GM has issued a massive recall of 258,000 SUVs but look beyond the GM name in case you own a used Isuzu Ascender or Saab 9.7-X sport utility vehicle, or SUV, from the 2006 and 2007 model years.
According to the Associated Press, via the Hartford Courant, GM is recalling the Chevrolet TrailBlazer, GMC Envoy, Buick Rainier, Isuzu Ascender and Saab 97-X SUVs from the 2006 and 2007 model years to fix short-circuits in power-window and door-lock switches that can cause fires.
General Motors and Isuzu are recalling more than 258,000 SUVs in the cold-weather states originally sold or currently registered in Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and the District of Columbia.
The cold weather states are being focused on because of salt and other chemicals used to clear roads in the winter. The Associated Press says Canada is also included in the recall.
What happens if you don't live in one of those states? Probably nothing if you have owned one of the recalled vehicles for the entire time. However, if you're not sure where your used SUV originated from, it might be worth investing in a CarFax report on the vehicle just to see if it came from one of those 20 states originally. (You'd be surprised how certain vehicles can move around the country.)
The Associated Press said GM claims it will make the repairs across the country but don't be surprised to encounter some initial resistance from the local GM dealer, especially if you're bringing in an Isuzu or Saab, about making the recall repairs. Call one of the numbers below if you need assistance.
According to the NHTSA recall notice, fluid may enter the driver's door module, causing corrosion that could result in a short in the circuit board. A short may cause the power door lock and power window switches to function intermittently or become inoperative. The short may also cause overheating, which could melt components of the door module, producing odor, smoke, or a fire.
GM has reports of 28 fires. It doesn't know of any injuries caused by the problem, the Associated Press reported.
Dealers will replace the power-window switch for free, according to NHTSA documents. Owners will get letters telling them when to schedule appointments. Buick, Chevrolet, and GMC owners will be notified by GM. Buick owners may contact the owner center at 1-800-521-7300, Chevrolet owners at 1-866-694-6546, and GMC owners at 1-866-996-9463. Isuzu owners will be notified by Isuzu Motors. Owners may contact Isuzu customer service at 1-800-255-6727. SAAB owners will be notified by SAAB Cars North America and for inquiries, owners may call SAAB customer service at 1-855-880-0808.
According to the article, 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 the biggest seller among the SUVs, which helped to make the truck-based sport utility vehicle popular in the U.S. 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.
A couple surprising things about this recall are the fact that there are still an Isuzu customer service and Saab Cars North America in operation to notify owners about the recall. Both brands have been extinct in the United States for at least a few years (for all practical purposes).
Should you worry about your Chevrolet TrailBlazer, GMC Envoy, Buick Rainier, Isuzu Ascender or Saab 97-X SUV spontaneously combusting in your driveway? Maybe you should just a little bit because 28 fires seems like a large amount for 258,000 vehicles. This is definitely not a recall to delay getting fixed.
Should this stop you from buying one of those SUVs? Yes - at least until the recall work has been done and documented. Elsewhere on this site, I say it's OK to buy a recalled used vehicle as long as the seller gives you a discount for getting the work done. In this case, put the onus on the seller. It's not likely to happen, but you could buy one of these vehicles, drive home, part it in your driveway and it catches on fire.
This is one recall where the work has to be done before taking ownership. The risk is too great (as miniscule as it is) that a used Chevrolet TrailBlazer, GMC Envoy, Buick Rainier, Isuzu Ascender and Saab 97-X SUVs from the 2006 and 2007 model years could catch fire.