The recall applies to the 1997-2003 Buick Regal; 1998-2003 Chevrolet Lumina, Monte Carlo and Impala; 1998-99 Oldsmobile Intrigue; and 1997-2003 Pontiac Grand Prix, GM said in a filing with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
A total of 1,497,516 vehicles, all equipped with a 3.8 liter engine, are involved in the recall.
GM said some of the vehicles have a condition in which drops of engine oil may be deposited on the exhaust manifold under hard braking.
That could start a small fire that could spread to a plastic spark plug wire channel and beyond, increasing the risk of an engine compartment fire, NHTSA said.
GM dealers will remove the plastic spark plug retention channel and install two new spark plug wire retainers free of charge.