GM Windshield Wiper Recall Investigation: 1,900 Complaints

Chevy Equinox and GMC Terrain windshield wiper failures cause feds to upgrade investigation.

GM Windshield Wiper Recall Investigation: 1,900 Complaints

Posted in Investigations

— A GM windshield wiper recall investigation has been upgraded after federal safety regulators discovered more than 1,900 complaints were filed about wiper failures on Chevy Equinox and GMC Terrain SUVs.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) opened a formal investigation into a 2016 windshield wiper recall issued by General Motors.

The recall included 367,000 model year 2013 Equinox and Terrain SUVs, but the automaker didn't include 2010-2012 and 2014-2016 SUVs even though owners were complaining.

NHTSA says the windshield wiper recall was ordered because water and debris entered the wiper assembly ball joints and caused excessive wear, allowing the ball joints to detach and causing the wipers to stop working.

GM decided the 2013 Equinox and Terrain SUVs wipers could be repaired by installing improved motor assemblies and relocating the drain holes on the air inlet panels at the base of the windshields.

Customers continued to complain as safety regulators were investigating windshield wiper failures in the vehicles that weren't recalled. GM also informed NHTSA about 1,303 wiper complaints sent directly to the automaker, adding to the 602 complaints submitted to the government.

NHTSA learned from GM the recalled 2013 SUVs had double the warranty rate and five times the complaint rate of other model year Terrain and Equinox SUVs. GM also believes a constant stream of complaints is due to the publicity surrounding the 2016 recall.

Safety regulators learned from their initial investigation that GM's data concerning the difference in wiper failure and warranty rates were true, NHTSA still has concerns about the model years that weren't recalled.

The agency believes the windshield wiper failure rates in 2010-2016 (excluding 2013) Chevrolet Equinox and GMC Terrain SUVs are still too high. According to NHTSA, the upgraded engineering analysis will seek to determine if General Motors should recall about 1.7 million SUVs. will update our website with results of the GM windshield wiper investigation. has owner-reported complaints about the SUVs.