General Motors and Isuzu are recalling more than 258,000 SUVs in the US and Canada to fix short-circuits in power window and door lock switches that can cause fires.
The recall covers Chevrolet TrailBlazer, GMC Envoy, Buick Rainier, Isuzu Ascender and Saab 97-X SUVs from the 2006 and 2007 model years. The SUVs were sold or registered in 20 US states, Washington and Canada, where salt and other chemicals are used to clear roads in the winter.
GM has reports of 28 fires, and it does not know of any injuries caused by the problem.
Fluid containing the road-clearing chemicals can get inside the driver’s door and cause corrosion in the power-window and door-switch circuit boards, according to documents posted on the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) Web site. The corrosion can cause short-circuits, knocking out the switches and causing fires.
Dealers are to replace the power-window switch for free, state documents posted on Saturday by NHTSA. Owners will get letters scheduling appointments. GM is also to make repairs at no cost to owners living in states not covered by the recall, spokesman Alan Adler said in an e-mail.
The NHTSA started investigating the SUVs in February, after getting a dozen complaints of fires.
In one complaint filed with NHTSA, from Oct. 29, 2008, a woman reported that the alarm sounded while her 2006 TrailBlazer was parked in her driveway. When she looked outside, she saw the SUV in flames. Firefighters put out the blaze and told her it started in the driver’s 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 TrailBlazer was a key seller among SUVs, which helped to make the truck-based SUV popular in the US. The SUVs were phased out in 2009 and replaced by more efficient car-based crossovers, such as the Chevrolet Traverse, Buick Enclave and GMC Acadia.