General Motors yesterday recalled 1.4 million vehicles to fix a problem that couldn’t be solved by two earlier recalls. The cars, which date to the 1997 model year, can catch fire due to leaking oil. In some instances, where fires occurred, garages and homes were damaged by the flames. The automaker had issued recalls in 2008 and 2009 for the problem.
The problem involves the left-hand valve cover on a V-6 engine. According to the automaker, over time the material used as a gasket for the valve cover can deteriorate, allowing oil to seep out. The oil can drop onto the manifold, under hard braking, and catch fire. The flames can then spread to the rest of the engine using the plastic spark plug wire channel as its pathway. GM says it has received reports of 19 injuries related to the fires.
Alan Adler, a GM spokesman, told the Associated Press that the automaker had received reports of 1,300 fires in vehicles that had been repaired by dealers. The automaker is currently finalizing a fix. GM will use state motor vehicle databases to find owners of the affected cars.
Yesterday’s action follows two earlier recall attempts in 2008 and 2009. In the 2008 recall, GM recalled 200,000 supercharged V-6-engined vehicles. The first recall followed 21 consumer complaints to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) of car fires. The fires occurred from five to 15 minutes after the engines had been turned off. While most of the fires occurred in vehicles that were parked, a small number occurred while the vehicle was being driven. Several buildings were damaged when cars caught fire inside garages.
The first recall involved 200,000 supercharged 3.8-liter, V-6-powered cars while the second added 1.5 million vehicles a year later. This year, on further study, another 50,000 vehicles from 2004 were added. Now, the automaker has initiated another recall to implement a new fix.
The vehicles involved include:
· 1997-2004 Pontiac Grand Prix and Buick Regal
· 2000-2004 Chevy Impala
· 1998 and 1999 Chevy Lumina and Olds Intrigue
· 1998-2004 Chevy Monte Carlo
GM will also notify owners of 500,000 more vehicles that had not been fixed in the previous recalls.
In other recall-related news, Nissan yesterday expanded an ongoing gas tank seal recall to 59,000 vehicles. According to the automaker, a seal between the gas tank and the gas tank sending unit can rupture in a crash, allowing gas to spill. In an accident, the spilled fuel can ignite. The automaker said yesterday it has had no reports of fire, injuries or fuel leaks. The recall will begin within two months. Dealers will install a new retainer ring to maintain a proper seal.
The recall began in July. It first covered 5,500 2016 Maximas. The full list of vehicles includes:
· 2013-2016 Altima midsized cars
· 2016 Maximas
· 2014-2016 Teana sedans made in Russia