Your car’s definitely not supposed to catch on fire. Recognizing this, General Motors has announced a recall of nearly 1.5 million trucks and SUVs over windshield wiper fluid that can cause fires. In 2004, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration investigated a similar windshield-wiper defect among GM models and fined the Detroit-based company $1 million for failing to conduct a timely recall.
Vehicles recalled in the United States include:
Buick Enclave and Lucerne; Cadillac CTS, DTS, Escalade, Escalade ESV and Escalade EXT; Chevrolet Avalanche, Silverado 3500, Suburban, Tahoe and Traverse; GMC Acadia, Sierra, Yukon and Yukon XL; Hummer H2; and Saturn Outlook.
GM will pay owners of the affected vehicles $100 each for the loss of the windshield fluid. “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 GM executive director of safety Jeff Boyer. “The voluntary payment to customers is for the loss of the feature, not the recall.”
GM safety recalls this year have been nowhere near as serious as Toyota’s, which has included 9 million vehicles worldwide for brake irregularities. GM announced today that it has heard reports of five windshield-related fires, none of which caused injuries or fatalities. But in addition to the 1.5 million cars plagued by fire problems, the NHTSA is investigating 6 million GM vehicles for problems similar to Toyota’s.
We’ll see later this year whether this recall will prompt the NHTSA to take it easy on GM, or tighten regulations even further as Congress considers a unilateral auto safety overhaul.
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