General Motors has recalled 413,418 2011 and 2012 Chevrolet Cruzes to modify the engine shield under the vehicle to help prevent fluid, such as oil, from being trapped in the engine compartment, where it could contribute to starting or spreading fire.
GM will also inspect vehicles included in this recall to check that welds in the rear compartment were properly applied. Omitted or partially completed welds in up to 249 cars may affect the fuel tank strap secondary brackets attachment to the floor structure and a sub assembly to the rear floor pan.
Recall notifications will be mailed to vehicle owners starting July 11.
All Cruzes with manual and automatic transmissions built in the U.S. between September 2010 and May 2012 are included in the engine shield modification recall.
In a statement describing the hazards, GM said:
During an oil change, if a spill or oil drips come in contact with the hot engine or exhaust system surfaces, and the engine shield, the shield could ignite and burn, resulting in a possible engine compartment fire.
“In Cruzes with manual transmissions, continuing to drive with a completely worn clutch may cause hydraulic fluid to be expelled from the clutch housing vent hole. Under certain circumstances, the fluid could be burning as it exits the vent hole. If it contacts the engine shield, the shield may ignite and burn and a fire may spread to the engine compartment.
In April, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration opened an investigation as a result of two engine compartment fires in 2011 Cruzes. The NHTSA later added the 2012 model year to the investigation.
Modifying the engine shield should take approximately 30 minutes at a Chevrolet dealership service department and will be done for free. No parts are involved. Inspection for the possible missing welds takes only a few minutes, but in confirmed cases, the repair will take about three hours.