GM Recalls 1.5 Million Vehicles for Issue with Heated Windshield Wiper Fluid Module
June 9, 2010

The 2009 Chevrolet Silverado is one of several models included in the recall.

General Motors Corp. (GM) has issued a recall of nearly 1.5 million vehicles that are equipped with heated windshield wiper fluid systems.The company says there is a possibility that in rare circumstances the heated washer module could cause a fire, and has received reports of at least four fires occurring due to the issue, according to information from the National Traffic Highway Safety Administration (NHTSA). Three of these occurred in unattended vehicles.

This is the second recall related to the systems; the first was implemented in 2008 to add a fuse to the control circuit harness to address the potential consequences of an electrical short, which was thought to be causing possible fires. However, even after this was added, GM says it has received new reports of the plastic around the fluid chamber melting, leading to the fire concerns.

"In June 2009, GM found evidence that indicated during the [printed circuit board] short or soon after, one of the two heater relays was activated and overheated the fluid chamber because the module's internal thermal protection device (solder cup) did not function as designed," writes the company in its notification to NHTSA.

The company received its first report of an unattended fire occurring in a vehicle to which the fuse had been added in February 2010, and shortly after learned of the three others. GM is attributing the fires to "the failure of the solder cup."

The recall potentially could affect 1,365,070 vehicles equipped with heated windshield washer fluid systems, including the 2006-2009 Buick Lucerne, Cadillac DTS and Hummer H2; the 2008-2009 Buick Enclave and Cadillac CTS; the 2007-2009 Cadillac Escalade, Cadillac Escalade ESV, Cadillac Escalade EXT, Chevrolet Avalanche, Chevrolet Silverado, Chevrolet Suburban, Chevrolet Tahoe, GMC Acadia, GMC Sierra, GMC Yukon, GMC Yukon XL and Saturn Outlook; and the 2009 Chevrolet Traverse.

GM issued the official NHTSA recall on June 4 and is encouraging vehicle owners to bring the vehicles back to dealers, to have the heated washer fluid system permanently disabled and removed from the vehicles. In addition, customers will receive a "customer satisfaction payment" of $100 since the system will be disabled, according to documentation GM provided to NHTSA.

“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,” says Jeff Boyer, executive director of safety.

CLICK HERE for more information from NHTSA.

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