• Chevrolet is recalling sedans from the 2011-12 model years
  • The main issue is a flaw in the engine shield which could lead to fires
  • Another action relates to missing welds in the sedan's fuel tank strap

General Motors recently announced the recall of more than 475,000 units of its Chevrolet Cruze sedan due to a potential fire risk. The automaker and the federal government's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration say the recall comprises two separate actions, each of which could lead to a fire.

According to General Motors, the first action is necessary because the compact sedan's engine design could cause spilled or dripping oil to get caught near hot surfaces in the engine shield. As a result, the engine shield may combust, leading to a vehicle fire that could cause serious injury or death.

About the second recall, NHTSA says that some Cruze vehicles may lack welds for the fuel tank strap's secondary bracket. As a result, the sedan's fuel tank could come loose in a crash, possibly allowing fuel to leak from the tank and cause a fire.

In a statement regarding the unusually large recall, General Motors said it's aware of some 30 fires, primarily related to the first recall. According to the automaker, most of those fires were traced to improper oil change procedures that heightened the risk that oil would drip inside the engine bay.

General Motors says it will begin mailing recall notices on July 11 to request that drivers of affected Cruze models visit a local dealership for service. There, the sedan's engine shield will be altered to prevent fluid from making contact with any hot surfaces. Chevrolet says the process should take only 30 minutes. The automaker also says dealers will secure the fuel tank strap with fasteners on any Cruze models discovered to have missing welds.

According to Chevrolet, Cruze owners with questions about the recall can reach the manufacturer by calling 866-694-6546. Concerned owners can also contact NHTSA's recall hotline by calling 888-327-4236.

What it means to you: If you own a highly popular Cruze, it's a virtual certainty a recall is headed your way. Until you've completed it, be careful about getting oil changes anywhere but a dealership.

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Jeffrey Archer is fortunate to have turned a passion for cars into a career. His wide-ranging automotive experience includes work for automakers and dealers in addition to covering the news. When not writing, he spends his time searching for unique cars on AutoTrader.com.

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