• Oct 8, 2008
General Motors has nixed an optional hot-spray windshield washer system called HotShot from all of its cars and trucks after an electrical short in the systems caused the recall of 944,000 vehicles. GM told the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration that a short on the circuit board of the fluid heater could overheat the control-circuit ground wire. The problem has resulted in 34 warranty claims so far and three reports of fires may have been caused by the system. To fix the problem, dealers will add a wiring harness with an inline fuse, and all GM retail outlets should have the required parts to fix the problem free of charge by November 1. Vehicles affected include the Buick Lucerne and Enclave, the Cadillac DTS and Escalade, the GMC Yukon, Sierra and Acadia, the Saturn Outlook, the Hummer H2, and the Chevy Silverado, Avalanche, Tahoe, and Suburban.
GM blames the system's suburban Detroit supplier, Microheat, for the problem, and the small company has reportedly shrunk in size in preparation of forever closing its doors. The General wants Microheat to pay for the recall, which is estimated to cost between $20 and $25 million, and the small supplier has countered by reminding the automaker that it's still owed $3.7 million for parts and tooling. The whole affair is a shame, as heated windshield washer fluid is a nice luxury that makes de-icing and de-bugging your windshield a hands-off affair. As far as we know, Microheat is the only supplier offering this technology, so when it goes, so does the option altogether.

[Source: Automotive News, sub. req'd]


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 19 Comments
      • 6 Years Ago
      Actually, a number of current Mercedes-Benz models have heated windshield washer fluid reservoirs and nozzles. These include the 2007-present S-Class and CL-Class.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Things like this happen, but one cannot simply push blame onto suppliers. GM should have had a design/engineering review of all components incorporated in their products-- if GM engineers didn't catch the potential problem, why would they expect Microheat's to?

      GM should take the high road, suck it up, and pursue remediation with Microheat without publicly pointing the finger-- it just makes them look incompetent.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Obviously you have NO CLUE how automotive works.

        Vehicle manufacturers are not responsible for the durability of individual components that suppliers produce. The OEM makes a specification, and the supplier must follow it. The validation on the module level is that of the Supplier. Only on the vehicle level is the manufacturer responsible. And when you have a whole vehicle to validate, things like Powertrain take precedence over heated washer fluid. Remember there is only so much time and manpower to test things.

        If the person above knew anything about validation they would realize what an idiot they sound like blaming GM for it and saying that they should just die.
        • 6 Years Ago
        @ Justin

        Maybe GM is not DIRECTLY responsible, but it is up to GM to make sure everything works, because people are buying a GM vehicle
        • 6 Years Ago
        @ Justin,

        You're way off there Justin.

        The supplier build the part to the GM spec. they went thru CV, DV adn PV to validate the part and if it did not pass the testing GM would have never put in on the vehicle.

        if they did put it on a vehicle knowing there were issues during testing than it's GM that fu--ked up.

        and yes GM is expected to make sure all the parts they use are propertly designed.

        Maybe that GM spec was not harsh enough to catch the failure mode.

        let's hope people working for GM don't have your mindset, or they will go down
      • 6 Years Ago
      Brilliant, GM -- kill a good idea because you didn't execute on it right the first time. Way to throw in the towel.

      How 'bout you work with the supplier to fix the problem instead?

      More reactionary short-sightedness from Detroit.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I don't know if Subaru still does it but they would put this thick window heating element (like on the rear window) down where the wipers sit. That was a great idea. Click it on and your wipers are now heated and no snow or ice builds up on them and snow never mounds up below the wipers.
      • 6 Years Ago
      More of what we have come to expect from Clueless Motors. GM can't get anything right. The sooner this useless company dies the better. Then we can get it's workforce working for it's successor who will hopefully make proper use of their talent and ability.
        • 6 Years Ago
        So what happened? Did your boss at the GM plant catch you sleeping on the job and fired you?

        It's a freaking recall and a dispute with a supplier. Happens everyday with any manufacturer. This has nothing to do with how GM treats employees or utilizes their talent (or lack thereof).
        • 6 Years Ago
        Ya, let's cheer for GM to go out of business and throw about 200K people in the street without a job.

        Grow up loser.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Yeesch.What a creepy comment.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Sounds like a euro trash loving nerd voicing their opinion. As if anyone cares. Those of us in the industry know better.
      • 6 Years Ago
      My previous 89 Mercedes 300CE sent engine coolant through a pipe in the washer fluid reservoir to warm the washer fluid. Nicely done, and no electronics to short out.
      That pipe developed a leak at >15 years/200,000 miles, but it appeared that it was designed to only leak out. It took me a while to find where I was losing coolant, but at least I wasn't sucking washer fluid into my engine block and radiator.
      Replacement part was nearly 200 bucks, so I just bypassed it and gave up on heated washer fluid. Not too much need for that in central Texas anyway, and by that point the car had more serious signs of aging.

        • 6 Years Ago
        "but it appeared that it was designed to only leak out"

        Ah, it may have appeared that way but it was not the result of any design. When the engine warms up the coolant is under pressure. This pressure causes the coolant to be pushed out of the defect in the pipe, while the washer fluid, which is under no pressure beyond atmospheric, would have only very slowly wept past the breach, and then only when the engine off and the coolant not under pressure and only if, with the engine off, the pipe was void of coolant.
      • 6 Years Ago
      My car comes with this system also, it's called ENGINE heat. Engine heats up, washer fluid comes out warm...Why waste money on a system that isn't really needed?!
      • 6 Years Ago
      How was this supposed to work? I mean, don't the wipers automatically work while you're holding the washer fluid button? If there's ice on your windshield, chances are there's ice at the bottom of the wipers. They will be frozen and NOT able to move, thus damaging the wiper motor...
      • 6 Years Ago
      That'll learn ya for ripping off the intermitten wiper!
      • 6 Years Ago
        • 6 Years Ago
        The double post is interesting, considering the feature doesn't even really work that well (from personal experience).
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