-- General Motors Co. has agreed to recall 231,000 older SUVs over fire risks and urged owners to park them outside garages until they are repaired.
The Detroit automaker agreed to recall 193,000 2006-2007 Chevrolet Trailblazer, GMC Envoy, Buick Rainier, SAAB 9-7x, Isuzu Ascender and 2006 Chevrolet Trailblazer EXT and GMC Envoy XL in the United States. The recall also includes 3,546 in Canada, 4,876 in Mexico and 30,000 outside North America.
Fluid may enter the driver's door, causing rust 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.
At least 28 door fires were reported, including some when the vehicle was left unattended. GM told the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in December it had reports of 6 injuries and two reports of property damage. This is the second recall of 2006-2007 GM SUVs for the issue since August; GM has now recalled about 440,000 vehicles to address the issue.
The expanded recall came after government pressure and a lengthy NHTSA investigation.
In August, GM said it would recall 249,000 2006-2007 Chevrolet Trailblazer SUVs and other similar SUVs that were sold or currently registered in 20 "salt belt states" -- Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, West Virginia, Wisconsin.
GM in August told NHTSA it was offering special coverage for the remaining 193,000 vehicles not sold in states that used road salt and have higher rust reports, but stopped short of a recall.
After talks with NHTSA, GM agreed this week to launch a recall for the remaining vehicles. It will begin the recall starting July 24.
With the expansion of the recall, GM has now recalled nearly 443,000 SUVs related to the issue in the United States.
GM dealers will test the driver's door module. If the module is functioning properly, a protective coating will be applied. If the module is not functioning properly, it will be replaced. NHTSA said " as a precaution, owners are advised to park outside until the remedy has been made."
GM spokesman Alan Adler said the incident rate for the new vehicles being recalled was six times less than the August recall. He emphasized that owners of the vehicles being recalled had been notified of the special coverage that was offered in August. "The remedy is the same," Adler said.
Adler said there were 58 fires reported for the two recalls and 11 minor injuries. Of the fires, just six fires were in the 230,000 new vehicles being recalled and 1 injury are in the vehicles being recalled.
NHTSA began investigating the issue in February 2012 in response to complaints alleging driver door module melting and burning in MY 2006-2007 Chevrolet Trailblazers. GM said it had 167 reports and 698 warranty claims that related to the problem. NHTSA has received a total of 83 complaints, 66 alleging the door module had melted or burned, and 17 stating that window switches acted erratically or didn't work. Twenty-eight of the reports received have led to driver door fires, some of which allege the vehicle was keyed off and unattended.