The Cadillac XLR will not be recalled after the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) received a number of complaints claiming the vehicle’s roof panel may suddenly detach while the vehicle is in motion.
The NHTSA opened the roof investigation into the vehicles in February of last year following owner complaints and media coverage about the allegedly faulty roofs – including from us here at GM Authority. The inquiry aimed to determine whether or not the 2004-2009 model year Cadillac XLR’s roof was manufactured using a faulty adhesive. The majority of the complaints received by NHTSA related to detaching roofs were for the 2004-2005 model year of the convertible sports car, however.
General Motors told NHTSA that an oxide layer on the magnesium framework of the roof caused some of the panel separations, according to Car Complaints. The agency has elected not to recall the vehicles, though, as the detachments happened more than 10 years after the vehicles were sold. It also noted that the failure rate of the roof is low and that separation incidents are sporadic in nature. NHTSA has received 25 complaints for the 2005 Cadillac XLR and 24 complaints for the 2004 Cadillac XLR as of this writing – only some of which relate to the roof detaching. The problem appears most common in 2005 model year vehicles, with many complaints for the 2004 model year being related to its exterior lights.
“I was driving a 2005 Cadillac XLR south of I-75 when the roof suddenly, and quite unexpectedly separated at approximately 70 mph,” says one complaint for the 2005 model year XLR. “I was driving in absolute terrible, rainy weather when the roof separated. Just before the separation I heard a very brief noise sound come from just above the rear view mirror at the roof line. It had a similar sound to a window being slightly cracked and allowing in air. The next thing I know, I hear a very loud bang and an abundance of wind noise. I immediately looked in my rear view mirror and saw a large black object going end-over-end across the I-75 lanes of traffic.”
The Cadillac XLR features an electric folding hardtop. Vehicles affected by this problem are not losing the entire electric roof assembly, but only the top panel, which is fastened to the roof frame vehicle with adhesive. GM recalled the C6 Corvette for a similar reason back in 2009, saying the adhesive between the top roof panel and the frame may separate. The automaker warned Corvette owners that if “there is a partial separation, the driver may notice one or more symptoms, such as a snapping noise when driving over bumps, wind noise, poor roof panel fit, roof panel movement/bounce when a door or hatch is closed, or a water leak.” Many XLR owners also report hearing a wind noise before the panel separated, so anyone with a vehicle potentially affected by this problem should be sure to pay close attention to sudden changes in cabin wind noise when driving at highway speeds.
Source: Car Complaints