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said Friday it plans to recall nearly every Chevrolet Cruze it has sold in the United States to make an adjustment to eliminate the chance of an engine fire.

The automaker plans to recall 413,418 Chevrolet Cruzes sold in 2011 and 2012 to modify the engine shield under the vehicle. The change will help prevent liquids from being trapped in the engine compartment, where a fire could start and spread.

Built in the U.S. the Cruze has been a symbol of GM's resurgence, ranking among the country's best-selling selling compact cars ever since its introduction. The recall could blemish the car's image, but that impact is mitigated because no crashes, injuries or fatalities are known to have resulted from the deficiency.

"The most important thing for our customers to know is that we are proactively working to assure the Cruze is the safe and durable car they purchased," said Alicia Boler-Davis, GM vice president of global quality, in a prepared statement. "We are sorry for any inconvenience caused by these actions."

Cruzes built in Lordstown, Ohio from September 2010 through May 2012 are included. The vehicles were sold in the U.S. and Canada and several hundred were exported to Israel.

The engine shield modification at a Chevrolet dealership will take about 30 minutes and will be provided free of charge. No parts are involved.

GM said improper engine oil change procedures on the Cruze can result in the spilling or dripping of oil. If oil contacts a hot engine, exhaust system surfaces or the engine shield, the shield could ignite and burn, possibly resulting in an engine fire.

Additionally, in Cruzes with manual transmissions, driving with a completely worn clutch may cause hydraulic fluid to be expelled from the clutch housing vent hole. Were the fluid to be burning as it exits the vent hole and were it to contact the engine shield, the shield could ignite, the company said.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration opened a preliminary investigation in April of this year as a result of two engine compartment fires in 2011 model year Cruzes and later added the 2012 model year.

Additionally, in a separate Cruze safety recall, GM plans to inspect certain cars included in the first recall to assure that all welds in the rear compartment were properly applied. Omitted or partially completed welds in up to 249 cars may affect the fuel tank strap secondary brackets attachment to the floor structure and a sub-assembly to the rear floor pan.

Inspection for the possible missing welds will take a few minutes, while the repair, if necessary, would take about three hours.

-- Written by Ted Reed in Charlotte, N.C.

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