Windshield Wiper Motors Linked to Fire Risk in Chevy Traverse, GMC Acadia, Buick Enclave

Almost 30,000 General Motors vehicles are being recalled due to a manufacturing defect, which may cause the windshield wiper motor in Chevy Traverse, GMC Acadia and Buick Enclave SUVs to overheat when turned on, posing a potential fire hazard. 

A General Motors (GM) recall (PDF) for the current model year vehicles was announced by the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Commission (NHTSA) on October 7, following at least one report from the auto maker’s Michigan plant manager, who noticed an overheating issue during testing. To date, no injuries or fires have been reported in relation to the defect.

General Motors reportedly received notice of the potential problem on September 21, from the factory where the SUV’s are made. Through GM’s newly implemented “Speak up for Safety” program, an investigation was launched within five days and found that the windshield wiper motors could potentially overheat when used. If left on long enough, the GM windshield wipers may cause a fire that may spread throughout the cabin of the SUV’s.

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The recall includes certain model year 2016 Chevrolet Traverse, GMC Acadia, and Buick Enclave vehicles manufactured from August 18, 2015 through September 24, 2015. The NHTSA estimates that 29,295 of the vehicles were distributed throughout the U.S. for sale and another 2,400 were shipped for sale in Mexico and Canada.

GM announced in their recall notice that only 6,400 of the vehicles were actually purchased from dealer lots and the majority of the vehicles are still on dealership parking lots in the U.S.

Owners are being asked to stop using their windshield wipers until the defect has been repaired at the dealer. GM began the recall on October 5, and is asking customers to schedule a repair in which the dealer will replace the windshield wiper motor assembly free of charge.

A similar recall was issued in June 2010, when 1.5 million GM vehicles across 15 different models were linked to a fire risk, including some older models of the Traverse. That issue was caused by a defective heated windshield washer system, which caused at least five vehicle fires. The fires were caused by a defective component received from the supplier, Microheat, which went bankrupt in 2008, after a separate windshield washer system failure resulted in fires. GM remedied the vehicles by recalling the systems, permanently disabling and rerouting the hoses, and paid out each customer $100 for the inconvenience of losing the heated windshield washer fluid system.

The automaker is advising customers that if weather conditions require the use of the vehicles’ windshield wipers, GMC will make arrangements to pick the vehicle up for servicing. Additionally, GM announced that owners will be provided a rental car at no cost if repair parts are unavailable. Owners with questions should contact the customer service centers at Chevrolet at 1-800-222-1020, Buick at 1-800-521-7300, or GMC at 1-800-462-8782 and reference the recall number 15780.


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