GM recalls 1.5 million vehicles for fire hazard

General Motors Corp is recalling nearly 1.5 million Buick, Chevrolet, Oldsmobile and Pontiac mid-sized cars due to a potential leak of engine oil that could cause an engine fire.

Included in the recall are:

  • 1997-2003 Buick Regal
  • 1998-2003 Chevy Lumina, Monte Carlo and Impala models
  • 1998-99 Oldsmobile Intrigue
  • 1997-2003 Pontiac Grand Prix

GM disclosed the recall in a filing with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). A total of 1,497,516 vehicles, all equipped with a 3.8-litre engine, are involved in the recall.

GM said some of the vehicles have a condition in which drops of engine oil may be deposited on the exhaust manifold under hard braking. That could start a small fire that could spread to a plastic spark plug wire channel and beyond, increasing the risk of an engine compartment fire, NHTSA said.

Owners of affected vehicles should take their cars to a GM dealer. The dealer's service department will remove the plastic spark plug retention channel and install new spark plug wire retainers at no charge.

In August 2007 the government had recalled 20,594 Buick Rendezvous, Chevrolet Venture, Pontiac Aztec and Montana, all from the 2002 to 2004 model years because the fuel tank check valve could fracture, presenting a fire hazard.