GM Recalls 1.4 Million Cars — The Cars Pose Fire Risk Despite Earlier Recalls And Repairs

GM is about to recall 1.4 million cars. A majority of the cars that are being recalled this time have already been in GM’s service centers before, but the problem just refuses to go away, forcing the company to bring them back for the third time.

General Motors is recalling the same 1.4 million cars because they pose a fire hazard. The cars being recalled date back to 1997. They are to be brought back to the service centers because the previous two recalls, intended to fix the exact same problem, didn’t work. Incidentally, despite being in the GM’s service center, more than 1,300 cars have caught fire after they were reportedly fixed by the dealers, confirmed the company. Needless to say, the third recall of the very same cars in less than seven years raises some concerns about the credibility of the company as well as the dealers who claimed to have fixed the problem.

GM reported that about 1,345 cars had caught fire, reported Fox 8. Apart from these incidents, GM reported 19 other incidents that caused injuries. Back in 2008, a GM spokesperson had revealed that the cars with the known issue were responsible for starting 267 fires. Of the fires that were started by the cars, about 17 caused damage to the structures in which they were parked. Many reported damage to their garages owing to the cars which were parked in them.

GM Recalls 1.4 Million Cars
(Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

The problem was first noticed in 2007, when 21 car owners complained about engine fires, prompting the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to investigate. Thereafter, GM ordered the first recall in 2008. A second recall to fix the same problem happened a year later. During the time, GM had advised owners to park their cars outside. Though not a solution, it was way to ensure the cars won’t burn down the structure in case they catch fire. The stopgap precaution was advised because the company realized that majority of the fires happened shortly after drivers turned off the engines, reported MSN. Interestingly, 85 percent of the fires took place when the car wasn’t running and there was no one in or around the car, claimed GM spokesperson Alan Adler.

GM explained that the problem could trigger a series of minor fires that could engulf the vehicle if left unchecked. Apparently, the degradation of the valve cover gasket is at the root the problem, followed by the plastic wires that would act as a conduit for fire. The broken gasket could allow oil to seep out and splash around. During braking, especially if you are the one to hit the brakes hard, the oil could splash on the exhaust manifold and catch fire. The flames could then spread to a plastic spark plug wire channel, and then the fire could spread through the rest of the engine.

GM Recalls 1.4 Million Cars
(Photo by Rick Gershon /Getty Images)

During the first two recalls, dealers replaced the spark plug wire channels. However, there exists no record showing GM paid attention to the possibility of oil leaks, which evidently was the first event in the chain of events and should have been addressed.

Which cars are being recalled? The recall majorly involves cars sold in North America. The models that GM is recalling include the 1997-2004 Pontiac Grand Prix and Buick Regal, the 2000-2004 Chevrolet Impala, the 1998 and 1999 Chevrolet Lumina and Oldsmobile Intrigue, and the 1998-2004 Chevrolet Monte Carlo, reported Clapway.

Though not immediately clear, the extent of the recall could negatively impact GM’s fourth-quarter earnings, fear experts. With Volkswagen involved in emissions scandals and GM recalling more than a million cars, it seem Toyota will retain the title of being the No. 1 automaker this year.

[Photo by Bill Pugliano / Getty Images]