General Motors has just issued a recall for 413,418 2011 and 2012 model year Chevrolet Cruzen in the United States built at the automaker’s Lordstown plant in Ohio. The recall is a result of an investigation opened by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in April after several reports of the compact sedan catching fires. The fix, which will only take about 30 minutes at a Chevrolet dealership, involves modifying the engine shield under the Cruze and requires no parts.
The cause of the fires are improper engine oil change procedures that “can result in the spilling or dripping of oil”, according to GM. “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 other words, it was the engine shield that was likely the source of this Cruze fire. GM knows of 30 incidents of Cruzen catching fire, but there are no known crashes, injuries, or fatalities related to the recall.
In addition, Cruzes with manual transmissions containing a completely worn clutch may have hydraulic fluid 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 a fire may spread to the engine compartment.”
The recall covers all Cruzes built in the Unites States from September 2010 through May 2012. Most of the affected vehicles were sold in the United States and Canada while several hundred were exported to Israel. As expected, the free-of-charge fix involves no parts and The General will begin sending out letters to owners starting July 11. In the meantime, the automaker urges owners to make an appointment at their Chevy dealership at their earliest convenience.
General Motors also announced a much smaller recall for possible welding irregularities in the Cruze.