General Motors Co. is recalling about 1.5 million vehicles due to a potentially defective heated windshield washer system that has caused at least five fires.
The GM windshield washer system recall, announced this week, affects 15 different models, including passenger cars, pickup trucks, sport utility vehicles and crossovers manufactured between 2006 and 2009. Most of those vehicles were recalled two years ago in an attempt to fix the same heated windshield washer system malfunction. GM initiated this latest recall after it continued to get reports of the systems overheating, including five reports of vehicle fires.
Models affected by the GM recall include the 2006-2009 model year Buick Lucerne; Cadillac DTS; Hummer H2; 2008-2009 model year Buick Enclave; Cadillac CTS; 2007-2009 model year Cadillac Escalade, Escalade ESV, Escalade EXT; Chevrolet Avalanche, Silverado, Suburban, Tahoe; GMC Acadia, Sierra, Yukon, Yukon XL; Saturn Outlook; and 2009 model year Chevrolet Traverse.
About 1.3 million of the vehicles are in the U.S., with the rest in Canada, Mexico and abroad. The recall is the second major vehicle recall by General Motors this year. In March GM issued a recall for 1.3 million Chevrolet Cobalts and Pontiac vehicles due to power steering problems.
The problem in the latest recall, according to GM, is with the heated washer fluid system, manufactured by Microheat; a company that went bankrupt after a 2008 windshield washer recall due to overheating problems with the same system. The problem was supposed to have been fixed at that time, however, GM says it continues to receive reports of overheating. According to GM’s press release, a new problem is causing the overheating and they’ve decided to disable the system altogether.
GM has said that vehicles affected by the recall will have the systems permanently disabled and the hoses rerouted. They will pay each owner $100 for the inconvenience of losing the heated windshield washer fluid system feature.
“This was a unique technology available from only one supplier, and that supplier has stopped manufacturing, which left no opportunity to collaborate on an improved design,” said Jeff Boyer, executive director for Safety at GM. “We want to be clear that the voluntary payment to customers is for the loss of the feature, not the recall.”
GM officials said that affected vehicle owners will begin receiving recall notices in about a month, however they can contact their dealer at any time to have the heated windshield washer system disabled.