GM Recalls Cars for Oil Leak, Fire Risk

General Motors Oil Leak Recall

GM Vehicle Oil LeakGeneral Motors recently issued a vehicle recall after it discovered the potential for oil to leak onto the vehicles’ engines, increasing the risk of fire.

The recall, which affects 1.4 million cars, trucks, and SUVs  affects the following vehicles:

  • 1997-2004 Pontiac Grand Prix and Buick Regal;
  • 2000-2004 Chevrolet Impala;
  • 1998 and 1999 Chevrolet Lumina and Oldsmobile Intrigue; and the
  • 1998-2004 Chevrolet Monte Carlo.

All have 3.8-liter V6 engines.

This recall is reminiscent of the GM key ignition vehicle recall that plagued GM recently.  In that recall, the company acknowledged that the key ignition defect had killed at least 13 people over the course of a decade. Lawmakers, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and the public were understandably concerned, leading to a months-long investigation of the NHTSA and GM, and a recall that eventually covered 20 million vehicles.

In this particular recall, GM noticed that the engines of certain older models would catch fire shortly after the vehicle was turned off. A spokesman for the company claimed that that particular situation represented 85% of the fires. The defect reportedly led to 19 minor injuries.

This is not the first time that GM has attempted to deal with the oil leak problem. GM stated that the engines could catch fire “because drops of oil may be deposited on the hot exhaust manifold through hard braking, which can cause engine compartment fires. GM is working on a remedy. The company is aware of post-repair fires in some vehicles but no crashes or fatalities.” GM contends prior recalls didn’t work because “aging and wear to the valve cover and valve cover gasket can allow oil seepage.” The company also blamed “hard braking” for putting undue pressure on the gaskets which would cause them to rupture.

“During the course of investigating those vehicle recalls, it was determined that production began using a sturdier gasket material in association with the model year change from 2003 to 2004,” GM said in April. “It was determined that a number of early model-year 2004 Buick Regals, Chevrolet Impalas, and Chevrolet Monte Carlos were built with the earlier generation gaskets.”

GM also noted that approximately 1,345 cars have caught fire since the previous recall which allegedly fixed the problem for good. The manufacturer has yet to come up with a solution to the ongoing oil leak problem.

The automotive company also suggests that GM owners whose vehicles might be under recall “not park your vehicle in a garage, car port or other structure” in case the engine catches fire.

If your vehicle has a design or manufacturing defect that caused you or a loved one injury, you should seek legal help.



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