Illuminated badges: the fad every automaker seems infatuated with. They’re a nonfunctional accessory that doesn’t do anything to help you see the road, which makes a recent technical update from GM especially concerning: It seems a bunch of GMC trucks are having their headlights go out unexpectedly, and it’s all due to a malfunction in the light-up badge.
The GM Accessory Illuminated Emblem is a dealer-installed option and, according to a recent post on GM’s TechLink technician info site that was first spotted by The Drive, adding the emblem creates a weak link in the whole front-end lighting system. It seems the wiring harness for the emblem connects to the driver’s-side headlight. A flaw in the design can allow water to get into the connection, causing the driver’s-side headlight and turn signal to flicker, turn on by themselves, or short out.
The turn signal being stuck on sounds like such an infuriating problem for both the GMC owner and their fellow drivers in traffic. You just know they’re calling you an out-of-touch moron as you drive along, inadvertently indicating a turn that never comes. It’s not your fault! You just opted for a silly accessory and now you can practically feel the disdain growing around you.
The problem affects some 2020-2022 Sierra 1500, Sierra 2500/3500, and 2021-2022 Yukon models. GM advises technicians to look for corrosion on headlamp connector and to clean the headlamp terminals. Right now, the best fix to eliminate the headlight and turn-signal issues will render your rad light-up emblem a boring, regular badge:
To prevent further improper operation, bypass the GM Accessory Illuminated Emblem harness by plugging the original headlamp connector from the body harness back into the headlamp assembly. This will temporarily disable the Illuminated Emblem. Permanent repair information will be released when available.
Seems a real bummer to pay that extra $310 to $475 for a fun nightlight for your car’s face, only to unplug it so your headlights will actually let you see at night.
We’re fans of all types of badges here, from the garish glow on the grille of a Mercedes-Benz GLE 350 to the understated stamped badging of days gone by. But the more complex a technology is, the more failure points it has. While the GMC defect is definitely a problem, at least it’s not as bad as Mercedes-Benz’s light up badge, which put potentially 12,799 vehicles at risk for loss of windshield wipers, headlamp and power steering functions.