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Update on Windshield Breakage in Car Washes (1983)


Research continues to show that damage to automobile windshields is not being caused by normal operations of a car wash.  Manufacturer's manuals and research reports from Libby-Owens-Ford Glass Company, Pittsburgh Plate Glass Company, the GM Research Center, and Fischer Body all show that it is virtually impossible, due to the construction of modern automobile windshields, for damage to occur to the windshield while going through a car wash.  They tested both hot and cold water, and various water pressures including pressures of brushes and other equipment.  All were considerably below the safety factor involved in windshield breakage.

Car wash operators should be alert to the fact that pellets and stones projected by tires of passing vehicles cause "bruises" or "fractures" on windshields.  Sometimes the bruise "runs" or cracks from ordinary driving vibrations.  Often the bruise is microscopic in size and does not show until water hitting the window in a car wash turns this bruise into a crack.  Remember, the result is the effect, not the cause.

The owner of Custom Car Wash in Downers Grove, IL, won a landmark case in the Circuit Court of DuPage County.  A customer discovered a crack in her windshield upon completion of her wash.  Subsequently, the customer insisted the break was the fault of the car wash and wanted to be reimbursed for the replacement of the windshield.  The customer ended up taking the case to court.  With the assistance of legal counsel, Custom Car Wash presented a defense that caused the Judge of the Circuit Court to rule in favor of the car wash and declined the claim of the customer in this case.

What to do about it:

ICA recommends that car wash operators:

1) Instruct customers to contact their own insurance company, as this type of damage is covered under automobile insurance policies; and

2) Keep copies of this special alert and the Order dismissing a claim against an Illinois car wash by the 18th Judicial Circuit Court of DuPage County, Illinois on file to present to customers when this problem arises.


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2013-2017 Cadillac Cue Screens

A class action lawsuit has been filed against Cadillac parent, General Motors Company, over issues with Cadillac CUE screens in various models.

The lawsuit – Gruchacz, et al., v. General Motors, LLC – was filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey. It alleges that the Cadillac User Experience infotainment screens crack, delaminate, bubble and become unresponsive. The class action suit includes current and former owners and lessees of the following Cadillac vehicles equipped with the CUE infotainment systems:

  • 2013-2017 Cadillac ATS

  • 2013-2016 Cadillac SRX

  • 2013-2017 Cadillac XTS

  • 2014-2017 Cadillac CTS

  • 2014-2017 Cadillac ELR

  • 2014-2017 Cadillac Escalade


The suit explains that plaintiff, Tonya Gruchacz, purchased a new 2014 Cadillac ATS in New Jersey. Within the 4-year/50,000 mile warranty, the Cadillac CUE screen allegedly became unresponsive. After calling the dealership, Gruchacz was allegedly told that the vehicle was no longer covered by the warranty and that it would cost about $1,200 to repair the system.

The CUE screen allegedly appeared cracked or shattered and was still unresponsive to touch in July 2017, so the plaintiff contacted the dealership and was again told that the repairs would cost about $1,200. Gruchacz then brought the ATS to the dealer in March 2018 to perform a recall unrelated to the issue. She told the dealership that the CUE screen appeared shattered and did not respond to touch. The lawsuit states that she was told by dealership staff that they “see this issue all the time… the screen is not cracked, it’s the laminate.” The plaintiff was then quoted $1,053.58 for the repair.

The class action lawsuit also cites a Technical Service Bulletin (TSB) sent to Cadillac dealers in December 2014 and August 2017 citing bubbled, cracked, or delaminated CUE screens. The TSB advised  service departments to replace the Integrated Center Stack, which is the vertical center panel that includes the screen in the impacted vehicles. The suit states that the 2014 bulletin makes specific references to existing customer complaints, thereby allegedly proving that GM/Cadillac knew that the systems were defective prior to 2014.

The plaintiff further alleges that Cadillac CUE touchscreens fail when the adhesive film and glass become separated, a condition otherwise known as delamination that results in gaps between the electrode arrays, causing electrical problems. Delamination allegedly stems from flaws in production of the sensing panel or by improper installation of the screens. The separation, the suit claims, allows moisture to enter between the materials and causing a bond-level failure.

“Poor interlayer bonding can also result from improper cleaning and preparation of the glass surface during panel manufacture resulting in delamination,” claims the lawsuit documents. Flawed installation of the panel in which clamping forces on the panel are excessive or of non-uniform nature can also contribute to delamination by generating strains, warping, and deformation in the glass that exceed the adhesive bond force of the interlayer.”

The suit claims that the GM/Cadillac should have known about these CUE screen problems via  internal testing and customer complaints. The plaintiff is being represented by Lite DePalma Greenberg and Poulos LoPiccolo.

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