General Motors Malfunctioning Power Window Switches Strike Again

General Motor Recalls Nearly 190,000 SUVs for Defective Power Window Switches

General Motors has ordered a third recall on several of its sport utility vehicles, which have been found to suffer from a tendency to catch on fire. This is the latest addition to an already troublesome year for the Detroit-based American automaker, which has issued over 45 recalls this year involving more than 24.6 million vehicles in the United States and 28 million worldwide. In this most recent case, nearly 190,000 sport utility vehicles have been called in for defects with the power window switches, which are known to catch on fire when left unattended.  The automaker expects the first repairs to be made in October 2014, as the necessary parts for the recall will not be available until then.

In an October 2008 report to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), a woman — her identity was not released — informed the agency that her 2006 TrailBlazer had caught on fire while it was parked in her driveway. According to the complaint, she responded to her car alarm, only to find her sport utility vehicle in flames. The firefighters who had responded to her subsequent call reported that the fire had started on the driver’s door and that it had burned the driver’s side of the vehicle completely, as well as parts of the front passenger seat and the roof.

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This latest recall comes as an addition to an ongoing campaign to solve the power window switch problem in several of General Motors’ sport utility vehicles models. When the issue first came to the attention of the automaker in early 2012, it launched a service campaign by notifying affected owners of the risk of short circuits and overheating, as well of a potential fire hazard. Falling short of a recall, the service campaign extended the warranty on the vehicle and offered repair services to individual cars which had exhibited the cited problems. In August 2012, General Motors expanded the service campaign into a full recall of 278,000 sport utility vehicles, targeting those in cold-weather states. In June 2013, it expanded the recall nationwide.

The 2012–2013 recall attempted to solve the power window switch defect by installing a protective coating around the window switch circuit boards, which was less costly than replacing the switch hardware entirely. However, following continued complaints about malfunctions in already repaired sport utility vehicles, General Motor issued a third recall to find a permanent resolution to the faulty power window component. Targeted makes and models include the 2006–2007 Chevrolet TrailBlazer, GMC Envoy, Buick Rainer, Isuzu Ascender, and Saab 97-X.

Because the necessary parts for the repairs won’t be available until October, the Detroit carmaker has urged drivers to park their sport utility vehicles outdoors for the time being. General Motors has also ordered dealerships to stop selling these models as used cars until they’re fixed. The recall and the stop-sale orders affect nearly 190,000 vehicles in the United States and Canada.

General Motors was fined $35 million by the NHTSA for failing to adequately report ignition switch problems with some of its vehicles, issues which have recently spread to Jeep and Cadillac. The company was the first to issue a major recall in 2014, as their 2014 Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra pick-up trucks were found to be potential fire hazards. General Motors has also been heavily affected by the ongoing complications associated with faulty Takata airbags, an industry-wide problem that has ignited a flurry of recalls among at least nine different auto manufacturers. An estimated 25 million General Motors vehicles have been recalled in 2014 and the firm expects a $1.2 billion charge against its second quarter earnings.

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While there are no reported injuries from the malfunctioning power window switches, defective auto parts can pose a significant threat to drivers and passengers. Reuters’ estimation of the fatalities linked to faulty ignitions is as high as 70, while two drivers were fatally injured as a result of defective Takata airbags, although these involved Honda automobiles. If you or a loved one has been injured as a result of a defective automobile component, contact Pope McGlamry to schedule your complimentary case review and consultation today.

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