Last week General Motors (GM) more than doubled a recall they had made earlier in the month by adding 842,000 more cars to the list. The recall issued is intended to fix a faulty key ignition switch that is linked to several fatal car crashes. According to GM, a heavy key chain or the rustling of keys from a jagged or bumpy road can cause the ignition to switch out of its running position. This shuts off the engine and all electrical power to the car, including power-assisted brakes, airbags, and steering. This problem has caused more than 31 accidents and 13 front-seat deaths.
GM has been criticized by an anonymous well know safety advocate who states that the company has known about this problem for several years and has done absolutely nothing to fix it — Even knowing that several people have been killed and many others injured.
Following the chronology that GM submitted, the company filed the recall with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration on February 24. However, it is known that GM had been aware of the problem as early as 2004. By the end of 2007, the company knew of its first fatal crash and 10 other cases where the Chevrolet Cobalt was involved in a front-end crash, and the airbags did not inflate. In the past, GM had approved of a redesign plan for the ignition, but the plan was later canceled. Also included in the chronology was a bulletin that GM issued to car dealers between 2005 and 2006 on how to fix the problem with a key insert. However, records show only 474 cars had the insert installed.
The cars included in the recall are as follows:
- Chevrolet Cobalts and Pontiac G5s made between 2005 and 2007
- Saturn Ions made between 2003 and 2007
- Chevy HHR SUVs, Pontiac Solstices, and Saturn Sky sports cars made between 2006 and 2007
Now that the recall has been issued, dealers will replace the ignition switch at no cost. Unfortunately, the part still has yet to have been manufactured and won’t be shipped to dealers until early April. If you own any of the above-listed cars, keep an eye out for your recall letter in the mail. Make an appointment immediately to have the issue fixed; it could mean your safety or life.