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GM Recalls 1.5M Cars and Trucks Due to Windshield Washer System Fires

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.

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14 comments

  1. nan Reply

    100.00 is an insult….. everyone paid more then that for this feature .I have already been charged more then that to fix damages from first recall.now I am suppose to take 100 and disable option I paid for????this is same as stealing…………………….is there a class action lawsuit for this??????

  2. Theresa Reply

    I absolutely agree. I know they charged more for this ‘upgrade’ than 100.00. I want a FULL refund since they can’t even offer something in like kind. What will this do to the value of my vehicle?

  3. Cash Reply

    I have 3 Cadillacs afectted by this recall, $100.00 is an insult, I would like to see a class action suit for more money to the owners I am ready.

  4. Melvin Reply

    This is such a slap in the face. I am an American and buy American products when I can. Here I bought a nice GM product and now GM treats me like this. I am very upset and will not allow GM to take out my my heated windshield washer system. It appears GM wants me to buy a foreign vehicle next time. I bought the vehicle with the device included and I expect GM to make the repairs necessary to resolve the problem. At least Toyota stood behind their accelerator problem. Why can’t GM stand behind this small problem? Now I have a problem, if I take my vehicle in for any reason, they will tear out the system. So I cannot have them service the vehicle or have any warranty work completed. I am looking for a class action law suit because I will not let them get away with this.

  5. Craig Reply

    People who believe that GM is not living up to their limited warranty agreement etc by repairing the defective part with a “new or remanufactured part,” please contact your State Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Office and the BBB AutoLine. Also be aware that the successor to Microheat )who made the original product for GM) is Alpha Therm which is offering an updated beefier version of this part which they claim will handle the GM electical system transients (spikes) http://www.alphathermusa.com/ I believe that GM needs to live up to their warranty. If the new Alpha Therm part is not satisfactory then GM needs to say why? Is it a problem with the part or their electrical system? Either way IMHO GM should do a proper fix or face a class action lawsuit.

  6. David Reply

    I agree with the five comments here. I can’t believe that there are only five complaints for the removal of the module. This feature that I paid for was the top of my favorite features in my $50,000 truck. A $100 is pocket change compared to the value of this great feature. I’m due for service and dread the fight over this issue. I would like it replaced or leave it alone.

  7. Tammy Reply

    For you who have chosen to keep the washer fluid heater in your vehicle. My husband’s truck caught on fire as he was driving down the road in the middle of the night. He couldn’t get stopped fast enough so he took in a lot of smoke. This toxic smoke has damaged his lungs sevearly and now he can hardly breath. (7 months later.) He can not go back to work because he can’t pass a breathing test. We have suffered a great financial loss due to this (as someone said) small problem. I Would Gladly take the $100 to have my husbands health back, because we have lost far more than that in lost income. My advise to you if you are still using this heater is to have it taken out today. Don’t go another day with that devise in your vehicle! AND TAKE THE $100. IT”S WORTH IT!

  8. Cavell Reply

    We have always been fans of GM products. We had a 2007 GMC and parked it in garage which was located under kids bedrooms in our multilevel house. A couple hrs. after that smelled hot plastic and found our vehicle in garage on fire. I would recomend getting washer fluid heater removed unless you want same life changing experience we are going through. We are now living in small apt. and kids are afraid of the smell of smoke since they lost everything they had. This fire was said to have been caused by washer heater.

  9. Tim Reply

    I have just been given a terrible runaround by the local GM dealer about my son’s 08 Silverado 3500. This truck has every option on it and truthfully up in the north country (we work in the Oil Industry between Wyoming and North Dakota) the heated fluid is fantastic, one night while heading to a rig to pick up an injured hand it was this feature that allowed us to continue in severe icing and storming conditions. Now when we brought the truck in for a service code, the dealer is insisting on removing the heater, and has treated us rudely at best. Alpha is the successor manufacturer to the OEM for GM and is selling a plug and play unit for $72. This is the first time I have heard of a manufacturer just telling you they were going to remove a component… good grief, and they offer a hundred dollars? This is ridiculous, GM needs to make owners of their products whole, and replace not remove the unit!!

  10. Trina Reply

    It is disgusting that we as consumers are just expected to “BEND OVER”
    like this! We paid alot of money for these extra features and by damned we should get what we paid for!! Isn’t that false advertisement, or is it just shady business ethic?

  11. Michael Reply

    The windshield wipers on my 2006 Cadillac CTS will not turn off. The issue started only 41/2 years after the car was purchased as a new car. Of course, the motor broke right after the 60,000 mile warranty expired. It has remained broken the last 15 months, as it cost about $ 840 to replace. The part cost is $ 570 & labor is $ 200. Add taxes and you get to $ 840.

    Does anyone know of any class action lawsuits on this issue. I don’t go around suing people, but now I am mad. Sign me up.

  12. patty Reply

    i took my car to the deal for service they asked if they could take off the hwws,i said no i took my car back for service they took it i dont know when and i didnt get 100.00 dolars

  13. Henry Reply

    Holy Crap!!! I just purchased a 2008 CTS4 5 days ago and the dealer insisted there were “NO RECALLS” on this vehicle and showed me some carfax report or something indicating the same. The next day after I purchased it I attempted to use the windshield washer and it didn’t work. I wasn’t even aware that it was supposed to have a heated system in it until I pulled out the owner’s manual and saw that it had a button on the console for it. It must have been disabled because nothing happens when I push that button either but no fluid at all will come out to clean the windshield. Now I’m pissed because it’s a safety issue and I’m relatively certain they knew about it. Heading back to that dealer this weekend to gripe and complain and let them know I will be reporting it too the BBB.

  14. Eric Reply

    I’m pretty sure I’m the latest victim of the faulty washer heating system. My vehicle was a 2008 GMC Yukon XL 1500 SLT. I had a brand new engine installed last summer and the front end was all new. My suv was parked in my driveway since about 8pm on Saturday August 8th and at 3:27 am it unexpectedly burst into flames in the front seat. The fire investigators paid a substantial amount of attention to the passengers side dash area on both the inside and engine compartments (the same area that the washer system is in).

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