Affected Vehicles: About 824,000 model-year 2008-2010 Chevrolet Cobalt subcompact cars and 2008-2011 HHR wagons; 2008-2010 Pontiac Solstice sports cars and G5 subcompacts; and 2008-2010 Saturn Sky sports cars.
The Problem: In this voluntary expansion of the ignition-switch recall already involving 1.6 million vehicles, faulty switches may have been used to repair the latest crop of affected vehicles. According to the automaker, if torque performance is not to GM specification, the ignition switch may unintentionally move from the Run position to the Accessory or Off positions, leading to a loss of power and, as a result, systems such as power steering, antilock brakes and airbags. The risk may be increased if the driver's key ring is carrying added weight, or if the vehicle goes off-road or experiences some jarring event. About 95,000 faulty switches were sold to dealers in the aftermarket and about 90,000 were used in repairs, GM stated, noting that no deaths or injuries have been associated with this new group of recalled vehicles.
"Although the cars were all built with an ignition switch that has had no problems, they might have been repaired with faulty switches left in the parts bins at dealerships and auto shops," GM spokesman Jim Cain told the Los Angeles Times.
The Fix: Owners who may have had a suspect part installed will be notified by GM the week of April 21 via a letter, and dealers will replace the ignition switch for free as parts become available; dealers, distributors and other parts customers will be notified March 31. Customers who paid to have their ignition switches replaced will be eligible for reimbursement. To help prevent an inadvertent shift in the switch, GM has asked owners to use only a key without a keychain while driving the vehicles.
What Owners Should Do: Owners can call Chevrolet at 800-222-1020, Pontiac at 800-762-2737 and Saturn at 800-553-6000, or go to www.gmignitionupdate.com, for more info.