Volkswagen (VW) is recalling more than 261,000 cars in the US to fix a potential fuel leak that can increase the risk of fires.

The recall covers certain Audi A3s and VW Golfs and GTIs from the 2015 through to 2020 model years, 2015 through to 2019 Golf Sportwagens, and 2019 and 2020 VW Jettas.

All the recalled cars have front-wheel drive.

VW said in documents posted on Thursday by the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration that a problem with a pump seal can let fuel leak from a charcoal canister in the emissions control system.

The agency says leaking fuel increases the risk of a fire.

Dealers will replace the pump, which is inside the fuel tank, at no cost to owners. VW will send out notification letters starting on April 12.

The recall is the second for many of the car owners.

VW recalled about 110,000 cars for the same problem in 2016, but the company found the replacement pumps from the previous recall also were failing.

US safety regulators opened an investigation into the problem last year after getting 79 complaints of fuel leaks from owners.

VW said in documents it had 1,410 warranty claims with repair dates from May 2016 until December last year. The documents say no fires related to the problem have been identified.