Fire risk prompts Chevrolet Cruze recall

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Car fire

The 2011 and 2012 Chevrolet Cruze is being recalled for a fire risk. Image from Wikimedia Commons.

General Motors has announced a recall for the Chevrolet Cruze from the 2011 and 2012 model years, comprising more than 475,000 vehicles. The issue is the engine shield located underneath the engine bay, which can trap combustible liquids and poses a risk of fire.

Situation is fluid

A Chevrolet Cruze recall has been initiated by General Motors, according to Reuters, for the 2011 and 2012 model years. There are 475,418 cars affected by the recall, 413,418 of which are in the U.S., along with 61,299 in Canada. There are also 701 of the affected cars in Israel.

All cars in question were manufactured at the Chevrolet plant in Lordstown, Ohio, according to CNN, between September of 2010 and May of 2012.

The issue is with the engine shield, essentially a skid pad underneath the engine block, which can potentially trap fluids, such as motor oil dripped during oil changes, transmission fluid and so forth. These liquids, pooled on the engine shield, are directly under the engine block and as such, can be ignited and cause an engine compartment fire.

Result of an NHTSA investigation

The recall comes after an NHTSA investigation into the risk of fire, spurred by complaints made to the agency about engine compartment fires. According to Inside Line, a probe into engine compartment fire risks for the 2011 Cruze was announced in March of this year after the agency received two complaints of engine compartment fires. The probe was expanded in late May, when a complaint was submitted at the end of April for a fire in a 2012 Cruze.

One of the two complaints of a fire in a 2011 Cruze, according to Automobile magazine, was from a man who observed flames from the engine compartment one week after an oil change. He reported seeing flames up to 15 feet in height. In the second, the owner noticed smoke emanating from the hood and flames upon opening it. The car had less than 11,000 miles on the odometer. Both vehicles were totaled.

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The incident in the most recent complaint, according to Inside Line, consisted of flames shooting out from the hood while traveling at 45 miles per hour. General Motors, according to the Detroit Free Press, has identified up to 30 fires that might be related to the issue in the recall, but no accidents, injuries or deaths have resulted from any  compartment fires.

Fix takes 30 minutes

Cruze models in foreign markets besides Canada and Israel aren’t affected, as they are made elsewhere, according to Reuters. However, Holden, GM’s Australian brand, is concerned that 10,000 Holden-badged Chevrolet Cruze vehicles might be affected by the defect.

Chevrolet, according to CNN, is going to mail letters to owners by the middle of July. They will be directed to take their Cruze to the nearest Chevrolet dealership, where the engine shield will be modified to counteract the potential for fire. It should take roughly 30 minutes.

Sources

Reuters

CNN

Detroit Free Press

Inside Line: http://www.insideline.com/chevrolet/cruze/2012/2012-chevrolet-cruze-added-to-federal-inquiry-into-complaints-of-fires.html

Automobile: http://rumors.automobilemag.com/recall-central-2013-chevy-malibu-software-nhtsa-probe-expands-to-2012-cruze-142853.html


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