General Motors has announced six more recalls – including a new one covering nearly 3.2 million vehicles that could shut off inadvertently if their keys carry extra weight and experience “some jarring event.”
That comes nearly four months after GM announced it would have to replace faulty ignition switches in 2.6 million vehicles – and only days after the maker recalled every Chevrolet Camaro it has built since 2010 because the design of the key could cause the car to shut off if bumped by a driver’s knee.
As with the Camaro recall, the latest problem is the result of a faulty key design, rather than a defective ignition switch, however. But the results could be the same: a vehicle suddenly losing power, making it difficult to steer or brake. And the airbag system “may” not deploy, GM cautioned.
The five other problems impact about 164,000 vehicles all together, and involve a variety of issues including faulty automatic transmission shifter cables, power steering hoses and drive shafts.
(House subcommittee wants GM to pick up the pace on ignition switch repairs. Click Here for more.)
GM says it is aware of eight crashes and six injuries related to the latest inadvertent shut-off problem. That’s on top of the 13 deaths and dozens of crashes already linked to the defective ignition switch problem – with some sources suggesting the death toll might actually be closer to 70 for the problems covered by the February recall.
In that case, the ignition switch itself was the issue, and GM engineers were aware of a potential problem more than a decade ago, even before some of the vehicles covered by the recall went into production.
The latest recall is the result of the design of the ignition key itself. While some keys have wide slots that allow a key ring to move around in, the seven vehicles covered by the new announcement had narrow holes for the key ring. It might seem a minor difference but in the event the car was jostled on a rough road, or if a knee banged into the key ring, that design makes it more likely the key will inadvertently turn from the On to ACC or Off positions.
If that happens, the vehicle loses power and a driver no longer can count on brake and steering boost. Meanwhile, said GM, that “may result in the air bags not deploying.”
The problem is similar to the issue plaguing the 2010 to 2014 Chevrolet Camaro models, a total of 511,528 vehicles in all. They were sold with so-called switchblade-style key fobs that make it easier for a driver’s knee to bump the key out of the On position, also leading to a loss of power.
(Click Here for more on the Camaro recall.)
In the latest case, GM plans to simply rework or replace the keys to prevent an inadvertent vehicle shutdown. The models covered by the recall are:
* The 2005 to 2009 Buick Lacrosse;
* The 2006 to 2014 Chevrolet Impala;
* The 2000 to 2005 Cadillac Deville;
* The 2004 to 2011 Cadillac DTS;
* The 2006 to 2011 Buick Lucerne;
* The 2004 to 2005 Buick Regal LS and GS; and
* The 2006 to 2011 Chevrolet Monte Carlo.
The other five recalls are more modest in size. The largest involves 68,887 Cadllac ATS and 22,863 Cadillac CTS sedans. A faulty pair of brackets could result in an automatic transmission shift cable coming lose, making it difficult to change gears. GM says it knows of no accidents or injuries caused by the problem.
Another 57,192 Chevrolet Silverado 2500/3500 HD and GMC Sierra 2500/3500 HD pickups from the 2015 model-year may have improperly installed power steering hose clamps that could lead to a loss of power assist unexpectedly. Again, GM said it knows of no injuries or crashes related to the problem.
(Click Here to see more about GM’s need to pick up the pace on ignition repair kit production.)
A total of 16,932 2011 Cadillac CTS sedans equipped with all-wheel-drive may suffer a gasket leak that could cause the rear propeller shaft to separate, strike the vehicle floor and cause rollover airbags to trigger. There have been 15 such incidents but GM said “injury data is unclear.”
The other small recalls involved 712 2014 Chevrolet Corvettes because of an airbag problem , and 184 2014 and 2015 Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra pickups because loose floor mats could slip under the driver’s seat. A similar problem led to a series of recalls by Toyota because the mats could slide under the accelerator pedal and jam it. There are no reports of crashes or injuries with these recalls.
The latest batch of safety-related actions brings to 44 the total number of recalls GM has announced this year. In all, 17,728,268 vehicles have been involved in the U.S. alone, 20,042,649 worldwide.
(Toyota repeating, expanding previous airbag recall. Click Here for more.)
Even as the latest problems are coming to light, GM has advised Congress that it has so far repaired about 174,000 of the vehicles equipped with defective ignition switches. The maker also is working out final details for a victims’ compensation fund to cover those injured or killed as a result of the defect.
GM has already paid a record fine to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration as a result of that ignition switch problem, and it is facing a series of investigations, including one by the U.S. Justice Department that could result in criminal charges. Earlier this month, an independent probe commissioned by GM found that the issue was the result of “neglect and incompetence.” CEO Mary Barra ordered the subsequent dismissal of 15 GM employees, with five others disciplined.
(For more on that damaging study, Click Here.)