NHTSA steps up investigation into GM windshield wiper recall

The agency does not believe GM's explanation that higher complaint rates are due to publicity.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has elevated its investigation into General Motors' recall for failing windshield wiper transmissions in the 2013 Chevrolet Equinox and GMC Terrain.

The NHTSA has logged more than 1,900 complaints across the 2010-2012 and 2014-2016 model years, which were not included in the original recall. The automaker is said to have confirmed double the warranty rate and five times the complaint rate, however the company apparently believes the particularly high volume is due to publicity surrounding the initial recall rather than a sign of a broader defect.

"[The NHTSA's Office of Defect Investigation] believes that the subject vehicle failure rates are nevertheless elevated and that publicity alone cannot account for the continued consumer complaint traffic concerning the alleged defect in the subject vehicles," the agency says.

Investigators are now pursuing an engineering analysis to compare GM's failure rates and engineering practices to those of peer vehicles to help determine if a wider recall is warranted.

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