DETROIT -- California regulators ruled Tuesday that General Motors must extend its warranty for fuel injection systems on about 700,000 trucks sold in the state.
The California Air Resources Board (CARB) said that GM must extend the warranty to 10 years or 200,000 miles on the fuel injection systems on many model-year 1996 through 2001 SUVs, pickups and minivans sold in the state.
Malfunctioning fuel injection systems can increase air pollution.
The board said the extended warranty could ultimately cost the automaker more than $100 million, a figure that GM disputed. The automaker said that more than 75 percent of the vehicle owners may never experience a problem, and most of the rest have already had the problem fixed.
CARB, a department of the California Environmental Protection Agency, said that the faulty fuel injection systems were brought to GM's attention four years ago. The automaker agreed then to extend the warranty to clean the systems to 10 years or 100,000 miles from the previous three years or 50,000 miles.
"Malfunctioning fuel injection systems can cause significant increases in air pollution," Catherine Witherspoon, CARB executive officer, said in a statement. "We are pleased that GM will fix the problem at no cost to the vehicle owners."
Defective fuel injection systems turn on the Service Engine Soon light. They cause engine misfires, rough idling and hard-start problems that stem from deposit accumulations that may cause some valves to stick and fail, the board said.
Under the agreement, GM will provide a free cleaning of the fuel injection system for any customer who experiences problems. GM will cover the estimated $115 per vehicle cost, CARB said.
If customers have a second fuel injection system failure, GM will replace the parts at a cost ranging from $300 to $350 per vehicle, CARB said.