By Jim Taylor, Editor MACS ACtion Magazine
Well, sort of. It’s rare that anything in our patch qualifies as a safety related recall—usually heating and A/C is considered a comfort item but not safety. There are exceptions, and a recent recall by GM, affecting 2011 Buick LaCrosse and Cadillac SRX vehicles is a case in point.
In the notification letter for Safety Recall No. 11057, GM said it is recalling certain vehicles “…for failing to comply with the requirements of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 103, ‘Windshield Defrosting and Defogging systems.’ On these vehicles, the software in the electronic climate control (ECC) module may disable the ability to adjust the heating, ventilation, and air conditioning system settings. If this happens, the driver will not be able to control the heating, cooling, and ventilation for the vehicle.”
So, reading between the lines, until it’s fixed, a driver could summon defrost on a 20 degree morning and get nothing but cold air on the inside glass. Not good.
The fix, of course is a re-flash of the ECC module by the dealer, and since they’re all 2011 cars you’ll never see any of the 10,200 affected units in your shop for this problem. Except for the lazy owner who is always just a little too busy to take the car in, even when it involves a matter of their own safety. Four years from now, you know that same owner will show up on your doorstep swearing that the problem just occurred recently and complaining that she can’t see on a cold morning.
There are two lessons here and we’ve talked about both of them before. First, always check for recalls, updates and service bulletins that apply to whatever problem you’re chasing. The weirder the problem, the more likely it is that somebody else knows about it.
And, as the recall fix above clearly shows, reprogramming or reflashing has become way-more common as a solution for operating problems. And it is also often required to simply make a replacement component “talk” to the car. If your shop and your equipment aren’t up to the new tasks, now would be a good time to improve your act.
When having your mobile A/C system professionally serviced, insist on proper repair procedures and quality replacement parts. Insist on recovery and recycling so that refrigerant can be reused and not released into the atmosphere.
If you’re a service professional and not a MACS member yet, you should be, click here for more information.
You can E-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit http://bit.ly/cf7az8 to find a Mobile Air Conditioning Society member repair shop in your area. Visit http://bit.ly/9FxwTh to find out more about your car’s mobile A/C and engine cooling system.
The 32nd annual Mobile Air Conditioning Society (MACS) Worldwide Convention and Trade Show will take place January 18-20, 2012 at the Rio All Suite Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, NV.