make, and model of your vehicle. On average, however, you can expect to pay between $2,000 and $2,500 to have a professional replace your dashboard.