G.M. Oil Leak Recall

   GM is recalling 1.4 M vehicles for oil leaks that can cause fires. The recall includes 1997-2004 Pontiac Grand Prix and Buick Regal; 2000-2004 Chevrolet Impala; 1998 and 1999 Chevrolet Lumina and Oldsmobile Intrigue; and the 1998-2004 Chevrolet Monte Carlo. The recall is directed at the 3.8 liter V6 engine.
    The problem is described as a leak of the valve cover gasket that allows oil to seep out, come into contact with the very hot exhaust manifold, and catch fire. The fire can then spread to a plastic spark plug wire channel and the rest of the engine.
    According to news reports, the problem was first recognized in 2007. The fires can occur while driving or begin after the vehicle is switched off. Most fires occurred 5 to 15 minutes after the engine was shut off. Some of the fires have caused injuries. Several fires resulted in garages being burned. GM devised a “fix”, but at least 1300 cars caught fire after they were fixed by dealers. 
    The problem was first noticed in 2007. Thereafter, G.M. took only small, incremental steps to investigate and remedy this potentially serious defect.