June 22, 2012 at 3:19 PM ET
It’s been a busy year for automotive safety regulators – and dealer service shops – with a growing number of makers announcing recalls including a series of problems that could potentially lead to vehicle fires.
The latest on that list is General Motors. The Maker says it is recalling 413,418 late-model Chevrolet Cruze sedans to modify the engine shield under the vehicle. And a small number of vehicles involved in that service action could be covered by a separate recall covering 249 vehicles that may not have had their fuel tank straps properly welded into place.
“The most important thing for our customers to know is that we are proactively working to assure the Cruze is the safe and durable car they purchased,” said GM vice president of Global Quality Alicia Boler-Davis. “We are sorry for any inconvenience caused by these actions.”
The maker says it knows of no crashes, fatalities or injuries connected with either recall, though reports of two fires spurred the bigger recall.
The larger of the two recalls covers all Chevy Cruze vehicles built at the Lordstown plant in Ohio between September 2010 and May 2012 and sold during the 2011 and 2012 model-years. Information identifying where and when a vehicle was assembled can be found on a plate in the driver’s door jamb. Chevrolet also plans to notify owners of the affected vehicles.
The problem with the faulty engine shield is two-fold. First, if oil accidentally spills during an oil change it can contact hot engine or exhaust components and cause the shield, in turn, to catch fire. For Cruze models equipped with a manual gearbox, leakage of transmission fluid could also cause a fire.
Repairs under both recalls will be handled at no charge. GM says the engine shield work will require about 30 minutes. If a vehicle is also found to have faulty fuel tank strap welds that work will take an additional three hours.
Among the other makers recently involved in recalls or preliminary investigations linked to potential fire hazards are Toyota and Jeep. Last week, the National Highway Traffic Safety expanded the Toyota recall from 800,000 to 1.4 million vehicles, including some Camry and RAV4 models, due to defective driver window switches. NHTA also expanded to 5 million the number of Jeep vehicles under investigation due to potential problems with rear-mounted fuel tanks.