GM recalls all ’11 and ’12 Cruzes over risk of fire

Staff report


General Motors will recall all 413,418 Lordstown-built Chevrolet Cruzes for the 2011 and 2012 model years because of the risk of a possible engine fire.

The recall will allow GM to modify the engine shield under the vehicle.

The company said in a statement Friday that the modification will help prevent oil from being trapped in the engine compartment, where a fire could start.

The recall includes all Cruzes, manual and automatic, built at Lordstown through May 2012.

In a separate safety recall, GM will inspect certain cars included in the first recall to assure welds in the rear compartment were applied properly.

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.

“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 in the statement. “We are sorry for any inconvenience caused by these actions.”

Boler-Davis was the only GM official to comment on the recall. Lordstown officials referred questions to the GM news release.

Though the action was not the result of a government recall, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration opened a preliminary investigation last April as a result of two engine-compartment fires in 2011 Cruzes and later added the 2012 model year.

There are no known crashes, injuries or fatalities related to either recall, the company said. Only Cruzes built in Lordstown and sold in the United States and Canada and several hundred exported to Israel are affected.

Improper engine-oil-change procedures on these vehicles can result in the spilling or dripping of oil. If oil contacts hot engine or exhaust-system surfaces and the engine shield, the shield may 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, the company said. 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 a fire may spread to the engine compartment.

Modifying the engine shield will take about 30 minutes in a Chevrolet dealership service department and will be conducted for free. No parts are involved, and the company encourages customers to make an appointment with their dealer at their earliest convenience.

Kevin Carzoo, service manager at Sweeney Chevrolet in Boardman, said he hadn’t received notification from the company by Friday afternoon regarding the recall or what it involves.

Other dealerships contacted Friday said they also were awaiting information from the company about the recall.

Owner letters will mailed be starting July 11, the company said. Inspection for the possible missing welds takes a few minutes. In confirmed cases, that repair would take about three hours.

The recall comes just days after GM earned its best company score compared to the industry average on the J.D. Power and Associates Initial Quality Study.

Nine GM vehicles either received a segment award in the study or placed in the top three of their respective segments.

Last week, Automobile Dealers of Eastern Ohio Inc. released sales figures showing the Cruze was the second-best-selling new vehicle in the Mahoning Valley so far this year, behind the Chevy Malibu.

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