The recall covers cars built from September 2010 through May 2012.
At least 30 fires have occurred when fluids drip onto a plastic shield under the engine and ignite. No injuries were reported. Most of the fires were caused by spills during oil changes that weren't cleaned properly, according to GM.
Automobile dealers will cut the shield on the recalled cars to drain the fluid in order to fix the problem.
The Cruze is key because it has improved GM's small-car sales. The company has a history of poor-performing compacts.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.