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GM recalls 160,000 pickup trucks in Canada for fire risks, nothing announced in US yet

The problem comes from the rear window defroster.

If GM is finding smoking and melting in US trucks' rear defrosters, even if there's a far lower risk of a fire, certainly that should warrant a recall on the other side of the border.

The latest General Motors recall affects a decent chunk of trucks in Canada, and while the US and Canada tend to share models between the two nations, it doesn't seem like GM is ready to announce a similar recall in the truck-hungry US market just yet.

GM issued a recall in Canada for approximately 160,000 examples of the 2014-2018 Chevy Silverado, the 2015-2018 Chevy Silverado HD, the 2014-2018 GMC Sierra and the 2015-2019 GMC Sierra HD. The recall notice on Transport Canada's website does not mention if specific VIN or production ranges are affected.

The issue stems from trucks equipped with a power sliding rear window. In these vehicles, the circuit overseeing the rear window defroster might overheat. If this happens, it might create some smoke, melt some components or even start a fire. Because of the risk of injury associated with the defect, a recall was initiated.

As for the fix, General Motors is still working on a final corrective action, which will likely involve some degree of part replacement. In the meantime, owners have been instructed to take their trucks to dealerships, where technicians will pull the defroster's fuse, rendering it inoperable. Thankfully, it's not winter right now. Owners will receive an initial notification for the stopgap repair, with a second notification to follow when a permanent fix is found.

What's interesting is that this has not spurred a similar recall in the US, but that doesn't mean GM isn't looking into it. "In rare instances, areas of high electric resistance on the rear defrost circuit, caused in part by mechanical stress from opening and closing the rear power window, intrusion of debris and high usage of the rear defroster may, over time, generate heat which could melt the areas surrounding the circuit," said a GM spokesperson in an emailed statement. "In very rare instances, this heat could cause a non-propagating fire, smoke, and melting. GM is continuing its investigation for similar vehicles sold in the US, however, allegations of fires stemming from this condition are rare and, when investigated, GM has found evidence of smoke and localized melting conditions, but no fire propagation. Further, the rate of occurrence in the Canadian vehicle population, given the climate and usage patterns, is significantly higher than the rate of occurrence in the US."

Originally published July 12, 8:08 a.m. PT.
Update, 9:14 a.m.: Added manufacturer statement.

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