March 29 (Reuters) - General Motors Co is recalling certain Chevrolet Cruze models for possible axle fractures, and more than 490,000 trucks and SUVs for potential transmission cooler line issues, the company said in a statement late on Friday.
These latest recalls come as the head of the country's biggest automaker, Chief Executive Mary Barra, faces Congress next week regarding who is to blame for faulty ignition switches linked to crashes and at least 12 deaths.
The GM Cruze recall targets the 2013 and 2014 1.4L turbo gasoline powered model to replace a right front axle half shaft that can fracture without warning during normal driving.
"The interconnecting tubular bar on the front right axle half shaft on some of these vehicles may not meet GM specification and could fracture and separate," the statement said.
GM said if a fracture and separation does occur while driving, steering and braking control would be maintained. However, the vehicle would lose power to the wheels and coast to a stop.
If a vehicle with a fractured half shaft is parked on an incline without the parking brake engaged, the vehicle could move unexpectedly and result in a possible crash or injury to pedestrians, the company said.
GM said it knows of several dozen half-shaft fractures through warranty data covering about 172,000 cars to be recalled, and roughly 2,500 U.S. service parts used to fix Cruzes with manual transmissions that were recalled in September 2013.
GM said it is not aware of any crashes or injuries related to the axle condition and repairs will be made free of charge.
Also being recalled are the company's line of 2014 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 and GMC Sierra 1500 pickups, as well as 2015 Chevrolet Suburban and Tahoe and GMC Yukon and Yukon XL SUVs equipped with six-speed automatic transmissions.
The truck and SUV recalls involve approximately 490,200 vehicles that may have a transmission oil cooler line not securely seated in its fitting. If the line is not secure and transmission oil leaks from the fitting, the oil could contact a hot surface and cause a vehicle fire, the company said.
GM said it is aware of three incidents and no injuries as a result of the issue. Its dealers will inspect the fittings for leaks with some vehicle owners expected to be reached by mail as early as the week of April 28.
(Reporting by Theopolis Waters in Chicago; Editing by James Dalgleish)