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GM to Replace Lock Cylinder During Ignition Switch Recall

April 11, 2014

Diagram courtesy of General Motors.
Diagram courtesy of General Motors.

General Motors has informed the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration of plans to replace the ignition lock cylinders in the 2.2 million cars covered by the ignition switch recall in the U.S.

The cylinders can allow removal of the ignition key while the engine is running, leading to a possible rollaway and increasing the likelihood of a crash.

“As always, owners of manual transmission vehicles should be sure the ignition is in the “off” position and set to reverse gear with the parking brake set before removing the key,” the company advised. “Owners of vehicles with automatic transmission should be sure the vehicle is in “park” before removing the key.”

GM said it is aware of several hundred complaints of keys coming out of ignitions. Searches of GM and government databases found one rollaway in a parking lot that resulted in a crash and one injury claim. The same searches turned up no fatalities, the automaker said.

GM has decided to replace the ignition lock cylinders and cut and, if necessary, reprogram new keys.   

The cars covered are model years:

  • 2003-2007 Saturn Ion
  • 2005-2010 Chevrolet Cobalt  
  • 2006-2010 Pontiac Solstice
  • 2007-2010 Pontiac G5
  • 2007-2010 Saturn Sky
  • 2006-2011 Chevrolet HHR.

All of these cars were recalled in recent weeks for ignition switches that may fail to meet GM’s torque specification. The ignition switch may unintentionally move from the “run” position to the “accessory” or “off” position, with a corresponding reduction or loss of power. This risk may be increased if the key ring is carrying added weight, or if the vehicle goes off the road or experiences some other jarring event.

The timing of the key movement out of the “run” position, relative to activation of the sensing algorithm of a crash, may result in the airbags not deploying. This condition increases the potential for occupant injury in certain kinds of crashes, GM said.  

Until recall repairs are made, GM is advising owners of the recalled vehicles to remove all items except the vehicle key from their key rings. If there is a key fob, it also should be removed from the key ring. 

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