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A defective ignition switch, which reportedly could have been fixed by spending just 90 cents per car, has proven to be a very costly mistake for General Motors.
The faulty switch, which has been recalled, will likely cost the automaker billions in repairs, fines and litigation, but its true cost is in human lives. Thirteen deaths and 32 car crashes have been linked to the defective switch, according to USA Today.
What’s worse? GM allegedly knew about the issue and did nothing. During a Senate Subcommittee on Consumer Protection hearing this week, U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., the chair of the committee, lambasted GM and chief executive Mary Barra for its “culture of cover-up,” USA Today said.
“It might have been the old GM that started sweeping this defect under the rug 10 years ago. But even under the new GM banner the company waited nine months to take action after being confronted with specific evidence of this egregious violation of public trust,” McCaskill said.
Understandably, GM owners have lots of questions about the recall, what to do and where to go. This Q&A from TorqueNews might help.
- What GM vehicles are impacted? All 2005-2007 Chevrolet Cobalts and Pontiac G5s, 2003-2007 Saturn Ions, 2006-2007 Chevrolet HHRs, 2006-2007 Pontiac Solstices, and 2007 Saturn Sky vehicles are involved in the recall.
- Why are the cars being recalled? There is a potential that the ignition switch on the above vehicles may be faulty, which could result in a partial loss of electrical power and engine turn-off. The proper deployment of airbags may also be impacted.
- My car is on the list. What do I do? GM should notify you when the parts are available to fix the faulty switch, at which time you can contact your GM dealer and set up a repair appointment. If you are not contacted by GM, call your GM dealer.
- I already fixed and paid for this on my own. Now what? When you receive a letter from GM notifying you that parts are available to fix the defective ignition switches, the letter will also include information about how to request reimbursement if you’ve already repaired the problem.
- What can I do now, while I wait? Remove all unnecessary weight from your keychain, including the key fob. Use your vehicle key by itself, as there is more risk involved with having a heavy keychain. “The swinging inertia of the weight of the keys is the problem,” Ware Chevrolet service manager Derek Cheek told TorqueNews.
- I want more info. Click here to access a site GM developed to help customers understand the safety issues and recall.
Do you drive one of the vehicles impacted by the recall? Share your comments below or on our Facebook page.