Windshield wipers seem like a pretty mundane piece of apparatus. Cars have had them for over 100 years and making them work is not rocket science, yet, the world’s leading automakers continue to find ways to screw them up.
This week the windshield wiper news is that NHTSA is advising owners of brand-new Chevy Traverse, Buick Enclave, and GMC Acadia crossovers that they should not drive their vehicles in the rain. A defective wiper motor can overheat and cause the SUV to catch fire. GM has been ordered to fetch the vehicles from owners’ driveways. Only about 30,000 of these 2016 model crossovers have been affected. GM has set up a website so that owners can check to see if their vehicle is included in the recall.
As silly as it sounds to mess up the design of such an easy part to get right, GM is not alone in having trouble with wipers. Last month, Toyota recalled its popular RAV 4 because its wiper arms were not compatible with water. You read that right. The one part of the entire vehicle designed specifically to manage water was not resistant to corrosion from this liquid. Toyota’s recall was covered here.
Ford too has had some struggles with wiper arms. As you may know, Ford likes to use wipers that connect at the edges of the hood and swing inward toward one another, rather than both swing together from left to right. The wipers on my new test Ford SUV this week would cross over one another and get hung up when shut off.