GM Issues Third Recall for 189,000 SUVs That Can Catch Fire

Aug 08, 2014 04:00 PM EDT | Jordan Ecarma

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Even in a record year, General Motors has announced one of its most serious recalls affecting a group of SUVs that may catch on fire.

Including around 189,000 vehicles in North America, the recall marks the third time these particular SUVs have needed repairs, the Associated Press reported. The announcement affects the Chevrolet TrailBlazer, GMC Envoy, Buick Rainer, Isuzu Ascender and Saab 97-X, mostly from the 2006 and 2007 model years.

GM is cautioning owners to keep the SUVs outdoors until after they are repaired since their power window switches can catch fire while unattended. The parts needed won't be ready until October, the automaker said. 

The recall is one of six announced by the automaker on June 30 that included 7.6 million vehicles altogether.

The fire issue apparently surfaced at least two years ago during a federal probe that investigated owner complaints about the vehicles' power windows. GM initially tried to resolve the problem with a "service campaign" that entailed sending letters to owners to warn them that water can get into the power switches and cause issues.

The automaker initially recalled 278,000 SUVs in August 2012, relenting to pressure from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. As federal regulators continued to probe complaints, GM expanded the recall around the country 10 months later.

By the time the recall was nationwide, GM and the NHTSA had received 242 complaints, 28 of which involved fires, but no reports of injuries or deaths.

"The fire burned the entire driver's side of the vehicle, a portion of the front passenger seat and the roof," the owner of a 2006 TrailBlazer wrote in a 2008 complaint. The vehicle was parked in her driveway and went up in flames.

GM dealers last year put a protective coating instead of replacing the switches since it was a cheaper fix. But after reports of malfunctioning replacement switches, GM decided to issue a third recall and put new switches in all the vehicles.

The automaker has recalled around 26 million vehicles in the U.S. this year for a total of 54 campaigns, according to MarketWatch.

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