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GM recalls 1.5 million vehicles on fire risk

DETROIT (Reuters) - General Motors Co on Tuesday announced a recall of about 1.5 million trucks, crossovers and cars from model years 2006-2009 because the unit that heats the windshield washer fluid could catch fire.

Jeff Boyer, GM director for safety, said GM will remove the unit that heats washer fluid, because the supplier who made the module has stopped manufacturing, leaving no chance to design an improved unit.

GM will pay each customer $100 when the heated fluid module is removed at dealerships, Boyer said. The washer is a feature to allow larger vehicles to better eliminate ice and snow on windshields.

The models involved include the 2007-2009 model year Chevrolet Silverado 3500 pickup truck, Avalanche, Suburban and Tahoe; Cadillac Escalade, Escalade ESV and Escalade EXT; GMC Acadia, Sierra, Yukon and Yukon XL; and the Saturn Outlook.

The recall also covers the 2009 Chevrolet Traverse, the 2008-2009 Buick Enclave and Cadillac CTS, and the 2006-2009 Buick Lucerne, Cadillac DTS and Hummer H2.

GM in 2009 dropped the Hummer and Saturn brands as part of its post-bankruptcy restructuring.

A GM spokesman said the removal of the module will take a mechanic about 20 minutes, at a cost GM did not estimate.

The payouts to consumers would total about $150 million if all 1.5 million customers collect the $100 payment for loss of the heated washer feature.

In addition to the 1.365 million vehicles recalled in the United States, about 98,800 vehicles will be recalled in Canada, about 26,250 in Mexico and 38,100 elsewhere, GM said.

The heated washer system was recalled in August 2008 because of a short circuit. Dealers installed a fuse in the module wiring to fix the problem, GM said.

In June 2009, GM discovered a new failure in the system. The failure caused smoke. Since then, it has received five reports of the system causing a fire.

(Reporting by Bernie Woodall and Soyoung Kim. Editing by Robert MacMillan)

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