The SUVs — model year 2006-2007 Buick Rainier, Chevy Trailblazer, GMC Envoy, Isuzu Ascender, and Saab 9-7X — were first recalled in Aug. 2012 [PDF] in cold weather states, where it was believed that salt used to deice roads was doing the damage.
But as complaints continued to pile up, including reports of 28 fires, the recall was expanded nationwide in June 2013.
At the time, GM had believed that it could fix the problem by putting a protective coating around the window switch circuit boards instead of replacing the switches. However, when GM heard of continued malfunctions from owners whose switches had undergone this fix, it decided in June of this year to issue the recall to replace all the potentially defective switches.
Thing is, the fire hazard exists whether the car is in use or not — and at least one fire occurred while an SUV was parked in a driveway — so GM has told the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration that it will be notifying owners to keep their vehicles outside, rather than in a garage where a car fire would likely pose a greater risk to the building and its occupants.
As the AP notes, those cars could be outside for some time, as GM dealers won’t be ready to make these repairs until October at the earliest.