Buick Lacrosse Fires Caused by Faulty HDM Module?

During a recent investigation, it was learned that there have a number of complaints (posted on–line) concerning the inadvertent failure of headlights in Buick Lacrosse vehicles. The vehicle that we were working on was a 2009 year model but, the problem is apparently in 2007 year models as well. Basically, the complaint centers on drivers noticing that their headlights are going out for no reason while driving at night. Sometimes the headlights will come back on. The problem is not as noticeable during the day if the headlights are also used as day running lights. In the case that was investigated, a small fire erupted in the fuse block and specifically the HDM (Headlight Drivers Module) module. As a result, the wiring harness that is connected to the HDM module was also damaged and had to be replaced. It was later learned that headlight failure was also a symptom that had occurred at an earlier time. Although the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has recorded 13 complaints regarding 2009 Buick Lacrosse Vehicles, four complaints are directly related. As of the date of this blog entry, no recall for the HDM modules has been issued by NHTSA or General Motors.

About R.J. Hill, P.E.
R. J. Hill is the author of two blogs: R.J. Hill Consulting and the Descendants of James Alexander Hill. Mr. Hill is a registered professional (mechanical) engineer with 42 years of experience, 37 years in private practice. Please visit www.rjhill.com to see the kinds of forensic investigations that Mr. Hill performs.

6 Responses to Buick Lacrosse Fires Caused by Faulty HDM Module?

  1. Nancy Norjen says:

    On 7/2/15 my 2009 Buick LaCross fuse box caught fire, I have since then learned that it began in the HDM module. There is a Technical Service Bulletin for the HDM that I received this year but it is not a recall and doesn’t say that a risk is fire. I had no symptoms of HDM failure. My car is totalled since 3 wiring harnesses were destroyed that GM doesn’t manufacture any more and dashboard indicators were also affected. I contacted Buick and sent pictures that rep shared with their fire expert and he stated issue was likely related to the HDM module failure. I went through my insurance but have learned in last 2 months via email searches that there are others who had fires relating to HDM module with my year and model Buick. When I ask GM what responsibility they have for not alerting customers of the potential for fire and sending a recall out for customers to get their car fixed, the reps response was the government knows that the HDM part is not available yet. I also filed a complaint with safecar.org then called the NTSB about feedback last week and the person who answered my call had no clue what would be the next step. Do you know of any lawyer contemplating suit on this situation? I had a beautiful reliable 6 year old car up to 2 months ago and now I have nothing but an insurance payout. GM could care less. Thanks for feedback.


    • Dear Ms. Norjen,

      I’m sorry to hear about your car. I’m not surprised to hear that GM is not helping you in a meaningful way. As far as a lawyer is concerned, I don’t know anyone in your area. I would suggest that you look for a lawyer that specializes in products liability cases. It might be difficult since the car is six years old. It’s a long slow process but, hang in there. Good luck.


  2. Rob says:

    How did you even get an insurance payout for the failure. My Insurance company claims they are not liable because it is a mechanical failure


    • Rob,

      First let me say that I was not the owner of the vehicle, I was working for the owner through their insurance carrier. With that said, a fire is a fire. Unless your auto policy excludes comprehensive coverage (which includes fires) your carrier should be covering the damage. If you are sure that you have coverage for fire, then there is no reason why your carrier should deny your claim. It doesn’t matter whether the cause is mechanical or electrical. It sounds like bad faith on the part of your carrier might be involved here. File a disagreement with the carrier. If you don’t get satisfaction, the next step is to file a complaint with your state insurance commissioner’s office. If you still can’t get the matter resolved to your satisfaction, the last resort is to engage an attorney and file suit. Good Luck.


  3. Pingback: How much does it cost to repair a HDM module on a 2007 Buick - SuccessAsk

    • I checked into the cost by contacting a local Buick dealer and got an estimate of approximately $300. I also found out that depending on the vehicle identification number, the vehicle you are asking about could be part of a recall. If that’s the case, then the repair should be completed free of charge. So, with check with a local dealer in your area.


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