General Motors is recalling certain 2013 model year Cadillac SRX crossovers and Buick LaCrosse sedans to fix a software glitch that could cause the transmission to shift unexpectedly from manual to automatic mode.

A notice on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) website puts the number of vehicles potentially affected by the recall in the United States at 26,582.

Documentation submitted by General Motors (PDF) to the NHTSA breaks out the recall population as 24,752 2013 Cadillac SRX crossovers built from May 29, 2012 through February 218, 2013 and 1,861 Buick LaCrosse sedans built from April 25, 2012 through March 6, 2013.

The problem

The NHTSA bulletin says that the vehicles in question, which the automaker indicates are equipped with the Driver Shift Control (DFC) feature, fail to comply with the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) No. 102, “Transmission Shift Lever Sequence, Starter Interlock, and Transmission Braking Effect.”

According to GM, a transmission software defect may cause the transmission to unexpectedly shift from DSC (manual) to Sport mode (automatic shifting). GM notes that “if the driver had used the DSC (manual mode) to achieve engine braking, engine braking would be cancelled.”

Loss of engine braking, warns the NHTSA bulletin, increases the risk of a vehicle crash. However, the DSC mode can be re-engaged, GM said, by moving the shift lever to Drive and then back to DSC.

GM discovered the issue on January 9, 2013 in an engineering development vehicle while work continued on the 2014 Cadillac SRX. The software was changed so that it does not affect the 2014 model.

As reported in The Detroit News, GM has no reports of owner complaints and there have been no crashes or injuries due to the condition.

What GM will do

General Motors will notify owners and dealers will reprogram the transmission control module at no charge. The GM safety recall campaign, identified as #13053, is expected to begin on March 28, 2013.

In the meantime, owners of 2013 Cadillac SRX and Buick LaCrosse vehicles with any questions or concerns may contact Cadillac at 1-866-982-2339 and Buick at 1-866-694-6546.

Alternatively, owners of vehicles involved in the campaign may contact NHTSA’s Vehicle Safety Hotline at 1-888-327-4236 or go to  Reference the NHTSA campaign ID No. 13V097000.


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