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GM Recalling 1.5M Vehicles Over Fire Risk

By David Goguen on April 14, 2009 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

General Motors has announced that it will recall almost 1.5 million mid- and full-size Buick, Chevrolet, Oldsmobile and Pontiac vehicles, because an engine oil leak problem could pose a fire risk.  

The GM recall applies to the following vehicles, all of which have 3.8 liter V-6 engines: Buick Regal (1997-2003 models); Chevrolet Lumina (1998-2003 models), Monte Carlo (1998-2003 models) and Impala (1998-2003 models); Oldsmobile Intrigue (1998-99 models); and Pontiac Grand Prix (1997-2003 models).

According to a GM filing with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, some of these vehicles have a defect which could allow drops of engine oil to fall on the exhaust manifold during hard braking, and if the manifold is hot enough a small flame could ignite and cause a fire in the vehicle's engine compartment.

The recall is expected to begin in May, when owners of affected vehicles will be notified and dealers will begin making a free repair -- installation of new spark plug wire retainers -- that should remedy the problem. In the meantime, vehicle owners can contact Chevrolet at 1-800-630-2438, Oldsmobile at 1-800-630-6537, and Pontiac at 1-800-620-7668, or visit the GM website:

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has the power to set vehicle safety standards and to require manufacturers to recall vehicles with known safety-related defects, meaning a problem with a vehicle or its equipment that 1) poses a danger to vehicle occupants ot other drivers and passengers, and 2) likely exists in vehicles or equipment of the same design or manufacture (i.e. a certain model year and make).

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