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US: Bonnet latch fault prompts Chevy Spark recall

By Graeme Roberts | 3 October 2014

General Motors has recalled 89,294 2013-2015 model year Chevrolet Spark cars in the US to fix a bonnet (hood) catch fault first identified in the UK.

"The involved vehicles were manufactured with a secondary hood latch that may prematurely corrode at the latch pivot causing the striker to get stuck out of position and preventing the striker from properly engaging the hood latch," the NHTSA said.

"If the secondary latch corrodes causing the striker to be stuck out of position, and the primary latch is not engaged, it is possible that the vehicle’s hood may open unexpectedly. If the hood opened unexpectedly while the vehicle is being driven, the driver’s vision will likely be impaired increasing the risk of a vehicle crash."

NHTSA said GM Korea received a report in March this year of three incidents of secondary hood latches corroding prematurely on Chevrolet Spark Vehicles in the United Kingdom. In two of these three incidents, the vehicle hood opened while the customer was driving.

In May, 2014, GM learned of an additional incident of a hood opening on a Chevrolet Spark while it was driving, which occurred in Denmark. During its investigation, GM discovered that the suspect secondary hood latch failed a 10-year component level corrosion test conducted in November 2013. As a result of that earlier failure, GM began investigating the cause of the secondary latch failure in November 2013. By February 2014, GM determined that the anti-corrosion coating applied to the secondary hood latch was deficient and did not meet GM’s requirements. At the time of the failed test in November 2013, all secondary hood latches were coated with an ED coat (electro deposition of zinc phosphate) rather than the required MFC-A coat (a phosphate and oil based corrosion protection coat). The change to MFC-A coating was implemented on 31 July, 2014.

GM’s investigation revealed 10 warranty cases in the US with premature corroding of the secondary hood latches.

Dealers will replace the striker and latch with a new part which has superior corrosion protection, NHTSA said.