General Motors Co. is recalling again 1.5 million vehicles to fix problems with a heated windshield washer system that could cause a fire, the Detroit News reports.
The recall affects a number of 2006- to 2009-model pickups, SUVs and cars sold under the Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, GMC, Hummer and Saturn brands. GM previously launched a similar recall in 2008 to add a fuse to address a potential electrical short, but there have been new reports of incidents since the improvement was made.
Jeff Boyer, GM director for safety, said GM will remove the unit that heats washer fluid, because the supplier who made the module has stopped manufacturing, leaving no chance to design an improved unit. GM will pay each customer $100 when the heated fluid module is removed at dealerships, Boyer said.
The washer is a feature to allow larger vehicles to better eliminate ice and snow on windshields. GM says it is aware of five fires, but no injuries or crashes. Nearly 1.4 million vehicles are in the U.S. More than 100,000 vehicles are in Canada, Mexico and elsewhere.
The models involved include the 2007-2009 model year Chevrolet Silverado 3500 pickup truck, Avalanche, Suburban and Tahoe; Cadillac Escalade, Escalade ESV and Escalade EXT; GMC Acadia, Sierra, Yukon and Yukon XL; and the Saturn Outlook.
The recall also covers the 2009 Chevrolet Traverse, the 2008-2009 Buick Enclave and Cadillac CTS, and the 2006-2009 Buick Lucerne, Cadillac DTS and Hummer H2. GM in 2009 dropped the Hummer and Saturn brands as part of its post-bankruptcy restructuring.
“While our analysis shows the number of incidents is very small compared with the number of vehicles on the road, we want our customers to have complete peace of mind,” Jeff Boyer, GM’s executive director of safety said in a prepared statement today. “We always want to make sure customers can count on the safety and quality of their GM vehicle.”
A GM spokesman said the removal of the module will take a mechanic about 20 minutes, at a cost GM did not estimate. The payouts to consumers would total about $150 million if all 1.5 million customers collect the $100 payment for loss of the heated washer feature.
In addition to the 1.365 million vehicles recalled in the United States, about 98,800 vehicles will be recalled in Canada, about 26,250 in Mexico and 38,100 elsewhere, GM said. The company also said that the heated washer system was recalled in August 2008 because of a short circuit. Dealers installed a fuse in the module wiring to fix the problem.
In June 2009, GM discovered a new failure in the system. The failure caused smoke. Since then, it has received five reports of the system causing a fire. [via Reuters and Detroit News; video by Newsy]