— A General Motors windshield wiper recall is under federal investigation after complaints poured in from GMC Terrain and Chevy Equinox drivers about wipers that stopped working.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) says 2010-2012 and 2014-2016 Chevy Equinox and GMC Terrain SUVs weren't included in a 2016 recall, but based on complaints it's possible about 1.7 million SUVs should have been added to the recall.
The automaker had recalled about 367,000 model year 2013 Equinox and Terrain SUVs after owners kept complaining about windshield wipers that suddenly stopped working, typically while they were in use.
General Motors says it first learned of windshield wiper problems in Canada when a manager reported wiper failures in December 2015. The failures were allegedly caused by the wiper's ball joints coming loose and detaching when the wipers were in use.
The automaker opened an internal investigation and collected warranty data that showed a higher percentage of failures in Canadian locations known as "corrosion provinces."
According to General Motors, the failure rate was much higher in Canada than the U.S., causing the automaker to order a recall of Canadian Chevy Equinox and GMC Terrain SUVs in July 2016. However, the automaker started receiving additional warranty reports and complaints about windshield wipers that failed in the U.S.
This caused the U.S. recall, but only for model year 2013 Chevy Equinox and GMC Terrain SUVs.
General Motors said the windshield wipers stopped working due to debris and water that entered the wiper assembly ball joints and caused corrosion and premature wear.
GM dealers were told to inspect the windshield wiper modules and replace them with modules that included water deflectors and improved ball joints. Dealers also filled the water management holes near the passenger-side wiper pivots and drilled small holes on the walls of the air inlet panels.
However, NHTSA says owners of 2010-2012 and 2014-2016 Equinox and Terrain SUVs have filed 249 complaints about windshield wipers that stopped working.
"While driving in a storm, the windshield wipers stopped working. I had to pull over and wait out the storm, too dangerous to drive. I took the car to a chevy dealership and they said that they needed to replace the motor for the windshield wipers. It was not under warranty and cost me $400."
"Driving on highway at speed of 65 mph it suddenly rained, I turned wipers on they got stuck in middle of windshield making it totally invisible of matter of seconds. Had to quickly open passenger side door to see where I can pull over to the side. I'm glad no 1 was right behind me, otherwise there would be unavoidable accident."
The government says GMC Terrain and Chevrolet Equinox owners have filed 107 complaints so far in 2018 about windshield wipers that stopped working.
CarComplaints.com will update our website with results of the federal investigation.
Read complaints about the General Motors SUVs named in the recall investigation: