GMC Has To Neuter 1,450,000 Terrain Headlights Because They Are Too Powerful

Look at this jerk absolutely blasting us with light.

Look at this jerk absolutely blasting us with light.
Photo: Tino Rossini via Wikimedia Commons

Some GMC Terrain headlights are just too powerful for our mortal world, and because of that, General Motors has to neuter 1,450,000 of them — or the equivalent number of headlights for about 725,000 cars.


To put it simply, 2010-2017 Terrain headlights can create “glare to other motorists driving in proximity,” according to Car and Driver. The issue can be made even worse in certain weather conditions like rain, snow or fog.

It’s just too damn bright from some vantage points, according to the NHTSA. Specifically, C&D says, reflections from the headlamps’ housing illuminate two small areas high above the car that return a candela rating three times higher than what is allowed by the government. If you’ve ever had a Terrain from the impacted model years following you at night, you probably know exactly what I’m talking about.

This issue is not news for General Motors. In 2019, it asked NHTSA to consider an exemption for the Terrain headlight issue since the “reflection has no effect on vehicle safety for oncoming or surrounding vehicles.” They also argued for the dismissal on the basis that only one customer had ever launched an inquiry into the issue and no crashes were caused by the arrant beam of light. It’s reported the light could shine at a 45 degree angle up into trees.

They went on to say the headlight supplier, Stanley, redesigned the headlight with graining on the surface that accidentally changed the direction of the light’s reflection. That’s sort of impressive in its own right, no? It’s a lot like getting the correct answer on a math test but using the wrong formula — or something like that. I don’t know. I was very bad at algebra.

Nevertheless, the organization denied The General’s request last week. That means the company has to recall 726,959 Terrains — or 1,453,918 fucked up headlights — at no cost to the owners.

There’s no word on when that recall could take place, but if you find yourself standing in a random spotlight, it could be a Terrain shining on you.

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