DETROIT -- Owners of 1.4 million recalled General Motors cars should not park in garages and other structures because of fire risks, the automaker said in a document posted today.
GM on Tuesday said it will recall the cars -- all model years 2004 or older -- to fix a defect that can cause the engine to catch fire. During hard braking, oil can drop onto the hot exhaust manifold, potentially causing engine compartment fires, GM said.
This is the third major recall to address the defect. GM said 1,345 fires have been reported in cars previously repaired during earlier recalls.
In a dealer notice posted on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s website today, GM said the cars are safe to drive but said drivers shouldn’t park the cars in garages or other structures until repairs are made to prevent potential fire damage to the building.
About 85 percent of the reported fires have happened with no one inside the vehicle, GM said. Nineteen minor injuries have been reported.
“The condition does not affect the safe operation of the vehicle,” GM wrote in the notice. “When the condition occurred while the car was in operation, drivers have reported seeing smoke from the engine compartment.”
The Detroit automaker said there is not yet a fix for the defect, though it is “finalizing a remedy.” Owners will be notified when the fix is made available.
GM is recalling 1,283,340 cars in the U.S. and 127,992 vehicles in Canada, Mexico and elsewhere.
Covered under the recall are: the 1997-2004 Pontiac Grand Prix; 2000-04 Chevrolet Impala; 1998-99 Chevrolet Lumina; 1998-04 Chevrolet Monte Carlo; 1998-99 Oldsmobile Intrigue; and 1997-2004 Buick Regal.
GM had previously recalled 207,000 of the sedans in 2008 and 1.5 million in 2009 for the same issue, in addition to a smaller recall earlier this year for 2004 model year Regals, Impalas and Monte Carlos.
The Grand Prix, Lumina, Monte Carlo and Intrigue have since been discontinued, while the Impala and Regal have undergone complete redesigns.
The Detroit News reported on the parking warning earlier today.