GM, Isuzu Recall SUVs Over Fire Risk

General Motors and Isuzu just issued a recall of more than 258,000 Sport Utility Vehicles (SUVs) in the United States and Canada over fire risks.

The recall concerns a fix to short circuits in the power-window and door-lock switches that can lead to fires, The Associated Press (AP) wrote. The vehicles involved are the Chevrolet TrailBlazer, GMC Envoy, Buick Rainier, Isuzu Ascender, and Saab 97-X SUVs from the 2006 and 2007 model years.

The SUVs were either sold or registered in 20 states, Washington, D.C., and Canada, said the AP, noting that salt and other chemicals clear roads in the winter months in these areas. GM manufactured the Ascender for Isuzu; Saab was part of GM when SUVs were built.

The states involved are: Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, West Virginia, and Wisconsin. To date, said the AP, GM has received reports of 28 fires, but is unaware of any injuries caused by the defect.

Fluid that is part of road-clearing chemicals can enter driver’s door, leading to corrosion in the power-window and door-switch circuit boards, said the AP, citing documents posted on the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) web site. This corrosion can lead to short-circuits, which can shut off the switches, and cause fires.

Dealers will replace the power-window switch at no cost to customers, said NHTSA documents posted Saturday, wrote The AP. Owners will receive letters advising them when to schedule appointments. Alan Adler, a GM spokesman, noted in an email that GM will make repairs—also at no cost to consumers—to owners living in states not covered by the recall.

The NHTSA began its probe of the SUVs in February after it received about one dozen complaints about the SUVs and fires said The AP.

In a complaint to the NHTSA dated October 29, 2008 filed by a female SUV owner, she stated that the alarm sounded while her 2006 TrailBlazer was parked in her driveway. She found her SUV in flames when she looked outside, said The AP. The firefighters who put out the flames told her that the blaze began in the SUV’s driver door. “The fire burned the entire driver’s side of the vehicle, a portion of the front passenger seat and the roof,” she wrote.

The biggest seller in the SUV category, the TrailBlazer helped popularize the truck-based sport utility vehicle, which was phased out in 2009 and replaced by more efficient car-based crossovers, said The AP.

The Inquistr noted that consumers who own the recalled vehicles may also call their local dealers to arrange a repair time to replace the faulty window switch.

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