General Motors is recalling ~53,586 2014-2016 Cadillac CTS vehicles, equipped with heated front seats. The flexible heating mats in the front seats may be damaged over time, resulting in the seat heaters producing excessive heat. In cold ambient temperatures, the seat heaters in these vehicles can turn on automatically when the vehicle is remotely started. If a damaged seat heater is turned on while no one is inside the vehicle, the damaged seat heater can overheat, increasing the risk of a fire.
GM will notify owners, and dealers will recalibrate the body control module, disabling the automatic activation of the heated seat when the vehicle is remotely started, free of charge, as is required by law. GM has not yet provided a notification schedule. Owners may contact Cadillac customer service at 1-800-458-8006. GM’s number for the recall is 18286. Owners may also contact the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Vehicle Safety Hotline at 1-888-327-4236 (TTY 1-800-424-9153) or go to www.safercar.gov.
- On April 18, 2018, GM opened an investigation after consulting with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) regarding a reported fire in a 2015 Cadillac CTS which had been remotely started.
- On May 7, 2018, GM inspected the vehicle with a representative from NHTSA. Due to severe damage to the vehicle, the investigator was unable to determine a clear root cause or ignition source, although the source appeared to be electrical and to originate from the front passenger seating area.
- GM’s investigator reviewed relevant warranty and other field data. The data generally indicated that, although extremely rare, potentially related events appeared to occur in some 2014-2016 Cadillac CTS vehicles when the vehicle had been remotely started and the seat heater had automatically been activated while the vehicle was unoccupied.
- On May 18, 2018, representatives from GM discussed the status of the investigation with NHTSA.
- GM’s Safety and Field Action Decision Authority (SFADA) reviewed the status of the investigation on June 14, 2018. SFADA asked the investigator to conduct additional testing and analysis, including an inspection of vehicles in the field for abnormal seat heater functionality.
- Representatives from GM discussed the investigation with NHTSA on June 20, July 24 and August 16, 2018. Additional testing and analysis was ongoing throughout this time, including forensic analysis of potentially affected vehicles in field.
- On August 27, 2018, GM’s Open Investigation Review (OIR) board recommended a safety recall to deactivate the automatic seat heating functionality in these vehicles. SFADA decided to conduct a safety recall on August 30.