Recall Alert: Chevy Caprice Police Patrol Cars Ironically Aren’t Safe Right Now

The Chevy Caprice Police Pursuit Vehicle (PPV) was an iconic patrol car used by most American police departments at one time or another. But as with all good things, the Caprice PPV came to an end eventually. Even years after its discontinuation, however, recalls are proving this model isn’t getting any safer with age. Here’s just the latest issue Chevy Caprice PPV problem to be added to the list.

The death of the Chevy Caprice PPV: Why GM doesn’t make them anymore

The Chevy Caprice PPV has a long-standing history in American law enforcement. It was one of the top choices among departments for many years, lasting through four model generations before GM gave it the ax in the 1990s. But GM knew that although consumers might not have missed the Caprice, there was a solid investment in providing the Caprice to law enforcement agencies.

According to GM Authority, the automaker announced plans for a reintroduction of the Caprice in 2009. However, this time, the Caprice would be produced only as a PPV, sold as fleets to the police in the United States and Canada. The new generation of PPVs was produced and imported as massive fleets from GM’s Holden manufacturing plant in Elizabeth, Australia. Long processing, manufacturing, and importing times didn’t work in GM’s favor. When financial hardships forced the automaker to shut down its Australia-based manufacturing in 2017, the Chevy Caprice PPV died with it.

The newest recall in the Caprice’s laundry list of issues

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Many might assume a police vehicle would be safer and higher-quality than a typical consumer’s car. But while shutting down Australian production is the perfect reason to question GM’s reinvestment in the Chevy Caprice, it’s also the perfect cover for hiding the vehicle’s growing problems. In fact, years after the last models were produced, the recalls are still coming. Everything — from airbags to power steering to seat belts — appears to be falling apart.

The latest recall includes thousands of 2014 to 2016 Caprice PPVs and Chevy SS sedans. And it’s only one of many serious recalls according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, GM issued a recall campaign with the NHTSA on October 15, 2020, stating certain Caprice PPVs could have faulty seat belts. What’s worse is that the models affected by this recall had been “previously repaired under NHTSA recall number 16V-518.”

The previous recall was issued in 2016 when GM discovered more than 15,000 PPVs and SS sedans could have faulty seat belt tensioner cables. These cables could separate from the seat belts, meaning drivers would not be properly restrained in a crash. The most recent recall alleges that “the repair may not have been performed properly” and that the cable could still be at risk of breaking. 

What GM is doing about recalled Chevy Caprice PPVs

After finding that the affected Chevy Caprice PPVs “may not have received a complete repair under the recall,” GM is directly notifying the “owners of the affected vehicles” to help them make an appointment with a licensed dealer, according to GM Authority. However, all 2014 to 2016 PPVs that were affected by the original seat belt cable recall may be brought to a dealer for inspection.

Though GM indicated only a small portion of the vehicles fixed fall under this new recall, dealers will inspect Caprice PPVs at no cost. If found to be faulty, the dealer will replace and repair the seat belt at no charge.