General Motors is recalling more than 50,000 of its full-size crossover SUVs, specifically the 2011-2012 Buick Enclave, Chevrolet Traverse, and the GMC Acadia. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, owners are using the windshield wipers on heavy build ups of snow and/or ice, which could loosen the wiper arm and ultimately render it inoperative. The windshield, now blocked, would of course impede the driver’s view, and possibly result in an accident.
The recall affects 2011-2012 Buick Enclave, Chevrolet Traverse, and the GMC Acadia SUVs registered in states where there’s snow at least a quarter of the year: Alaska, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North and South Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Utah, Vermont, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming, as well as Washington D.C.
GM will notify start notifying owners of the issue starting next month. They will be asked to bring their vehicle to the dealership where technicians will examine the SUV and tighten any loose windshield wiper linkages for free. Neither the NHTSA or GM have reported accidents, injuries, or fatalities directly linked to the issue though there is plenty of footage on YouTube of drivers trying to drive with snow and iced covered front windshields.
Automotive.com’s take: Color us scratching our heads over this one. You see, you’re not supposed to use your windshield wiper when the front windshield is covered with snow and ice. That’s what the handy dandy scrapers are meant for from the hardware store. Or, better yet, just prevent such build up with a windshield screen. Either way, just don’t drive the vehicle until you can see out of it.
So, the NHTSA is forcing GM to fix something that doesn’t really sound like it’s GM’s fault in the first place, and ultimately would only cause a problem if the driver were slow-witted enough to drive with a blocked windshield. We’re usually glad when the government is aggressive in its pursuit of vehicle safety. But this one strikes us as heavy handed.