Engine fires spark Chevrolet Cruze recall

Engine fires are forcing General Motors to recall the Chevrolet Cruze, a popular model that has helped GM win back small-car buyers.

The recall covers 475,000 vehicles made in the United States from September of 2010 through May of 2012. It's the car's fifth recall since it arrived in showrooms nearly two years ago, raising questions about the sedan's reliability.

The fires can break out when fluids drip onto a hot plastic shield below the engine. The problem occurs mainly when oil is spilled and not properly cleaned up during changes, General Motors said Friday.

The company knows of 30 fires caused by the problem, but no injuries have been reported, spokesman Alan Adler said. Flames engulfed and destroyed cars in two cases reported to federal safety officials.

GM will notify owners starting July 11 about when to bring cars to local dealers for repairs, which are free and should take about 30 minutes. Dealers will fix the problem by cutting the plastic shield to let the fluids drain to the pavement, GM said.

The Cruze, introduced in September of 2010, has been recalled far more frequently than other new models launched around the same time.

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