Government says recall of 318,000 vehicles for headlamp driver modules may not have worked.

Posted in Investigations

Government says recall of 318,000 vehicles for headlamp driver modules may not have worked.

— GM headlamp driver modules are the focus of an investigation by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration that wants to know if a 2015 General Motors headlight module recall fixed the vehicles and if enough vehicles were included in the recall to prevent a loss of low-beam headlights.

About 318,000 of the following Buick, Chevy, GMC, Isuzu, Pontiac and Saab vehicles are included:

  • 2005-2009 Buick LaCrosse
  • 2006-2007 Chevy TrailBlazer
  • 2006 Chevy TrailBlazer EXT
  • 2006-2007 GMC Envoy
  • 2006 GMC Envoy XL
  • 2006-2007 Buick Rainier
  • 2006-2008 Saab 9-7X
  • 2006-2008 Isuzu Ascender
  • 2007 Pontiac Grand Prix

General Motors says the headlamp driver module can fail in the underhood electrical center due to heat, melting the module under the hood and causing low-beam headlights and daytime running lights to fail. GM says most lights won't be affected, including the high-beam headlights, fog lights, turn signals and marker lights.

NHTSA has received 128 complaints about headlight problems since GM recalled the vehicles. The complainants talk about different reasons for the complaints, with some owners reporting parts replaced during previous recalls failed just like the original parts.

Other customers say they had headlight problems but the automaker wouldn't make repairs because the cars were outside the scope of previous recalls.

One owner complained they lost low-beam headlights on numerous occasions but each time the owner checked to see if the 2007 Chevy TrailBlazer was included in the recall, the owner was told their vehicle identification number wasn't included.

Other GM owners complain about the same situations of constantly losing low-beam headlights while being told their vehicles weren't part of the previous recalls.

"I was driving home from a wedding on the interstate at 55 mph, and my headlamps failed. Everything went completely dark. After a panic, I was able to turn on my high beams, and they worked properly. I turned the car off, waited a few minutes, and turned it back on. The low beam headlamps worked then. Since the first incident, I have had approximately 10-15 other incidents of the same occurrence."

The owner went on to tell NHTSA about being denied recall repairs and the consequences of not receiving the repairs.

"I was positive that my vehicle was included in the recent recall, but when I called my local dealer, I was advised that my vin number was not included. I don't understand, since the issue on the recall is exactly the issue that I am dealing with. I have had to limit my use of the vehicle at night for fear that the headlamps will fail. Side note - they have failed at night twice in the last week alone."

In some cases the headlights fail and then come back on while other drivers say the headlight failures are permanent. One common theme among complainants is that drivers received no warnings before losing both headlights, although GM says it doesn't know of any accidents or injuries related to headlight module failures.

Update - May 10, 2017 - CarComplaints.com has learned GM extended warranty coverage for many of the vehicles. Click here to learn more.

Read what owners say about the vehicles named in the recall investigation:

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