GM recall puts bad ignition switches back in some cars

Automaker issues a new recall to fix its recall

Published: August 08, 2014 02:15 PM

It’s a bad situation when a recall has to be recalled. Now after having recalled 15.3 million cars to remedy defective ignition switches and keys, General Motors is recalling some of them again, because they may have had new defective switches installed in the course of the original recall. Some cars may even have had good ignition switches replaced with bad ones when they were first recalled.

On Aug. 7, 2014, GM issued a new recall on “various serviced vehicles” which "may have had a defective ignition switch installed during a service visit.”

The problem stems from the fact that when GM initially identified the issue with the ignition switch in 2006, it redesigned the part but the part number was not changed. (And no recall was issued at the time.) So, many of the parts kits issued to dealers still had defective ignition switches in them.

Other defective switches might have been installed as part of ordinary repairs, for example to nonrecalled GM cars and trucks that had ignition switches that were worn out or damaged by theft.

Consumer's Union, the advocacy arm of Consumer Reports, says the GM recall raises concerns about warning systems for auto safety and Congress must act to protect consumers.

Since the initial recall included Chevrolet Cobalts and Saturn Ions built after the improved ignition switch was installed in 2007, some of those cars could also have had bad ignition switches from the parts kits installed in place of good ones installed at the factory. Some earlier Cobalts and Ions may also have had their original defective switches replaced with new defective switches from the parts kits.

Now GM is trying to get all these affected cars that came in for service and had one of the ignition switches (good or bad) with the old part number installed to return and ensure they have the correct, upgraded ignition switch—whether they were originally recalled, or had the switch installed as part of routine service work.

Eric Evarts

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