GM wiper failures could prompt more recalls of the GMC Terrain and Chevy Equinox

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UPDATED: 11/6/18 4:29 pm ET – adds details, Canada

WASHINGTON — The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said on Tuesday it is investigating whether General Motors should recall an additional 1.7 million crossovers for windshield wiper failures.

GM recalled 367,000 2013 GMC Terrain and Chevrolet Equinox crossovers in the United States in August 2016 to address the problem.

But after receiving 249 complaints about similar problems, the federal agency said it is probing whether the recall should be expanded to include an additional 1.7 million vehicles from the 2010-2016 model years. 

The automaker said it is cooperating with the NHTSA review.

GM said it recalled the 2013 GMC Terrain and Chevrolet Equinox SUVs “because warranty data showed a higher-than-expected failure rate,” adding it has continued to monitor field data on other model years of those vehicles.

GM noted that no crashes or injuries related to the issue have been reported.

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The automaker said the recalls were prompted after a GM Canada brand quality manager reported a potential safety issue relating to reports of windshield wiper failures in Canada through GM’s “Speak Up For Safety,” program in late 2015. 

The data showed significantly higher field incidents in parts of Canada, which prompted a June 2016 recall there. Over the next two months, a higher number of U.S. reports prompted a U.S. recall, the company added.

GM recalled 15,611 of the vehicles in Canada from model years 2010-1017, according to a Canadian regulatory filing dated March 16, 2018. 

“In certain vehicles, water may drain from the windshield cowl area onto the windshield wiper transmission link joints,” the Canadian filing says. “Over time, this could result in corrosion and/or wear to the joint, which could result in the separation of the wiper link ball from its corresponding socket. If separation were to occur, the windshield wipers could become inoperative, which could limit the driver’s visibility under certain operating conditions and increase the risk of a crash causing injury and/or damage to property.”

The filing says the correction calls for dealers to “relocate drain holes in the windshield cowl and install a wiper module with revised joints.”

Automotive News Canada contributed to this report.

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