The recall covers Chevrolet TrailBlazer, GMC Envoy, Buick Rainier, Isuzu Ascender and Saab 97-X SUVs from the 2006 and 2007 model years. The SUVs were sold or registered in 20 U.S. states, Washington, D.C., and Canada, where salt and other chemicals are used to clear roads in the winter.
GM has reports of 28 fires. It doesn't know of any injuries caused by the problem.
Fluid containing the road-clearing chemicals can get inside the driver's door and cause corrosion in the power-window and door-switch circuit boards, according to documents posted on the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration website. The corrosion can cause short-circuits, knocking out the switches and causing fires.
The recall affects SUVs sold or registered in the following states: Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.
Dealers will replace the power-window switch for free, according to NHTSA documents posted Saturday. Owners will get letters telling them when to schedule appointments. GM also will make repairs at no cost to owners living in states not covered by the recall, spokesman Alan Adler said in an e-mail.
NHTSA started investigating the SUVs in February after getting a dozen complaints of fires.
In one complaint filed with NHTSA, from Oct. 29, 2008, a woman reported that the alarm sounded while her 2006 TrailBlazer was parked in her driveway. When she looked outside, she saw the SUV in flames. Firefighters put out the blaze and told her it started in the driver's door.
"The fire burned the entire driver's side of the vehicle, a portion of the front passenger seat and the roof," she wrote.
The TrailBlazer was the biggest seller among the SUVs, which helped to make the truck-based sport utility vehicle popular in the U.S. The SUVs were phased out in 2009 and replaced by more efficient car-based crossovers such as the Chevrolet Traverse, Buick Enclave and GMC Acadia.
GM manufactured the Ascender for Isuzu, and Saab was part of GM back when the SUVs were built.