The problem occurred with GM's 2013-2015 Cadillac XTS and the 2014-2015 Chevrolet Impala, said the Sept. 19 letter from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), seen by Reuters.
The total number of cars recalled was 221,558, the company said, including 205,309 in the United States, and the remainder in Canada and other countries.
"GM is not aware of any crashes, injuries or fatalities as a result of this condition," the company said.
The problem was that the brake's indicator light sometimes failed to illuminate while the brake was not fully retracted.
"If the vehicle is operated for an extended period of time in this condition, there is a potential for the rear brakes to generate significant heat, smoke and sparks," the NHTSA said.
"Brake pads that remain partially engaged with the rotors may cause excessive brake heat that may result in a fire."
The NHTSA's deputy administrator David Friedman last week heavily criticized General Motors for not reporting and recalling cars promptly over problems with ignition switches that are now linked to at least 19 deaths.
The company has recalled nearly 15 million vehicles worldwide this year over the problem with the switches.