General Motors has issued a safety recall vehicles that can potentially leak oil and catch fire, in some cases, damaging homes and garages.
According to an Associated Press news report, this recall covers 1.4 million vehicles dating to the 1997 model year, and has become necessary because repairs from the first two recalls involving these defects did not prove effective.
More than 1,300 caught fire even after dealers repaired them, GM officials said.
These vehicles apparently have a valve cover gasket that can degrade over time, allowing oil to seep out. When the brakes are hit hard, oil drops can fall on to the exhaust manifold and catch fire.
Flames can then spread to the spark plug wire channel engulfing the rest of the engine. So far, GM has received reports of 19 minor injuries in fires these cars have caused.
The company is finalizing a fix for the latest recall and will use state registration databases in an effort to track down the owners and notify them by mail.
In addition to older models, GM will notify owners of 500,000 more cars that were not repaired in the previous recalls.
History of the Recalls
This problem initially surfaced in 2007, when there were 21 consumer complaints filed about engine fires in some of the cars.
This prompted an investigation by the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). That probe found three injuries and also that most of the fires happened five to 15 minutes after the engines were turned off.
In March 2008, the automaker recalled more than 200,000 cars with supercharged engines. A year later, that recall expanded to include 1.5 million more cars that were not supercharged.
As a remedy, dealers replaced the spark plug wire channels on all recalled vehicles.
Auto Product Liability Issues
Oil leaks are extremely dangerous because they can cause vehicle fires. Based on these reports, these vehicle fires have not only caused burn injuries, but have also destroyed structures such as homes and garages.
If your vehicle has been included in this recall, it would be in your best interest to park the car outside until the repair is made. It is worth noting that repairs made by dealers were ineffective and GM had to issue a recall again to set things right.
If you or a loved one has been injured due to defective auto, please contact an experienced auto product liability attorney to better understand your legal rights and options.
You may be able to receive fair and full compensation for damages such as medical expenses, lost income, pain and suffering, and property damage.