General Motors (GM) started shipping thousands of new ignition switches to dealers throughout the United States last month, but most owners of the 2.59 million vehicles affected by the faulty switch recall will have to wait weeks or even months for the repairs.
The car manufacturer first started recalling vehicles with the defective ignition switches on Feb. 13. An additional recall on Feb. 25 brought the total number of vehicles affected by the faulty switch to 2.6 million.
According to GM, owners of the following vehicles will need to schedule an ignition switch repair with their local dealership:
2005-2010 Chevrolet Cobalt; 2006-2011 Chevrolet HHR; 2007-2010 Pontiac G5; 2006-2010 Pontiac Solstice; 2003-2007 Saturn Ion; 2007-2010 Saturn Sky.
Officially, the defective ignition switches have been linked to at least 31 crashes and 13 deaths, although independent researchers have said that number is likely much higher. According to GM, the defect could potentially cut off power to the vehicle’s airbags, brakes, and steering by allowing the key to slip from the run position to “accessory” or “off.” This can happen when the vehicle hits a bump in the road and/or other keys and items are attached to the keychain.
GM has said that owners of approximately 1.4 million cars manufactured from 2003 to 2007 have received recall letters instructing them to schedule an ignition switch replacement at their local dealership. The company said it may be October or later before it reaches owners of all the vehicles covered under the recall.
Until the repairs can be made, GM urges owners of all affected vehicles to remove all items from the key ring and use only the vehicle key in the ignition. Any key fobs that control the door locks should also be removed if separate from the key, the carmaker said.
Given the seriousness of the defect, many owners are refusing to drive their vehicles until the proper repairs are made. GM is trying to accommodate those owners by providing rental cars.